Sibyl by Francesco Ubertini, c. 1525The word Sibyl (in English, /'s?b?l/) comes (via Latin) from the Greek word s?ß???

a sibylla, meaning prophetess. The earliest oracular seeresses known as the sibyls of antiquity, "who admittedly are known o nly through legend"[1] prophesied at certain holy sites, under the divine influe nce of a deity, originally at Delphi and Pessinos one of the chthonic deities. Lat er in antiquity, sibyls wandered from place to place. Contents [hide] 1 History 2 Number of Sibyls 3 Persian Sibyl 4 Libyan Sibyl 5 Delphic Sibyl 6 Cimmerian Sibyl 7 Erythraean Sibyl 8 Samian Sibyl 9 Cumaean Sibyl 10 Hellespontine Sibyl 11 Phrygian Sibyl 12 Tiburtine Sibyl 13 Later Sibyls 14 Sibylline books 15 See also 16 Notes 17 Sources 18 External links 18.1 Classic sibyls 18.2 Music 18.3 Medieval Christianizing sibyls 18.4 Modern sibyl imagery [edit] HistoryHomer seems to have been unaware of a Sibyl. The first known Greek writer to mention a sibyl is Heraclitus, in the 5th century BC: The Sibyl, with frenzied mouth uttering things not to be laughed at, unadorned a nd unperfumed, yet reaches to a thousand years with her voice by aid of the god. '[2] Walter Burkert observes that "Frenzied women from whose lips the god speaks" are recorded very much earlier in the Near East, as in Mari in the second millenniu m and in Assyria in the first millennium".[3] Until the literary elaborations of Roman writers, sibyls were not identified by a personal name, but by names that refer to the location of their temenos, or sh rine. In Pausanias, Description of Greece, the first Sibyl at Delphi mentioned ("the f ormer" [earlier]) was of great antiquity, and was thought, according to Pausania s, to have been given the name "sibyl" by the Libyans.[4] Sir James Frazer calls the text defective. The second Sibyl referred to by Pausanias, and named "Herop hile", seems to have been based ultimately in Samos, but visited other shrines, at Clarus. Delos and Delphi and sang there, but that at the same time, Delphi ha d its own sibyl.[4] James Frazer writes, in his translation and commentary on Pausanias,[5] that onl y two of the Greek Sibyls were historical: Herophile of Erythrae, who is thought to have lived in the 8th century BC, and Phyto of Samos who lived somewhat late r. He observes that the Greeks at first seemed to have known only one Sibyl, and

[edit] Delphic Sibyl Michelangelo's Delphic Sibyl. mentions the "Palestinian Sibyl" who was: "brought up in Palestine named Sabbe. the three mos t famous sibyls throughout their long career were the Delphic. and should be treated as separate figures. "[10][11][12] The medieval Byzantine encyclopedia. quoting from a lost work of Varro.instances Heraclides Ponticus[6] as the first ancient writer to distinguish sev eral Sibyls: Heraclitus names at least three Sibyls. by name Sambethe. with a tenth. the Persian Sibyl is said to have foretold the exploits of Alexander the Great.[9] The 2nd-century AD traveller Pausani as. 1st centu ry BC) these ten sibyls were those in the following list. the Suda. p robably Etruscan in origin. Pausanias cla imed that the Sibyl was "born between man and goddess.[8] [edit] Number of SibylsLike Heraclitus. Potter writes. The Sibyl's son Evander founded in Rome the shrine of Pan which is called the Lu percal.[7] The scholar David S. Still others claimed the Sibyl received her powers from Gaia originally. Of them. Others said she was sister or daughter to Apollo. who passed th e oracle to Themis. the Erythraean an d the Cumaean. but in c ourse of time the number increased to nine. w as reported to be of the family of Noah. daughter of sea monsters and an immortal nymph". meaning "devourer". The Delphic Sibyl has sometimes bee n confused with the Pythia. added by the Romans. Not all the following Sibyls were securely identified with an ora cular shrine. while others call her an Egyptian Sibyl. According to Lactantius' Divine Institutions (i. [edit] Persian SibylMain articles: Persian Sibyl and Hebrew Sibyl The Persian Sibyl was said to be prophetic priestess presiding over the Apolloni an Oracle. located on the slopes of Mount Parnassus. The o racle here was consulted by Alexander after his conquest of Egypt. Sistine ChapelMain article: Delphic Sibyl The Delphic Sibyl was a legendary figure who gave prophecies in the sacred preci nct of Apollo at Delphi. 4th century AD.[13] The two are not identical. Sistine ChapelMain article: Libyan Sibyl The so-called Libyan Sibyl was identified with prophetic priestess presiding ove r the ancient Zeus Amon (Zeus represented with the horns of Amon) oracle at the Siwa Oasis in the Western Desert of Egypt (incorrectly placed in the map). and in the vague and shifting Christian picture there is some over lap. "In the late fi fth century BC it does appear that 'Sibylla' was the name given to a single insp ired prophetess". . who passed it to Phoebe. the Tiburtine Sibyl. the priestess of Apollo who gave prophecies at the D elphic Oracle. credits the Hebrew Sibyl as autho r of the Sibylline oracles. whose father was Berosus and her mother Er ymanthe. The mother of the Libyan Sibyl was Lamia. Plato speaks of only one Sibyl. the Erythraea n.[citation needed] The Persian Sibyl. though her location remained vague enough so that she might be called the "Babylonian Sibyl". [edit] Libyan Sibyl Michelangelo's Libyan Sibyl.6. and the Hellespontine.[14] [edit] Cimmerian SibylMain article: Cimmerian Sibyl Naevius names the Cimmerian Sibyl in his books of the Punic War and Piso in his annals. Some say she was a Babylonian. the Phrygian. pausing at Delphi to enumerate four sibyls. Euripides mentions the Libyan S ibyl in the prologue to his tragedy Lamia.

380 CE. Thence it passed to Erythrae. whose seat was the ancient Sabino-Latin town of Tibur (modern Tivoli). attributed to the Tiburtine Sibyl. Marpessus. during the lifetimes of Solon and Cyrus the Great. the Tiburtine S ibyl. [edit] Samian SibylMain article: Samian Sibyl The Samian sibyl's oracular site was at Samos.v. is worshiped at Tibur as a goddess. for in Virgil's Fourth E clogue she foretells the coming of a savior . Apollodorus of Erythrae affirms the Erythraean Sibyl to have been his own countr ywoman and to have predicted the Trojan War and prophesied to the Greeks who wer e moving against Ilium both that Troy would be destroyed and that Homer would wr ite falsehoods. was formerly within the boundaries of the Troad. the last king of Rome. was a favored motif of Christian artists. Her oracular responses the Senate transferred into the c An apocalyptic pseudo-prophecy exists. The word acrostic was first applied to the prophecies of the Erythraean Sibyl. a town in Ionia opposite Chios. but with revisions and interpolations added at later dates. hold ing a book in her hand.). the original Sibylline books (q.possibly a flattering reference to the poet's patron .[18] It purports to prophesy the advent of a final Emperor named Constans. where it became famous. [edit] Tiburtine SibylMain article: Tiburtine Sibyl To the classical sibyls of the Greeks. He gave a circums tantial account of the pagan sibyls that is useful mostly as a guide to their id entifications. whom Virgil's Aeneas consults before his descent to the lo wer world (Aeneid book VI: 10). located near the Greek city of Naples. bringing about a period of great wealth and peace. Chris tians were especially impressed with the Cumaean Sibyl. p 117) that the conquest of Cumae by the Oscans in the 5th century destroyed the tradition. Burkert notes (1985. but provides a terminus ante quem for a Cumaean sibyl. Whether the s ibyl in question was the Etruscan Sibyl of Tibur or the Greek Sibyl of Cumae is not always clear. It was she who supposedly sold to Tarqui nius Superbus. near t he banks of the Anio. writte n c. The Hellespontian Sibyl was born in the village of Marpessus near the small town of Gergitha. in which stream her image is said to have been found.whom Christians identified as Jesus. vanquishing t he foes of Christianity. w hich were written on leaves and arranged so that the initial letters of the leav es always formed a word. The mythic meeting of Augustus with the Sibyl. (Divine Institutes I. acco rding to Heraclides of Pontus.[15][16][17] [edit] Hellespontine SibylMain article: Hellespontine Sibyl The Hellespontine. of whom he inquired whether he shoul d be worshiped as a god. The Christian author Lactantius had no hesitation in identifyi ng the sibyl in question as the Tiburtine sibyl. endi . or Trojan Sibyl presided over the Apollonian oracle at Dardan ia. by name Albunea. The sibylline collection at Gergis was attributed to the Hellespontine Sibyl and was preserved in the temple of Apollo at Gergis. [edit] Cumaean SibylMain article: Cumaean Sibyl The sibyl who most concerned the Romans was the Cumaean Sibyl. [edit] Phrygian SibylMain article: Phrygian Sibyl The Phrygian Sibyl appears to be a doublet of the Hellespontine Sibyl.[edit] Erythraean SibylMain article: Erythraean Sibyl The Erythraean Sibyl was sited at Erythrae. the Romans added a tenth. nevertheless. as seen by 4th century Christians: The Tiburtine Sibyl.

the Sibyls were also represented in publicly availab le art. Libyan Sibyl. e. for example. ten was still the proverbial number: How know we but that she may be an ele venth Sibyl or a second Cassandra? Gargantua and Pantagruel.") In the Middle Ages the number of Sibyls was canonized as twelve. the Empero r is said to resign his crown to God. Renaissance sibyls fore casting the advent of Christ appear in monuments: modelled by Giacomo della Port a in the Santa Casa at Loreto.[21] [edit] Sibylline booksMain articles: Sibylline Books and Sibylline Oracles. it was hidden by the witch. 1896 ch 1) Like prophets. on heaths and in forests. the modern Tivoli. wer e fixtures of Late Gothic illuminations. Michelet wrote: A powerful. engraved by Baccio Baldini . by Pinturicchio in the Borgia apartments of the Vatican. as prophesying the birth of Christ to the classical world. and commissioned elaborate fresco murals in the Villa that celebrate the Ti burtine Sibyl. that day / will loose the age in ash / by the witness David with the Sibyl.[20] From the early Renaissance.. [edit] Later SibylsThe medieval. The library of Pope Julius II in the Vatican h as images of sibyls and they are in the pavement of the Siena Cathedral. Persian Sibyl. The Bas ilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli crowning the Campidoglio. for François Rabe lais. See. ill. beyond mere femininity. Christianized role for these augmented Sibyls w as as precursors. Cumaea n Sibyl and the Erythraean Sibyl. who had been warned o f his advent by the sibylline books: in the church the figures of Augustus and o f the Tiburtine sibyl are painted on either side of the arch above the high alta r. a symbolic numb er. ("Day of wrath. a beautiful virgin. Rome. carved in wood. "The two figur es. The 19th century French historian Jules Michelet attributed the origins of Europ ean witchcraft to the religion of the sibyls. both aged and ageless." (Lanciani. because a medieval tradition referred the origin of its name to an otherwise unattested altar. This would give way to the Antichrist. lettered on a fluttering banderole. In his introduction to La Sorcière ( 1862). in the darkness of the Middle Ages. dies illa Solvet saeclum in favilla Teste David cum Sibylla. noted in Br ewer's Dictionary of Phrase and paganism and converting the Jews. is particularly associated with the Sibyl. they were given away or sold th irty years ago. a contemporary of Botticelli. en ds with the witch. Five sibyls were painted on the Sistine Chapel ceiling by Michelangelo. After vanquishing Gog and Magog. the Apennine Sibyl. begins with the sibyl. In the 19th century Rodolfo Lanciani recalled that at Christmas time the pres epio included a carved and painted figure of the sibyl pointing out to Augustus the Virgin and Child. painted by Raphael in Santa Maria della Pace. have now [1896] disappeared. who appeared in the sky in a halo of light. 1897. though sometimes. as Greek paganism was. 16. iii. in his powerful repr esentations of them. the Delphic Sibyl. from 1550 onw ard.. ARA PRIMOGENITI DEI said to have been raised to the "firstborn of God" by the emperor Augustus. tenacious religion. gave it its charm and glory. when a new set of images was offered to the Presepio by prince A lexander Torlonia. seated. prophets of the New Dispensation. The former. each with h er emblem and a single line of prophecy. and graffites by Matteo di Giovanni in the pavem ent of the Duomo of Siena. roc ked its cradle. Christian allies in a Hellen istic world: Dies irae.[19] Late Gothic Sibyls. Later. fallen. Ipp olito d'Este rebuilt the Villa d'Este at Tibur. The sayings of sibyls and oracles were notoriously open to interpretation (compa .g. in the full light of day. Michelangelo fixed our image of the sibyls forever. in 14th and 15th-century France and Ger many. in t he frescos of the Sistine Chapel.

^ Burkert 1985.244b). ^ David Stone Potter. from Erythrae. a town of very great a ntiquity (Herodotus iv: 122). Chapter 3. line 1. it would appear. [edit] See alsoPythia Temple of the Sibyl The Golden Bough (mythology) Cybele [edit] Notes^ Burkert 1985 p 117 ^ Heraclitus. The Sibylline Books are not the same as the Sibylline Oracles. E. Herbert William Parke ^ Seers. T he sibylline collection at Gergis was attributed to the Hellespontine Sibyl and was preserved in the temple of Apollo at Gergis. sibyls. Cf. 10 . at Marpessus. namely Herophile of Erythrae and Phyto of Samos. The Roman Sibylline Books were quite different in character from the preserved Sibylline Oracles. w here it became famous. (Heraclitus. James. It was this very collection.12.12 ^ Sibyls and sibylline prophecy in classical antiquity.106. appears on the coins of Gergis. Thence it passed to Erythrae. p. ca 400 35 0 BCE. ^ Heraclitus. 1116. and was said to have giv en birth to the Sibyl. Gergis. and at others Gergithia ('of Gergis'). p. x. The first writer who is known to have distinguished several Sibyls is Heraclitus Ponticus in his book On Oracles.5. and the Hellespontine. Description of Greece. Also see Pausanias. ^ Frazer quotes Ernst Maass. translation and commentary on Pausanias. quoted in the 5th century geographical dictionary of Stepha nus of Byzantium. v.. ^ Pausanias. Description of Greece. The sibyl. cited by Plutarch. Aristophanes. 3. 1913 edition. the Erythraean. p 116 ^ a b See Pausanias. who was born near there.12 edited with commentary and tran slated by Sir James Frazer. commentary and notes on Book X. a small place on Mount Ida (Dionysius of Halicarnassus i. De Sibyllarum Indicibus (Berlin. Cf.5. was a place of much strength.288. The oldest collection of written Sibylline Books appears to have been made about the time of Solon and Cyrus at Gergis on Mount Ida in the Troad. a settlement of the ancient Teucri.1 at the Perseus Project. De Pythiae Oraculis 6. Phaedrus . the Greeks seemed to have known only one Sibyl. (cf. namely the Phrygian. under 'Gergis'). a city of Dardania in the Troa d. Gergis. wh ich typically predict disasters rather than prescribe solutions. fragment 92. Peace 1095. the latter somewhat later Frazer goes on: At first. Phlegon. in which he appears to have enumera ted at least three. Nostradamus) and were constantly used for both civil and cult propaganda. p. 55). Some genuine Si bylline verses are preserved in the Book of Marvels of Phlegon of Tralles (2nd c entury CE).288. Ch. who is sometimes called Erythraea. p. Prophecy and history in the crisis of the Roman Empire: a historical commentary on the Thirteenth Sibylline Oracle. Retrieved on June 20. "Herophile surnamed Sibyl": Prof. ^ Fragments of the Sibylline Oracles. It had a temple sacred to Apollo Gergithius. Maass (op cit.56) holds that two only of the Greek Sibyls were hist orical. and sages in Hellenistic-Roman Judaism. consequently. . according to Xenophon. which found its way to Cumae and from Cumae to Rome. 20 08. ^ Frazer. and. Other places claimed to have been her home. Broad 2006. Plato. the former he thinks li ved in the eighth century BC. On Oracles. p. John Joseph Collins ^ For example. p. who mistakes Michelangelo's painting of the Del phic Sibyl on the Sistine Chapel ceiling as an image of the Pythia. v. x. 1879). and whose tomb was later marked by the templ e of Apollo built upon the archaic site.

Parke. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [edit] External links Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Sibyls [edit] Classic sibylsJohn Burnet Early Greek Philosophy. Chapter 3. Rofolfo. Priestesses. 1983. Chapter 14 gives the best modern acco unt of Alexander's visit to the oasis at Siwah. Hale. University of Chicago Press. I-IV volumes. Sibyls and Sibylline Prophecy. 2006). Broad. Jordi Savall . John R. 1939. The Annotated Waste Land with Eliot's Conte mporary Prose: Second Edition. (arvhived 2005) ^ Translated by Mark K. Berlin.Montserrat Figueras. 1989. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. Cf. 1896. William. Herbert William. the fragments Jewish Encyclopedia: Sibyl. p. Writing on the Renaissance Stage: Written Words. Paris.. Norma Lorre. Cf. ch. 1939. Goodrich. ch. Jürgen. [1] Pitt-Kethley. Hugh. 1879. Retrieved Jan. Martin Litchfield. Yale University Press. 1913 e dition. 1897 ^ "Sibyls" . vol. Pagan and Christian Rome. Pausanias. pp 116 18. Fiona. Histoire de la divination dans l'Antiquité. Encyclopædia Britannica. David Stone. William J. 1996.. The Orphic Poems.14. L'oracle de Delphes. 1990. with some background material on the Greek conception of Sibyls. brief analysis . Jensen [edit] SourcesBeyer. Auguste. 1988 Potter. review of boo k Smith. Parke. Alexander the Great 1973. David Stone." ^ Pelikan. 1985) esp. University of Delaware Press. History 3850 Readings. 1 on-line Lactantius. Prophets and Emperors. La Sibylle et la retour de l'âge d'or. MA: Harvard University Press. Handwörterbuch zur historischen und vergleichenden Erzählforschung". in English) Maass.Lancaster University.^ Bowden. M. Walt er de Gruyter 2007). 1990. The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development o f Doctrine. a mythical prophetess unrelate d to the traditions of the oracle itself. 2008. Oxford. UK. Journeys to the Underworld. 65.64 ^ Kiefer. Metaphoric Books. Harry Thurston. Cf.Montserrat Figueras. and translated by Sir James Frazer. Prophecy and history in the crisis of the Roman Empire : a historical commentary on the Thirteenth Sibylline Oracle. Vivian. Description of Greece.La Capella Reial de Catalunya . 2005. ISBN 0-87413-595-8. The Sibyls: The First Prophetess of Mami (Wata) MWHS. Divine Institutions Book I. 625-30 Bouché-Leclercq. "Enzyklopädie des Märchens.75 ^ The Latin Tiburtine Sibyl. Lanciani. ed. art icle on Sibylla. 64. p. Walter. C f. Fox. 2007) Jeanmaire. review of book Potter. Printed Pa ges. 2006 ISBN 0-300-11994-1. [2]. 1879-1882. 1898. 1994. Retrieved on June 20. vi (e-text. 1955. Greek Religion (Harvard University Press. 12 (Berlin & New York. History of the Delphic Oracle. Lawrence S. Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquity. coll. Human and Divine Authority from Augu stus to Theodosius. Robin Lane... 63. Cambridge. p. [3] West. E. C f. The Oracle: the Lost Secrets and Hidden Message of Ancient De lphi (Penguin Press. 'Sibyllen'. De Sibyllarum Indicibus.La Cape . Jordi Savall ..Alia Vox 9806 El Cant de la Sibil-la / Catalunya . Frederick. Divination and Democrac y. The Sibyls [edit] MusicEl Cant de la Sibil-la / Mallorca / València (1400-1560) . Delcourt. v. 1911. "T hey may learn about the mysterious Delphic Sibyl.5 Peck. Hindrew. Jaroslav Jan. ^ Eliot. T. p. H. 2005. Herbert William. ISBN 0-521-53081-4. Rainey. Classical Athens and the Delphic Oracle. and others (2003). S. ISBN 0-226-65371-4. 1870.223. ^ Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. Cf. 1988. Questioning the Delphic Oracle. 7. Burkert.

translated from Alban ian T. / and call you a sibyl'. what do you w ant?' that one replied 'I want to die'. Eliot's The Waste Land is prefaced by a quote from Petronius' Satyricon (1s t century AD) The passage translates roughly as "I saw with my own eyes the Siby l at Cumae hanging in a jar. CA.Alia Vox AVSA9879 [edit] Medieval Christianizing sibylsLate Gothic illustrations of twelve sibyls [edit] Modern sibyl imageryA sardonic sequence of 'Twelve Sibyls'. femininity and modernity. Pjetër Bogdani. and when the boys said to her 'Sibyl. classical and Biblical settings. revisits Sibyls and Others (1980).lla Reial de Catalunya .S.wikipedia.php?title=Sibyl&oldid=543683961" Categories: Ancient Greek titlesAncient Roman titlesClassical oraclesSibylsProph etsMythological Greek seersHidden categories: All articles with unsourced statem entsArticles with unsourced statements from February 2007 Navigation menuPersonal toolsCreate accountLog in NamespacesArticle Talk Variant sViewsRead Edit View history ActionsSearch NavigationMain page Contents Featured content Current events Random article Donate to Wikipedia InteractionHelp About Wikipedia Community portal Recent changes Contact Wikipedia ToolboxWhat links here Related changes Upload file Special pages . / keep you safe as a caged bir d. "The Songs of the Ten Sibyls" modern poetry. Retrieved from "http://en. The SIBYLS beamline at the Advanced Light Source in Berkeley. One of them c oncludes: 'I am no more conscious of the prophecies / than I can understand the language of birds / let the simple folk praise you. accompanied b y the artist Leonard Baskin's bridging re ligion. Ruth Fainlight has written dozens of poems about these ambiguous figures.