De capite loquente – geneza legendy o mówiącej głowie papieża Sylwestra II
De capite loquente – the Origins of the Legend of the Talking Head of Pope Sylvester II
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The article is an attempt to trace the origins of the medieval legend of pope Sylvester II. The main focus of the paper is to reveal what ancient and medieval notions have influenced the part of the tale that deals with an oracular talking head supposedly created by the magical powers of the pope, as described in the XIIth century chronicle of William of Malmesbury. The article aims to show that the concept owes its orgin to the ancient ideas about necromancy and the Jewish legends about the so-called teraphim. Another key factor that played a part in the development of the legend is the tradition of automata. Other aspects of the legend discussed in the article are its astrological and demonological elements and the ambiguous form of the prophecy pronounced by the talking head.
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