RealmgART: A Red-Figure Sibylla

The Mistress of Secrets.

The Amazon Sibylla done in the style of a Greek red-figure painting.

Continuing with my updating of the he Ten Most Worthy Women, here’s Sibylla.

This isn’t the order I did them in the first time around, but I have established that Fulminata and Sibylla are sisters, so it kinda made sense to do them one after the other.

Once again recapping from my previous post:

“Sibylla” is the Latin word (via the original Greek “Σίβυλλα”) for a female prophet or oracle and has come down to English in the word “sibyl“, which means, well, exactly the same thing. It’s also become a female name.

There are ten or so (the exact list varies depending on source and several may actually just be different names for the same person) sibyls attested to in Ancient sources: the Cimmerian (Cimmeria is generally Crimea and/or the Black Sea coast; this sibyl was apparently based near Lake Avernus in Italy), Cumaean (also Italian, possibly meant to be the same as the Cimmerian), Delphic (supposedly a precursor of the more famous Pythia, possible a conflation of the same oracular figure), Erythraean (based on the Ionian mainland across from Chios), Hellespontine (also known as the Trojan Sibyl due to the proximity to the Troad, region of the legendary Troy), Libyan (located in the Siwa Oasis in the deserts west of Egypt, famously consulted by Alexander the Great), Persian (sometimes also called the Hebrew Sibyl, sometimes a separate figure), Phrygian (generally assumed to the Hellespontine or Erythraean Sibyl under a different name), Samian (based on the island of Samos), and the Tiburtine (a uniquely Roman figure).

In addition to the Sibyls being important figures to the Greeks and Romans, the Sibyls eventually took on a major significance to the Christian religion, as it generally came to be believed that many of the Sibylline prophecies were, in fact, referring to Christ.

In fact, Michelangelo depicted the Persian, Erythraean, Delphic, Cumaean, and Libyan Sibyls as counterparts to the Biblical Prophets in the Sistine Chapel.

All of this is interesting, but not particularly relevant to this Sibylla, who really is a fairly typical Fantasy wizard.

The Amazon Sibylla done in the style of a Greek red-figure painting.

Admittedly, I’ve changed the two emblems associated with Sibylla. In the original picture, it was a wizard hat and a stack of books, which I’ve started to like less as time went on.

Now, she has what is meant to depicte several planets in alignment, something sort of generally mystical and auspicious and perhaps kinda-sorta tied in to the Sublunar Realm as a font of magical powers. Incidentally, Romans loved divination and omens — whether it be via birds or cow livers.

The second emblem is basically a hand shooting magic. That’s the emblem of the town of Sibylla I have in the current image of the Decapolis, but I wanted to rework the way the lightning bolt looked. This might be a little too Unlimited Power, but I do like the concept of doing it this way more.

Once again, the name is in Greek and the nickname is in Latin. “Magistra Arcanorum” means “Mistress of Secrets.” Magistra is the feminine form of magister, which does mean “master”, but less in the sense of a superior — or, Roman society being what it was, owner of a slave — and more in the sense of expert. In fact, someone with a Master’s Degree is technically a Magister (like how a PhD is a Doctor).

The more common translation is actually probably teacher.

Similarly, arcane has, especially within the Fantasy genre, taken on a connotation of magic. Etymologically, the Latin root (arcanus) just means “not publicly known.” Granted, there is a very real sense of magic not exactly being public knowledge, so the logic does follow.

Sidebar: The Vatican Apostolic Archive was previously known as the Vatican Secret Archive. The Secret here is basically the same principle as the explanation of arcanus above. The Archive was never particularly secret or confidential, it’s just not open to the public and requires a special request for access.

And now you now.

New chapter is live:

YA Fantasy giveaway is movin’ right along. Still not too late to sign up:

Promotional art for the YA Fantasy giveaway.
US Residents only.

Follow me here:

Sign-up for my email newsletter here.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License button.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s