SIBYL

ΣΙΒΥΛΛΑ

Is the name by which several prophetic women are designated who occur in various countries and at different times in antiquity. The name is said to be formed from Dios and boulê, so that it would signify the counsel of Zeus (Plut. Phaedr. p. 244; Serv. ad Aen. iii. 445). The first Sibyl, from whom all the rest are said to have derived their name, is said to have been a daughter of Dardanus and Neso. Some authors mention only four Sibyls, the Erythraean, the Samian, the Egyptian and the Sardian (Aelian, V. H. xii. 35); but it was more commonly believed that there were ten, namely the Babylonian, the Libyan, the Delphian (an elder Delphian, who was a daughter of Zeus and Lamia, and a younger one, Paus. x. 12. § 1), the Cimmerian, the Erythraean (here too we find an elder and a younger one, who is called Herophile, Strab. xiv. p. 645), the Samian, the Cumaean (who is sometimes identified with the Erythraean, Aristot. Mirab. 97), the Hellespontian or Trojan (comp. Tibull. ii. 5. 19), the Phrygian and the Tiburtine (Paus. x. 12; Lactant. Instil. i. 6). The most celebrated of these Sibyls is the Cumaean, who is mentioned under the names of Herophile, Demo, Phemonoë, Deiphobe, Demophile, and Amalthea (Paus. l. c. ; Serv. ad Aen. iii. 445, vi. 72; Tibull. ii. 5. 67; Suidas, s. v.). She was consulted by Aeneas before he descended into the lower world (Ov. Met. xiv. 104, &c., xv. 712; Virg. Aen. vi. 10). She is said to have come to Italy from the East (Liv. i. 7), and she is the one who, according to tradition, appeared before king Tarquinius, offering him the Sibylline books for sale (Plin. H. N. xiii. 28; Gell. i. 19). Pausanias also mentions a Hebrew Sibyl of the name of Sabbe, who is called a daughter of Berosus and Erymanthe.

River Landscape with Apollo & the Cumaean Sibyl, by Salvator Rosa (1615-1673), Italian Baroque painter

River Landscape with Apollo and the Cumaean Sibyl, by Salvator Rosa (1615-1673), Italian Baroque painter