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Estelle M. Hurll

In striking contrast to the bowed and sorrowful old prophet Jeremiah is the alert and eager youth Daniel. The two men were contemporaries, though there was a difference in their ages. When, in the reign of Jehoiakim, the Jews were taken into captivity to Babylon, the youth Daniel went with them, while the old prophet Jeremiah was left behind. Daniel was chosen, with three companions, to be educated at the court of the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar. They were taught the Chaldean language and the sciences, and the king was delighted with their progress.

In the rows of figures which Michelangelo painted along the arched portion of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, the prophets are associated with sibyls. Hence, in the plan of decoration, there comes first the figure of a man, and then the figure of a woman.

Now, as the Bible contains no allusion to sibyls, it may seem strange that they should have a place in a series of Bible illustrations, and especially that they should appear side by side with the prophets. To explain this, we must learn something about the sibyls.

Of all the sibyls, the one we hear most about is the Cumæan. The legend runs that, having asked a boon of Apollo, she gathered a handful of sand and said, "Grant me to see as many birthdays as there are sand grains in my hand." The wish was gratified, but unluckily she forgot to ask for enduring youth, so she was doomed to live a thousand years in a withered old age. Thus we always think of her as an old woman, as Michelangelo has represented her.

The statue of Lorenzo de' Medici is the central figure on the tomb erected to the memory of this prince. He was the rather unworthy namesake of his illustrious grandfather, who was known as Lorenzo the Magnificent. The Medici family was for many generations the richest and most powerful in Florence. They were originally merchants, and, as the name signifies, physicians, and, accumulating great wealth, they became powerful leaders, and really the rulers of the republic.

Florentine Dukes:

Lorenzo de' Medici, 1469-1492.

Piero de' Medici succeeded Lorenzo 1492, expelled from Florence 1493.

Alessandro de' Medici, made first hereditary duke of Florence 1531, assassinated 1537.

Cosimo de' Medici succeeded Alessandro, 1537-1574.

Popes:

Sixtus IV., 1471-1484.

Innocent VIII., 1484-1492.

Alexander VI., 1492-1503.

Pius III., 1503-1503.

Julius II., 1503-1513.

The tomb of Giuliano de' Medici is the companion to the tomb of Lorenzo, and stands on the opposite side of the altar which separates them. Our illustration shows the entire work, the statue being in the niche above, and the sarcophagus standing below with two reclining figures on it.

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