SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Inlaid marble mosaic of the Hellespontine Sibyl, one of the ten Sibyls, set in the floor of the Duomo of Siena. Though these mosaics were created in 1482-3, the legendary Sibyls date from the myths of ancient Greece. Their role was that of prophetess, acting as oracles at the various holy sites of classical antiquity. These Siena Sibyls, each named after their locality, are now associated with Christian concepts. The Hellespontine Sibyl, known for her prediction of the Crucifixion, was often depicted with a cross, but here it is the inscription which alludes to the death of Christ. Whilst it has been suggested that the wolf and the lion beneath the inscription are the symbols of Siena and Florence, there are alternative views.
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