Back to our weekly column: here we are again with a new Mulier Clara! Our lady today is Manto, a skilled Greek prophetess.
According to legend, Manto was one of the daughters of Tiresias, the famous Theban oracle: much like her father, she was known to be able to accurately predict the future thanks to shady rituals and black magic. The Roman myth states that, after the death of Tiresias during the siege of Thebes, Manto fled the city and eventually ended up in Italy. Here she met and married Tiberinus, a fluvial god protecting the river Tiber: their union gave birth of Ocnus (also known as Bianor), the legendary figure said to have founded several Italian cities; one of these was Mantua, choosing the name in honor of Manto herself.
Along with her father, Manto is one of the fraudulent diviners whom Dante places in the eight circle of Hell.
“Manto”, illumination from the manuscript “De Mulieribus Claris”, decorated by Robinet Testard, ms. Français 599, f. 25v, 1488-1496, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Département des Manuscrits, Paris.
Historically and mythologically speaking, being in a powerful position (and perhaps also a…