chapter  8
Matthew Paris, Augustine and the Tiburtina
Pages 20

This chapter focuses on the Sibyl with the words 'Eo quoque tempore'. The pervasive impact of the christological tradition of Sibylline prophecy on the reception of the Tiburtina can be seen in the Tiburtina's treatment by Matthew Paris in his Chronica Majora. Augustine states that the Erythraean Sibyl is a member of the City of God whose career as prophetess of Christ coincides with the foundation of Rome. When Emile Mâle observed that the great men of antiquity only rarely adorn the cathedrals of Western Christendom he stated that nevertheless 'antiquity is nobly represented in thirteenth-century cathedrals. The Sibylla Tiburtina was one of many Sibyls known to the Middle Ages. Naturally she was often interpreted in the context of knowledge about other Sibyls. The Tiburtina, however, is different from such prophecies because it contains christological predictions which, as shown, often attracted the attention of medieval readers and led them to a non-political interpretation of the text.