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THE APENNINE SIBYL, A MYSTERY AND A LEGEND - PONTIUS PILATE AND THE SHAPE OF THE WATERS
Abstract and Figures
In the middle of the Italian Apennines the peaks of the Sibillini Mountain Range raise amid cloudy mists. Ancient legends inhabit the elevated cliffs and the deep valleys which mark this portion of the land of Italy: a Cave set on the top of Mount Sibyl is dedicated to the name of a sibilline oracle, for centuries the destination of adventurous journeys made by visitors from all over Europe; a few miles away, the Lake of Pilate, nested within the glacial cirque of Mount Vettore, awaited its own attendance of magicians and necromancers in search of a suitable place for the consecration of spellbooks. Legends we have fully addressed in the series of papers "The Apennine Sibyl - A Mystery and a Legend" providing detailed information on the whole legendary tradition. In this paper we want to address a different aspect of the legendary heritage which is linked to the Lake of Pilate: we will investigate the issue of the shape of the Lake across many centuries. An issue, and a thorny one. Because the fascinating, sinister Lake we see today is not one Lake at all: it is two Lakes in total, and both small indeed. They are so small that, in times of climate change and global warming, they increasingly tend to disappear altogether during the hot, ardent summers that affect the elevated crests of the Sibillini Mountain Range with ever growing frequency: an effect which is worsened by the scarce amount of snow that happens to fall on the same cliffs during the once-frigid winters that mark a land which is now experiencing rising average temperatures all round the year. So as a matter of fact today the Lakes are basically two, while once ordinarily there used to be just one, as portrayed in a gorgeous fifteenth-century manuscripted work written by French courtier Antoine de la Sale. What happened? And why? Was it a long-term process, possibly induced by climate change? Or, did any specific event happen at some point in time? Let's start probing deep into this tricky matter. Because the answers are possibly more than one, with a central role to be played by the nineteenth century, a time during which major changes possibly occurred. With the help of ancient sources and cartographies, and using new, previously-unpublished information, we will be able to deal in deeper detail with this hitherto-unaddressed matter. One Lake, two Lakes, and, finally, in the framework of a dramatically-growing climate change, no Lake at all. An amazing ride through the centuries, in search of the true shape of the Lake of Pilate.
Figures - uploaded by Michele Sanvico
All figure content in this area was uploaded by Michele Sanvico
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