A name representing alleged prophetesses consulted in ancient Greece and Rome, said to prophecize in ecstasy, under the temporary possession of Apollo.
Ten Sibylline oracles have been recorded by history. The best known Sibyl is said to have resided in a cave at Cumea, near Naples–“The Cumean Sibyl.”
In Vergil‘s Aneid this Sibyl is visited by Aeneas before his descent to Hades. She is also believed to have composed the original Sibylline books.
These prophetic works were taken to Rome, where they were guarded by two nobles. Extended volumes of Sibylline books survived into the 4th century CE.
Another famous Sibyl lived in Erythia in Asia, “The Erythian Sibyl.”
Sibyls appear in Christian art and literature. Early Christian interest in the Sibylline oracles raised them to a status comparable to the Old Testament Prophets.
In 1973 a popular novel, Sibyl, was written by Flora Rheta Schreiber based on the life of Shirley Ardell Mason, a woman diagnosed with multiple personality disorder or MPD. In 1976 the book was made into a film with Sally Field as Sibyl.
In the 19th and 20th centuries, two other novels have also been entitled Sibyl.
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