Sibyl SwStr - History

Sibyl SwStr - History

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(SwStr: t. 176; a. 2 30-par. P.r., 2 24-pdrs.)

Sibyl– a wooden-hulled, side wheel steamer built at Cincinnati, Ohio, as Hartford in 1863—was purchased by the Navy at Cincinnati on 27 April 1864, renamed Sybyl on 26 May 1864, and commissioned at Mound City, Ill., on 16 June 1864, Acting Volunteer Lieutenant Henry H. Gorringe in command.

Sibyl was based at Cairo, Ill., and used as a dispatch boat for Rear Admiral David D. Porter, the commander of the Mississippi Squadron. Her first cruise began early in July and took her downriver as far as Natchez, Miss., delivering messages to Navy ships en route. She continued this type of service through the
end of the Civil War, gathering intelligence of Confederate activity as she steamed up and down the river. She was decommissioned at Mound City on 31 July 1865 was sold at public auction there on 17 August 1865 to R. J. Trunstoll, and was redocumented as Comet on 28 September 1865. After more than a decade of mercantile service, the ship was abandoned in 1876.


Sibyl contacted Russell Feldman on his computer, asking for help building a body for her after Phil Coulson destroyed hers. Feldman agreed to help, and Sibyl provided him with instructions. Feldman completed the robot's construction and bought Sibyl flowers to commemorate the achievement.

Sibyl then began building more robots, and killed Feldman when she discovered it. The robots infiltrated the Lighthouse while Deke Squad trained with Coulson and Alphonso Mackenzie, and one of them killed Cricket, a member of the band who did not double as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. Cricket's girlfriend, Tawni, panicked and found the rest of Deke Squad, only to be killed in front of them. The robot then approached the team and asked for help, claiming to be lost, as it had with Cricket and Tawni. Another robot attacked Mackenzie and Roxy Glass at the same time.

Mackenzie, newly inspired to rejoin the field after learning that the Chronicoms killed his parents, helped Glass defeat the robot that was about to attack Deke Squad, but not before Olga Pachinko was injured by it. The team gathered, and attacked another robot, while a third one found the time-stream, which they were after. Pachinko placed an explosive underneath another robot. Tommy and Ronnie Chang then shot at the robot, making it slide backwards onto the explosive. Shaw then caused it to detonate.

Sibyl's robot then attacked Deke Squad, injuring Pachinko. Mackenzie and Glass worked together to destroy the robot, while a smaller Sibyl-Bot escaped the Lighthouse and brought the Time Stream to Nathaniel Malick, who had forged an alliance with Sibyl. Ώ]

Census records can tell you a lot of little known facts about your Sibyl Fitzsiward ancestors, such as occupation. Occupation can tell you about your ancestor's social and economic status.

There are 3,000 census records available for the last name Sibyl Fitzsiward. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Sibyl Fitzsiward census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

There are 642 immigration records available for the last name Sibyl Fitzsiward. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

There are 1,000 military records available for the last name Sibyl Fitzsiward. For the veterans among your Sibyl Fitzsiward ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

There are 3,000 census records available for the last name Sibyl Fitzsiward. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Sibyl Fitzsiward census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

There are 642 immigration records available for the last name Sibyl Fitzsiward. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

There are 1,000 military records available for the last name Sibyl Fitzsiward. For the veterans among your Sibyl Fitzsiward ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

The First Psychics: The Sibyls

There are many false myths about psychics and psychic phenomenon. For example: One would think that psychics don’t have a long history. It’s not uncommon for people to think that the whole field of psychics and psychic readings somehow began a few hundred years ago, at best. Another is that psychics have always been rejected by both Christians and, to a lesser extent, Judaism. What if I told you that psychics have a history that goes back 4,000 years? Or, that psychics (and the writings/predictions of psychics) were an important part of early Christian history? Or, that Jewish history contained it’s own revered psychics? You’d think this writer is as mad as a hatter out of Alice in Wonderland. But, would this writer be wrong?

Sibyl of Cumae painted by Andrea del Castagno in the 1400s

Despite the passage of time, the meaning of the word ‘Sibyl’ has changed little. It means to be psychic, clairvoyant, a woman who makes predictions about the future. What is more, the word ‘Sibyl’ can be found in a numerous languages and is spelled much the same: Sibylle, Sybille (French), Sibylla, Sibylle, Sybille (German), Sibylla (Greek), Sibilla (Italian), Sibylla (Late Greek), Sibylla, Sybilla (Late Roman), Sybilla (Polish), Sibylla (Swedish) – Go HERE to learn more. So, who was Sibyl? A better question is, who were the Sibyls? They were the first psychics and they were revered through history for their predictions. It’s an important part of ancient history which is rarely taught (and a history some would rather bury).

Sibyls were a special class of women in the ancient world who gave prophecies while in a state that was often described as "frenzied" or "ecstatic". Most of those involved in psychic research believe that the ecstatic state described is similar to what has been described as what some mediums pass through prior to having a spirit guide speak through them, or the dancing, frenzied state seen in trance mediums who channel the Nats of Myanmar (Burma). It was believed that, when Sibyls entered into these altered states, the they became divinely inspired and were able to speak with authority for a deity.

The Sibylline tradition in the Western world was of great importance during ancient times. It has persisted through thousands of years of religious, cultural, and political change and, as you will see, has not been entirely forgotten even to this day.

The Sibyls of Ancient Greece and Rome
The early Greek world seems to have begun the recording of significant Sibyls. Over time the list of important Sibyls grew to a total of nine. A tenth Sibyl was added later by the Romans. The ten Sibyls came to represent all points of the civilized world. Some historians say there where actually twelve. In this article we’ll stay with the long established ten Sibyls:

Sibyl of Delphi painted by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel in 1483

The Erythraean Sibyl
The Erythraean Sibyl was believed by the ancient Greeks and Romans to have foretold the divine parentage of Alexander the Great. Some early Christians also believed that she had prophesied the Redemption of Christ.

The Cumaean Sibyl
The Cumaean Sibyl was the most famed among the Romans. As legend tells it, she guided Aeneas, an ancestor of the founders of Rome, through the underworld to visit his dead father. Aeneas was then shown by his father what his descendants would accomplish. These predictions would come to be fulfilled.

The Persian Sibyl
The Persian Sibyl (also known as the Hebrew Sibyl) is said to have correctly predicted the exploits of Alexander the Great. She is also credited with the writing of the Sibylline Oracles (discussed below).

The Libyan Sibyl
Legend says that the Libyan Sibyl met with Alexander the Great directly. She revealed to Alexander his divine parentage. The Libyan Sibyl herself was considered to be a daughter of Zeus.

The Cimmerian Sibyl
The Cimmerian Sibyl prophesied at an Apollonian Oracle in southern Italy. She lived near Lake Avernus, which, in Roman mythology, was an entrance to Hades. It is also said that the Cimmerian Sibyl’s son founded a shrine to the god Pan in Rome.

The Samian Sibyl
The Samian Sibyl resided at the oracle of Apollo near the Heraion of Samos, a temple to the goddess Hera on the Isle of Samos. Early Christians believed that she foretold how the birth of Christ would take place in a stable.

The Hellespontine Sibyl
The Hellespontine Sibyl, sometimes called the Trojan Sibyl, presided over the oracle of Apollo at Dardania. She was also important to early Christians because of the belief that she predicted the events of the Crucifixion of Christ.

The Phrygian Sibyl
The Phrygian Sibyl was sometimes identified by the Greeks as Cassandra, the daughter of the Trojan king Priam. She later became an important figure in Christianity because her prophecies supported Christian ideas of the end times.

The Tiburtine Sibyl
The Tiburtine Sibyl was added to the original nine Greek Sibyls by the Romans. Many of her prophecies came to be favored by early Christians, who believed that she foretold the coming of Christ and the reign of Emperor Constantine.

The Sibylline Books
The Sibylline Books were a collection of Sibylline prophecies. Written in the poetic style of Greek hexameter, these books were of utmost importance in Roman society. Sadly, only a fragment of the writings survive today.

Legend says that the books were purchased from the Cumaean Sibyl by Tarquin the Proud, the last king of Rome. The Cumaean Sibyl told the king the books were, "the destiny of the world", as such, would prove invaluable. The Sibyl offered Tarquin nine books at a very steep price, and so Tarquin refused. She burned three and offered him the rest for the same price, which he again refused. The Sibyl burned three more and offered him the remaining books, again at the original price, and Tarquin finally accepted her offer.

The Sibylline Books did prove invaluable. The books were placed in a secure temple and were controlled by the Roman Senate. The books were watched over by a number of officials, generally ex-consuls or ex-praetors, who were appointed for life. These officials were tasked with consulting the Sibylline Books in times of crisis, and with interpreting them in a way that could help Rome avoid calamities such as earthquakes, plagues, and comets.

The Sibylline Oracles
Not to be confused with the Sibylline Books, the Sibylline Oracles were compiled in Jewish and early Christian communities. The Sibylline Oracles, which are sometimes also called the Sibylline Poems, were also written in Greek Hexameter, and also purported to be the utterances of Sibyls. They were likely composed between the 2nd and 6th centuries AD, while copies of the Sibylline Books may have still been around.

The prophecies of the Sibylline Oracles were mainly concerned with the judgment that God was to carry out again the people of Babylon, Egypt, Rome, Troy, Libya, and others for their various sins against God and against God’s people. The predictions in the Sibylline Oracles concerning the judgment of the world and the coming of the Messiah are very reminiscent of the Apocalypse of John, as well as other apocalyptic literature that was circulating in Jewish and Christian communities at that time.

Sibyls and Psychics
By the Middle Ages the word "Sibyl" had generally become synonymous with "prophetess." Female Sibyls were often depicted next to male prophets from the Bible in the art of the Late Gothic and Renaissance periods. Over the next several centuries many people began using "Sibyl" as a synonym for "psychic." To demonstrate how respected Sibyls were in the early Christian community, Michelangelo included 5 Sibyls in his painting of the Sistine Chapel located within the Vatican. It would be the Spiritualists of the late 19th century who would begin bringing back the word ‘Sibyl’ to indicate a psychic of unique skills. Even previous to Spiritualist usage of the word, Marie Anne Lenormand, the famous tarot reader of France, was often referred to as a ‘Sibyl’ due to uncanny predictive abilities using cartomancy, palm reading and astrology.

Although ancient historians spoke of the Sibyls as historical fact, modern historians categorized the Sibyls as ‘myths’ and ‘legends’. Working under the premise that psychics are not ‘real’, the conclusion was there were no real Sibyls, and stories of them were likely works of fiction. This continued despite the fact archeology evidence going back to the 1600s in Italy indicated that temples related to Sibyls had existed. It wasn’t until 1932 that the cave known as the Antro della Sibilla was discovered. It was discovered by following information in historical records about the Cumaean Sibyl and the cave from which she gave ‘psychic readings’. Up until that point, both the Cumaean Sibyl and her secret cave had been considered more mythological than factual.

Would you like to ask questions about love, career, the future? Give Psychic Crystal a call at: 1-866-407-7164

If you would like to talk with a psychic about what the future may hold for you in love, career or anything else, contact Psychic Crystal a call at 1-866-407-7164 (toll free US and Canada). Crystal works with her spirit guides to provide clients with answers and guidance in all issues. You might also enjoy Spirit Guides Chat where you can chat online and receive readings, live.

Sibylline Oracles

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Sibylline Oracles, collection of oracular prophecies in which Jewish or Christian doctrines were allegedly confirmed by a sibyl (legendary Greek prophetess) the prophecies were actually the work of certain Jewish and Christian writers from about 150 bc to about ad 180 and are not to be confused with the Sibylline Books, a much earlier collection of sibylline prophecies (see Sibyl). In the Oracles the sibyl proved her reliability by first “predicting” events that had actually recently occurred she then predicted future events and set forth doctrines peculiar to Hellenistic Judaism or Christianity. The Jewish apologist Josephus and certain Christian apologists thought the works were the genuine prophecy of the sibyls and were greatly impressed by the way in which their doctrines were confirmed by external testimony. Both Theophilus of Antioch and Clement of Alexandria, 2nd-century Christian theologians, referred to the sibyl as a prophetess apparently no less inspired than the Old Testament prophets.

In the Byzantine period 12 of the compositions were collected in a single manuscript containing 14 books (of which numbers 9 and 10 are lost). An incomplete text of this collection was first published in 1545.

Modern scholars have dated the various Oracles by comparing the actual historical events with what was predicted in the Oracles. At the point where errors begin, the oracle-writer was predicting the future, and it is possible to assign a date from the last correct prediction.


Ancient writers refer to the existence of various women in such countries as Babylonia, Greece, Italy, and Egypt, through whom the gods regularly spoke. These sibyls were easy to confuse with the oracles, women who were likewise mouthpieces of the gods, at such sites as Apollo's temple at Delphi. The most famous sibyl was the Sibyl of Cumae in Italy, a withered crone who lived in a cave. Her prophecies were collected into twelve books, three of which survived to be consulted by the Romans in times of national emergencies. She is one of the five sibyls memorably depicted by Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

LifePlan Financial Advisors’ Sibyl Slade makes Black history in business arena

In honor of Black History Month, rolling out will highlight minority businesswomen who are doing the part in making Black history. Meet Sibyl Slade, vice president and financial advisor of LifePlan Financial Advisors Inc. Slade helps professionals and small business owners increase their cash flow and net worth with advance taxed savings and investment strategies typically provided to larger firms.

What prompted you to seek a career in this field?

My background is planning and economic development, I happened to use it in the banking and finance industry. I had a 21-year career at the Federal Reserve Bank and quickly noticed homeownership was the primary investment promoted to minorities as a means for building wealth. More effort was placed on access to credit than investing in financial assets. I wanted to provide the underserved with access to other investment opportunities and strategies.

What are some of the issues that Black women face as entrepreneurs?

Black women have traditionally [had to bear] two burdens as it relates to income and mobility. We have traditionally earned less income than any other segment of the population, even though we have the most conferred degrees of all populations. Lower-income means less disposable income to save or invest. As a result of this, we have little to no capital to invest when starting up a business and we typically turn to consumer debt and more specifically credit cards for startup and working capital for our businesses. This leads to less cash flow to provide for our families and reinvest in our businesses. And subsequently, insufficient infrastructure to operate our businesses beyond being solo entrepreneurs.

Building an ecosystem that provides these businesses with all the necessary services to build a sustainable infrastructure to operate and scale their business, create jobs, and create market value for their business is key. Market value provides these business owners with opportunities for mergers and acquisitions, better terms with loan products and suppliers, buy-sell agreements or other exit strategies that transfer the value of the business to them. For this reason, I co-founded the Small Business Mastermind Forum, a collective of business services professionals to ensure these businesses have the infrastructure needed to overcome these challenges and thrive.

How has the pandemic positively or negatively affected business owners, Black women business owners specifically?

Well, there is no secret that an estimated 90 percent of minority and women small business owners were denied a PPP loan during the first round of the program. We can’t attribute this denial rate to the pandemic. Some structural and non-structural issues already existed. The second round of loans is being processed by community institutions. And the added overlay of the current social justice movement has created a surge of funding resources coming online each day from large corporations, financial institutions, and foundations alike to support women and minority-owned businesses. There are plenty of opportunities now if businesses do the necessary work to position themselves to leverage them.

Hitler’s Revenge (1968)

by Sibyl Moholy-Nagy

In 1933 Hitler shook the tree and America picked up the fruit of German genius. In the best of Satanic traditions some of this fruit was poisoned, although it looked at first sight as pure and wholesome as a newborn concept. The lethal harvest was functionalism, and the Johnnies who spread the appleseed were the Bauhaus masters Walter Gropius, Mies van der Rohe, and Marcel Breuer. Recoined by eager American converts as ‘‘The International Style,” functionalism terminated the most important era in American public architecture. Ever since Louis Sullivan’s plea for “The Tall Office Building Artistically Considered,” published in Lippincott’s Magazine in 1896, the best of American architects had applied their talent to the esthetic impact of the vertical symbol of economic power on the cityscape. An unbroken evolutionary continuity links the 1890 Wainwright Building in St. Louis with the 1932 Philadelphia Savings Fund tower by Howe and Lescaze. Following Sullivan’s advice, the skyscraper designers “took care of the extremities” and provided the centers of urban progress with a uniquely American profile. For the first time in its history, this country was on the way toward an architectural self-image. Gradually the eggshells of historical styles dropped from the vertical shafts and there emerged a native delight in articulation, ornamental detail and terminating form, born from steel and concrete. The Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, Chicago’s Palmolive Building still stand as witnesses. The function of American functionalism was form.

The function of German functionalism was ideology. In a straight line of descent from Ruskin’s “morality in architecture,” Gropius’s Bauhaus Manifesto of 1919 called for “the new building of the future … which will rise toward heaven as a crystalline symbol of a new future faith.” By the time Hitler closed the Bauhaus in 1933, “the building as prophetic idea” had undergone a radical redefinition. Gropius identified functionalism with anonymous teamwork “relating only to the life of the people.” Mies van der Rohe celebrated technology, indifferent to the fate of the individual, as the only valid architectural expression of the zeitgeist and Marcel Breuer, carrying the functionalist torch into the second Bauhaus generation, wrote: “We search for the typical, the norm, not for the accidental form but for the form defined … employing scientific principle and logical analysis.” Hannes Meyer, Gropius’s successor as Bauhaus leader, summed it up: ‘‘Building is social, technological, economic, psychological organization, product of the formula: function times economy.”

The bearers of this peculiar brand of ideological pragmatism arrived in the New World at the most auspicious historical moment. The Great Depression had shaken the barely won self-confidence of America and had revived the hereditary national disease of looking for imported solutions. There spread a gradual realization that the careless boom-and-bust times were over and that organized skill and research were desperately needed to guide idle manpower and urban reconstruction. A long look at the architectural schools revealed limping provincial caricatures of nineteenth-century Beaux Arts academism. The new functionalism entered America through university appointments. Harvard, M.I.T. and the Illinois Institute of Technology established through their European design teachers a totally new curriculum which was eminently mass-producible because it was based on a subtractive set of caveats — no facade, no visible roof, no ornament, no regional adaptation, no separation of enclosing form from enclosed space, no replacement of standardized materials and techniques by “individual taste” — and back-to-back plumbing!

Perhaps America would have awakened to the plain paucity of actual buildings turned out under this formula by Mies van der Rohe and the Gropius-Breuer team if the financial straits of the 1930s had continued. But after the non-building war years, the greatest building and speculation boom since the 1850s sent city cores sprouting upward like overfed asparagus fields, and covered millions of farmland acres with federally subsidized unit houses. Architectural schools proliferated as the building tide spread across the continent, their curricula derived from the Harvard program which combined three unbeatable prestiges: Ivy League pedigree, a genuinely imported ideology, and the adaptability of a credit-card system. Everything that was “functional” could be charged to Harvard. Mies van der Rohe’s undeviating curtain-wall module, mixed with liquid capital, was sure to result in an Instant Architecture that was unassailable because the original product had been certified for its refinement, scale, and the obvious fact that “God is in the detail.” The Gropius T.A.C. team, so anonymous that it has left to its leader the glaring spotlight of world publicity, dutifully turned its pencils in the same groove of a stuck conceptual record. But it was only fitting that Marcel Breuer, youngest of the “Grauhäusler,” should present to the world an apotheosis of the Functionalist Era. The Grand Central Tower he has designed has the architectural relevance of a Harvard Design Thesis of 1940, and the browbeating symbolism of a negative ideology that was already bankrupt when the dying German Republic unloaded it on America.

Across the generation gap of a mere city block the disciple shouts at his old master, who committed the Pan Am building, that he can be more functional any time — no facetious hexagonal facets to relieve the 309 by 950 by 152 foot concrete pullover — and that he cares even less for “regional” environment. While the Pan Am discreetly hides its feet of concrete block behind arcades, the Saady-Breuer teamwork crushes the last remnant of the past era of extroverted design responsibility under the monstrous load of profit dictatorship — because to the cityscape it makes no difference whatever whether this new Wall of China “floats” on a bond issue or on the most original structural system sunk into the ground. Somewhere between bedrock and elevator lobby above the old Vanderbilt terminal, we are told, a steel shaft supports mighty cantilevered trusses which obviate steel columns in the Grand Concourse. Why is this structural tour de force not maintained? But following the herring-scented example of Lincoln Center and World Trade Center colleagues, the architect and his collaborators “have taken great pains to accommodate the traffic needs” of another twelve thousand defenseless jobholders after they have survived choked subway trains that cannot be spaced any closer, running on tracks that cannot be widened between skyscraper pilings.

While claiming “a calm background” for the old terminal with his design, Mr. Breuer has gone on record that he would rather see it demolished. We fervently hope his providential hand, so intent in the publicity photo on keeping the two incompatible monuments together, will prevail. Not only will the crushed “grotesquerie” of 1912 soon be the last testimony to an era of free enterprise and architectural urbanity when “thoughtful refinement of detail beyond the call of commerce” — now brazenly claimed for its incubus — still permitted all citizens a scaled identification. Beyond that, like the groundman of an acrobatic pyramid, its staying power opens fantastic perspectives into future architectural history. The emerging generation of mega-structure functionalists will want to honor their ancestor by using his masterpiece as foundation for a High Technology Center of Computerized Existence. Above that the ape men, returning after the hydrogenic holocaust, might want to worship the divine slabs salvaged from the set of 2001. And in the zenith of heaven will float the dazzling satellite of a Gold Medal, “highest award of architectural excellence,” which falls automatically, like an oxygen mask, from the Parnassus of the American Institute of Architects whenever hardening of conceptual arteries and gross office income have reached genius level.

The Sibyl Temple

George Ward hosted famous Roman-themed parties at Vestavia, in which guests would wear togas. Photo circa 1929, via Brian on Flickr

The focal point of Vestavia’s extensive gardens was the Sibyl Temple, inspired by the partially-ruined Temple of Sibyl in Tivoli, Rome which dates back to the 1st Century B.C.

Eight sixteen-foot Corinthian columns supported the Temple’s 63-ton concrete dome. At Vestavia, the Sibyl Temple served as the garden gazebo and entrance to the estate’s bird sanctuary.

Although George Ward planned to be buried under his Sibyl Temple, a change in county laws mandated that he be buried in Elmwood Cemetery. After his death, the Vestavia changed hands several times—eventually the Temple of Vesta was torn down. However, the Sibyl Temple survived, and was painstakingly moved—all 87+ tons of it—to its present location atop Shades Mountain in 1976.

Sibyl SwStr - History

``Where the Bishop is, there let the multitude of believers be
even as where Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church'' Ignatius of Antioch, 1st c. A.D

The Sibyls

Long before the Savior was born of the Virgin, and up to around the time of His first Advent, there are said to have lived wise women who inhabited shrines, temples, and caves, and who, being blessed "by the gods" with the gift of prophecy, read the signs of nature in order to foretell the future. We call these seers "Sibyls," after the Greek word for prophetess ("sibulla").

Our knowledge of the origins of these women is obscured by the mists of myth and time, the first written record of them coming from Heraclitus, who wrote of one -- perhaps the only one at the time -- in a fragment dating to the 6th century before Christ. It reads:

The number of these Sibyls is reckoned differently throughout the ages, with Heraclitus and Plato mentioning one, the Greeks mentioning nine, the Romans and early Christians mentioning ten, and medieval Christians enumerating up to twelve. Whatever their number, the Sibyls most often came to be referred to by the places they inhabited. The Christian apologist, Lactantius (b. ca. A.D. 250) listing ten Sibyls, describes them thus in Book I, Chapter VI of his "Divine Institutes" (link to full text below):

  • the Persian Sibyl: "of her Nicanor made mention, who wrote the exploits of Alexander of Macedon"
  • the Libyan Sibyl: "of her Euripides makes mention in the prologue of the Lamia"
  • the Delphic Sibyl: "concerning whom Chrysippus speaks in that book which he composed concerning divination"
  • the Cimmerian Sibyl: "whom Naevius mentions in his books of the Punic war, and Piso in his annals"
  • the Samian Sibyl: "respecting whom Eratosthenes writes that he had found a written notice in the ancient annals of the Samians"
  • the Hellespontine Sibyl: "born in the Trojan territory, in the village of Marpessus, about the town of Gergithus and Heraclides of Pontus writes that she lived in the times of Solon and Cyrus"
  • the Phrygian Sibyl: "who gave oracles at Ancyra"
  • the Tiburtine Sybil: "by name Albunea, who is worshipped at Tibur [modern Tivoli] as a goddess, near the banks of the river Anio, in the depths of which her statue is said to have been found, holding in her hand a book. The senate transferred her oracles into the Capitol."
  • the Erythraean Sybil: "whom Apollodorus of Erythraea affirms to have been his own country-woman, and that she foretold to the Greeks when they were setting but for Ilium, both that Troy was doomed to destruction, and that Homer would write falsehoods"
  • the Cumaean Sibyl: "by name Amalthaea, who is termed by some Herophile, or Demophile and they say that she brought nine books to the king Tarquinius Priscus, and asked for them three hundred philippics, and that the king refused so great a price, and derided the madness of the woman that she, in the sight of the king, burnt three of the books, and demanded the same price for those which were left that Tarquinias much more considered the woman to be mad and that when she again, having burnt three other books, persisted in asking the same price, the king was moved, and bought the remaining books for the three hundred pieces of gold: and the number of these books was afterwards increased, after the rebuilding of the Capitol because they were collected from all cities of Italy and Greece, and especially from those of Erythraea, and were brought to Rome, under the name of whatever Sibyl they were."

The prophecies of these pagan Sibyls -- most especially the Tiburtine, Erythraean, and Cumaean Sibyls, who are often confused with one another or referred to as one -- play interesting roles in Christian History. One sees depictions of the Sibyls in Catholic art -- from altar pieces to illuminated manuscripts, from sculpture to even the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, the periphery of which is dominated by five Sybils (the Delphic, Cumaean, Libyan, Persian, and Erythraean) interspersed with seven Old Testament Prophet (Zacharias, Isaias, Daniel, Jonas, Jeremias, Ezechiel, and Joel). Michelangelo's Erythraean and Cumean Sibyls are shown at the top of this page in listed order, and Van Eyck's Ghent altarpiece depictions of those same women, in the same order, are shown below.

These women are often depicted in medieval dramas, Jesse Trees and Nativity scenes. One hears of the Sibyls in Catholic chant and hymms, too: on Christmas Eve, after Matins and before Mass, the Song of the Sibyl was sung all over Europe until the Council of Trent (now this custom, restored in some places in the 17th c., remains mostly in Spain). 1 They are most famously mentioned in the "Dies Irae," sung at Masses for the dead. Its opening lines:

Dies irae, dies illa,
solvet saeculum in favilla,
teste David cum Sibylla.
That day of wrath, that dreadful day,
shall heaven and earth in ashes lay,
as David and the Sybil say.

Who were these women whom Christians group with King David and the great Old Covenant Prophets? Why did Tertullian (b. ca. A.D. 160) describe one Sibyl as "the true prophetess of Truth"? 2 Why would St. Clement of Alexandria (d. ca. A.D. 215) describe a Sibyl thus in Chapter VIII of his "Exhortation to the Heathens":

-- where, in remarkable accordance with inspiration she compares delusion to darkness, and the knowledge of God to the sun and light, and subjecting both to comparison, shows the choice we ought to make. For falsehood is not dissipated by the bare presentation of the truth, but by the practical improvement of the truth it is ejected and put to flight.

Let's look, one at a time, at the three Sibyls who are most important to Christianity.

The Tiburtine Sibyl:
The Sibyl of Christmas

The Tiburtine Sibyl -- also known as Albunea -- lived in Tibur, the town now known as Tivoli and located about fifteen miles Northeast of Rome. Her temple, which still stands today, was surrounded by a "sacred" grove and by mineral springs which, poetically enough given the topic of this page, flowed into the Tiber. The reason for this Sibyl's importance to Christians is her meeting with Augustus. 3 The story as recounted in Archbishop Jacobus de Voragine's 13th c. "Golden Legend," in its section on the Feast of the Nativity:

. here is what Pope Innocent III tells us: in order to reward Octavian for having established peace in the world, the Senate wished to pay him the honours of a god. But the wise Emperor, knowing that he was mortal, was unwilling to assume the title of immortal before he had asked the Sibyl whether the world would some day see the birth of a greater man than he.

Now on the day of the Nativity the Sibyl was alone with the emperor, when at high noon, she saw a golden ring appear around the sun. In the middle of the circle stood a Virgin, of wondrous beauty, holding a Child upon her bosom. The Sibyl showed this wonder to Caesar and a voice was heard which said: "This woman is the Altar of Heaven (Ara Coeli)!"

And the Sibyl said to him: "This Child will be greater than thou."

Thus the room where this miracle took place was consecrated to the holy Virgin and upon the site the church of Santa Maria in Ara Coeli stands today. However, other historians recount the same event in a slightly different way. According to them, Augustus mounted the Capitol, and asked the gods to make known to him who would reign after him and he heard a voice saying: "A heavenly Child, the Son of the living God, born of a spotless Virgin!" Whereupon Augustus erected the altar beneath which he placed the inscription: This is the altar of the Son of the living God.

Click here to see a typical medieval depiction of the meeting of the Tiburtine Sibyl and Augustus (you can read more about this encounter and the church that sprang from it in the Il Santo Bambino section of the page on Devotion to the Child Jesus).

The Erythraean Sibyl:
The Sibyl of the Acrostic

The Erythraean Sibyl is said to have been the daughter of a shepherd and a nymph. She lived in Erythrae, Ionia (Asia Minor), on the Aegean Sea, and is often confused with the Cumaean Sibyl (St. Augustine, in his "City of God," speaks of this).

What makes this woman important to Christians is her prediction of Christ, given in the form of an acrostic poem which formed the words, 'Ihsous Xristos Qeou uios spthr, which means, "Jesus Christ the Son of God, the Saviour." See excerpts from "The City of God" below.

The Cumaean Sibyl:
The Sibyl of the Underworld

The most fascinating of all Sibyls lived in Cumae (now called Cuma), the first Greek colony founded in Italy, located about twenty miles northwest of Naples in "the volcanic region near Vesuvius, where the whole country is cleft with chasms from which sulphurous flames arise, while the ground is shaken with pent-up vapors, and mysterious sounds issue from the bowels of the earth." 4 The Sibyl who was also known as Amalthaea made her home in a grotto in this tempestuous land -- a grotto that can be visited even today -- and there she would write her prognostications on leaves and spread them at one of the hundred mouths to her cave, allowing them to be picked up and read -- or scattered by the winds to be seen no more, whichever came first, as Virgil tells us in his Aeneid:

Arriv'd at Cumae, when you view the flood
Of black Avernus, and the sounding wood,
The mad prophetic Sibyl you shall find,
Dark in a cave, and on a rock reclin'd.
She sings the fates, and, in her frantic fits,
The notes and names, inscrib'd, to leafs commits.
What she commits to leafs, in order laid,
Before the cavern's entrance are display'd:
Unmov'd they lie but, if a blast of wind
Without, or vapors issue from behind,
The leafs are borne aloft in liquid air,
And she resumes no more her museful care,
Nor gathers from the rocks her scatter'd verse,
Nor sets in order what the winds disperse.
Thus, many not succeeding, most upbraid
The madness of the visionary maid,
And with loud curses leave the mystic shade.

In the Aeneid, too, she gives Aeneas a tour of the infernal regions which are entered into in the land she inhabited (this story is the reason for Dante's having chosen Virgil as his guide in "The Divine Comedy"). After this tour of the underworld, they ascend again, and the Sibyl tells the story of how she came to be hundreds of years old. From chapter 25 of Bullfinch's book:

As Aeneas and the Sibyl pursued their way back to earth, he said to her, "Whether thou be a goddess or a mortal beloved by the gods, by me thou shalt always be held in reverence. When I reach the upper air, I will cause a temple to be built to thy honor, and will myself bring offerings."

"I am no goddess," said the Sibyl "I have no claim to sacrifice or offering. I am mortal yet if I could have accepted the love of Apollo, I might have been immortal. He promised me the fulfilment of my wish, if I would consent to be his. I took a handful of sand, and holding it forth, said, 'Grant me to see as many birthdays as there are sand-grains in my hand.'

"Unluckily I forgot to ask for enduring youth. This also he would have granted, could I have accepted his love, but offended at my refusal, he allowed me to grow old. My youth and youthful strength fled long ago. I have lived seven hundred years, and to equal the number of the sand-grains, I have still to see three hundred springs and three hundred harvests. My body shrinks up as years increase, and in time, I shall be lost to sight, but my voice will remain, and future ages will respect my sayings."

An ancient woman doomed to live a thousand years, but without youth, shrinking with age each year until nothing is left of her but her voice -- a voice which some say is kept in a jar in the cave, and that others say one can still hear there in her Cumaean grotto.

Another great tale told of her, and mentioned by Lactantius above, is how she went to sell nine books to the King of the Tarquins, a story told well by Amy Friedman:

For many years, beneath the temple of Jupiter in Rome, the sibylline books were protected in a closely guarded vault. These were books that the priests consulted, especially during times of natural disaster, when earthquakes and floods and hurricanes swept down on their world, when disease struck and when hardship came. These books contained great wisdom and predictions of what the future held for their land and people. The sibylline books, the priests said, were precious beyond any treasure.

She was known as the Cumaean Sibyl, a woman who could change her features at will. She was wild-eyed, wild-haired and wild-tongued. One day, she came to see the king, Tarquin the Elder. She brought with her an offer.

"I have nine books to sell to you," she told the king.

"What books would those be?" the king asked. She was an odd-looking woman, and the king did not believe she was the prophetess she claimed to be.

"In these nine books," she said, "is contained the destiny of Rome."

Tarquin the Elder laughed at the old woman. He had heard of her, of course, but he did not believe she could predict the future, and he did not, for one moment, believe that these books she carried contained the destiny of the world. Her voice, after all, was more like a croak, and when she spoke, foam gathered on her lips.

Tarquin had heard that she wrote her predictions on oak leaves and that she laid these leaves at the edge of her cave. When the wind came and blew the leaves, they drifted this way and that, hither and yon, so that those who received the woman's messages often were confused by the words.

Tarquin did not believe she was as wise as she claimed, but he was curious about her offer. "How much money do you want for your books?" he asked.

"Nine bags of gold," she answered.

The king and his advisers roared with laughter. "Nine bags of gold? How could you ask such a fortune?"

"The future of your world lies within them," she repeated, but seeing that he did not wish to buy her books, she started a fire, and into this fire she hurled three of her books.

Within moments they were burned to ash, and the sibyl of Cumae set off for home, leaving behind the king and his advisers.

It was another year before the sibyl returned. This time, she arrived with six books.

"What do you want now?" Tarquin asked her.

"I offer six books for sale," she answered. "Six books that contain the rest of the destiny of Rome."

"How much?" the king asked her.

"Nine bags of gold," she said.

"What?" asked the king. "Nine bags for fewer books? Are you mad? You asked nine bags for nine books, but now you offer only six for the same price?"

"Think what they contain before you refuse," the sibyl said. "The rest of the future of Rome."

"Too much," Tarquin answered, and so, once again, the woman built a fire and tossed into it three more books. Then she turned and walked away, crossing the wide farmlands that separated Rome from Cumae.

The roads between the two cities were long and treacherous in those days. The woman's journey was difficult. Still, the next year, she returned to see the king once again. This time she brought with her the three remaining books.

"Three books remain," she said, "and I will sell these to you for nine bags of gold."

Now the king's advisers gathered around, and they consulted among themselves. They were worried that the old sibyl would burn the very last of the predictions. What if what she said were true? What if they might know their future? What if they were throwing away their opportunity to read their destinies?

"You must buy these books," the advisers told their king, and so he did, paying the old sibyl nine bags of gold.

When the king and his advisers had read the three books that remained, they understood that this odd old woman was truly a great sibyl, prophetess of the future. The king sent at once for her and had her returned to his court. "Please," Tarquin begged her, "will you rewrite the other six books?"

"No," she said, refusing to discuss the matter. "You have chosen your destiny, and I cannot change that."

Rome did rise to be a great kingdom, and for years and years it flourished as a powerful republic, conquering Gaul under the famed Julius Caesar. But when the Roman Empire collapsed, people wondered what wisdom they might have learned in those six books burned by the sibyl of Cumae.

What Can Be Learned from the Church's Honoring of the Sibyls

These women, albeit shrouded in mystery and wonderful, fantastical tales, remind us that the Church teaches that actual grace and the natural virtues exist outside of Her, and that Christians are to honor Truth no matter whence it comes in the temporal realm. That the majority of Church Fathers adopted a form of Platonism, considering the philosopher an ally against naturalism and materiaism, that St. Thomas Aquinas and the Scholastics who followed used the Truths spoken by Aristotle for the same, that medieval Catholic civilization revered the "Nine Worthies" 5 -- three of whom were pagan, three of whom were Old Testament Jewish -- as the embodiment of chivalry -- these things remind us that arrogance and spiritual pride have no place in a Catholic's life. While there is an "us" and a "them" with regard to sanctifying grace, there is no "us" and "them" with regard to actual grace and the natural virtues. Further, we can't presume to know who's been blessed by sanctifying grace -- i.e., we can't know who the "them" is in that regard we can only know who is formally outside of the Church and, therefore, whom we need to evangelize -- in all charity and prudence -- and pray for.

Treat all men with charity, honor Truth wherever it is, and live a deeply Catholic life. "Spread the Gospel and let God sort 'em out." This is all we can do.

The Sibyls in Virgil's
and early Christians' Writings

  • The Eclogues, by Virgil (b. 70 B.C.) See also his "Aeneid."
  • Hortatory Address to the Greeks, by St. Justin Martyr (b. ca. 100)
  • To Aucolytus, by Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch (ca. 169)
  • Exhortation to the Heathen, by St. Clement of Alexandria (d. ca. 215)
  • Divine Institutes, by Lactantius (b. ca. 250)
  • On the Anger of God, by Lactantius
  • Oration of Constantine, by Eusebius (b. ca. 260)
  • City of God, by St. Augustine (b. 354)
  • Prophecy of the Tiburtine Sybil, Author Unknown (written ca. 380)

Judicii signum tellus sudore madescet.

E caelo rex adveniet per saecla futurus
scilicet ut carnem praesens ut judicet orbem.
Judicii signum tellus sudore madescet.

Unde deum cernent incredulus atque fidelis
celsum cum sanctis aevi jam termino in ipso.
Judicii signum tellus sudore madescet.

Sic animae cum carne aderunt quas judicat ipse
cum jacet incultus densis in vepribus orbis.
Judicii signum tellus sudore madescet.

Reicient simulacra viri cunctam quoque gazam
exuret terras ignis pontumque polumque.
Judicii signum tellus sudore madescet.

Inquirens taetri portas effringet averni
sanctorum sed enim cunctae lux libera carni.
Judicii signum tellus sudore madescet.

Tradetur sontes aeterna flamma cremabit
occultos actus retegens tunc quisque loquetur.
Judicii signum tellus sudore madescet.

Secreta atque deus reserabit pectora luci
tunc erit et luctus stridebunt dentibus omnes.
Judicii signum tellus sudore madescet.

Eripitur solis jubar et chorus interit astris
voluetur caelum lunaris splendor obibit.
Judicii signum tellus sudore madescet.

Deiciet colles valles extollet ab imo
non erit in rebus hominum sublime vel altum.
Judicii signum tellus sudore madescet.

Jam aequantur campis montes et caerula ponti
omnia cessabunt tellus confracta peribit.
Judicii signum tellus sudore madescet.

Sic pariter fontes torrentur fluminaque igni
sed tuba tum sonitum tristem demittet ab alto.
Judicii signum tellus sudore madescet.

Orbe gemens facinus miserum variosque labores tartareumque chaos monstrabit terra dehiscens.
Judicii signum tellus sudore madescet.

Et coram hic domino reges sistentur ad unum
reccidet e caelo ignisque et sulphuris amnis.
Judicii signum tellus sudore madescet.

3 Augustus (d. A.D. 14) was born "Gaius Octavius," became known as "Julius Caesar Octavianus" when he became heir to Julius Caesar (his great-uncle), and is most often called "Octavian," "Augustus," or "Caesar Augustus" in literature and references.

4 "Bullfinch's Mythology, the Age of Fable" by Thomas Bullfinch

5 Jean de Longuyon first enumerated the "Nine Worthies" in the 14th c., in his work, Voeux du Paon ("Vows of the Peacock"). The Nine Worthies are: Hector, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Joshua, David, Judas Maccabaeus, King Arthur, Charlemagne, and Godfrey of Bouillon.


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