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quent Communicants. From the Spanish of Fr. Bal- 

TASAR Gracian, SJ. 3s. 6d. 

From the Spanish of Fr. ANTONIO Arbiol, of the Seraphic 

Order of St Francis, is. 
THE MONK OF YUSTE. The Last Days of Charles V. 

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SCIENCES AND ON THE ARTS. From the Spanish. 


Sibyls and the Sibylline Oracles. Initiated by the late 

Canon White, and concluded by Mariana Monteiro. 


THE LIFE OF S. JEROME. In 2 vols. 






" Is He the God of the Jews only ? Is He not also of 
theQentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also." — Bom. lii. 29. 





h^rf.-. ' ■ ,orSF STF-PHrM'S 

[To faw Preface. 


Some twenty years ago, the late Canon White, 
when reciting the sequence in the Mass for the 
Dead, the Dies Irce, conceived the idea that a 
book on the Sibyls would prove an interesting 
work. He spoke to me about the scheme, desir- 
ing me to collect the materials for this work when 
I frequented the Reading-room of the British 
Museum. As, fortunately, I am conversant with 
several languages, and, moreover, accustomed to 
work of research, I gladly seconded his wishes to 
gather from many sources the necessary informa- 
tion. The Canon had in mind to draw with his 
accustomed skill twelve sketches of the Sibyls, 
each with the attributes in accordance with their 

When engaged in this research, I found that 
some authors had formed the idea that these 
Sibyls were no more than a class of mythical 




beings which had had no existence, and not real 
prophets sent by God. This idea is quite 
erroneous ; and, similarly to many other errors, 
has been ignorantly circulated. Not only has 
Plato, Virgil, and other pagan writers who 
existed before the coming of Christ, and of un- 
doubted veracity, spoken and described them as 
real women endowed with the gift of prophecy by 
God Himself, but some twenty-two of the holy 
Fathers of the Church and the earliest writers 
of authority during the first ages of Christianity, 
mention and speak of the Sibyls as women 
prophets, whom, on account of their virginity, 
God had endowed with the gift of prophecy, and 
sent them to the Gentiles lest they should ever 
allege as an excuse that God had only favoured 
the Jews, His chosen people, by sending them 
prophets to announce the redemption of the 
human race through the Passion, Cross, and 
Death of His only Son, the Second Person of the 
adorable Trinity. Hence God in His tender 
mercy sent these Sibyls to the Gentiles to 
announce to them also the glorious tidings of 

In the days when I was collecting and writing 
out this work. Canon White used to come to the 
Reading-room occasionally to superintend and 


look over the various works I had found relating 
to the Sibyls, and was very much struck with 
one which contained illustrations of the twelve 
Sibyls. This work was in French and Latin, 
published in 1586, fol. : Sibyllatm-m dtwdecim : 
Les Oracles des douze Sibyls, Lat. & French. 
These I have had reproduced, and they will be 
found in the present work. He also copied many 
of the Latin verses which will be also found In this 
work. The greater portion of the information I 
gathered from foreign books, for the English 
writers do not seem to have taken much Interest 
in this subject, no doubt because It would 
entail too much research ; for in this age of hurry 
and money-making, work is not done for the sake 
of love of art, science, or literature, but for what 
it will bring quickly to the author or publisher. 

I had then arrived at the part where I com- 
menced the Sibylline Oracles themselves, or what 
has remained of them, translated from the Greek, 
when I had suddenly to leave England and pro- 
ceed to Portugal, leaving the work uncompleted. 
My stay abroad proved of some length, and on 
my return, on asking the Canon about the book 
— for I had left all the materials with him — he 
replied that he had done nothing further after I 


a 2 


Canon White's appointment to the Rectorship 
of the Church of the Holy Trinity, Brook Green, 
took place about that time ; and no doubt the 
many duties which this appointment involved, 
together with the enormous work of beautifying 
the splendid Church, took up all his available 
leisure, and put all thought of the Sibyls away 
from his mind. I have no need to mention here 
what various and splendid work he did, and how 
his duties and fervent zeal in the service of his 
Divine Master completely absorbed his time. 
This is well known, and a matter which does not 
require my feeble words to enhance. 

After the lamented death and funeral of our 
beloved Canon Alfred White, I received from the 
Reverend Father Grant, who had been the 
Canon's assistant priest for many years, a letter 
of which I give the copy. It runs as follows : — 

"41 Brook Green, W., 
May 2, 1904. 

''Dear Miss Monteiro, 

'* Our dear Canon White, just before 
his death, asked me to look out his manuscripts 
and designs on the Sibyls, and he wished them 
sent to you, as he thought you might complete 


the work and bring it out. I have just found 
them after a great search. Shall I send them 
over to you ? or would you prefer coming here 
first to see them ? We are all in great grief here. 
Pray for us, and believe me, — Yours truly in 

Roderick Grant." 

It is in compliance with the Canon's dying 
request that I have continued and brought to a 
conclusion this work, which I have had printed 
and published at my own sole expense. I have 
no doubt that the Canon's many friends whom he 
left sorrowing will be glad to possess copies of 
this book on a most interesting subject, and 
one scarcely ventured upon in the English 

At end of book will be found the sketches 
done by Canon White himself, and repro- 
duced just as he left them. At the part where 
the life of each Sibyl is given, a full-page 
illustration will be seen of the corresponding 
Sibyl. These, as I said before, have been photo- 
graphed from the French and Latin book above 
mentioned, and are the designs which he had so 
much admired. 


In the Museum, I found other foreign illustrated 
books on the Sibyls, but none of them appealed 
to the Canon's artistic taste as this one did. In 
arranging and bringing this work to a conclusion, 
I have endeavoured to carry out as faithfully as 
I could the scheme and plan of the work as he had 
laid out, for which reason I have omitted none of 
the Latin verses, which he himself had copied with 
the object of including them in the book, and, 
on receiving from Father Grant the parcel of 
MSS., I found that the whole had been type- 
written and arranged as it occurs in the present 

The cover of the book Is likewise Canon 
White's design, found among the sketches done 
by his hand, and coloured. It has been my desire 
to bring out this book on the Sibyls In time for 
the first anniversary of Canon White's saintly and 
glorious death. Glorious in the sight of God ! 
as the last tribute of my respect and veneration 
which I could offer him, who, for the length of 
thirty-six years, had watched and guided me, 
through many difficult and bitter trials, with a 
prudent and safe hand. Now in death I lay In 
spirit this book at his feet ; and as I firmly believe 
that he is in the enjoyment of the heavenly 
rewards promised to such as lead a noble, labori- 


ous, and well-spent life, I pray to him to accept 
this labour of love, with all its deficiencies and 
blemishes, and to plead for me at the throne of 
mercy. To such of his friends and other readers 
who may peruse this book, I say to them, 

Vale ! Et or a pro me ! 

Mariana Monteiko. 

St Scholastica's Retreat, 
Clapton, N.E., 

Feast of the Annunciation^ 
March 1905. 


Preface ....... 

List of Illustrations ..... 

The Dies Ir.e. Sequence said at Mass for the 
Dead. In Latin and in English . 

The Lives of the Twelve Sibyls :— 
First Sibyl— Sibilla Persica 
Second Sibyl— Sibilla Libica 
Third Sibyl— Sibilla Delphica . 
Fourth Sibyl — Sibilla Cumana . 
Fifth Sibyl— Sibilla Europa 
Sixth Sibyl — Sibilla Cumea 
Seventh Sibyl— Sibilla Tiburtina 
Eighth Sibyl— Sibilla Phrigia . 
Ninth Sibyl — Sibilla Agripina or Egypcia 
Tenth Sibyl — Sibilla Samia 
Eleventh Sibyl— Sibilla Hellespontica 
Twelfth Sibyl— Sibilla Erithrea 

The Truth of the Sibyls Proved by the Testimony 
OF Pagan Writers ..... 











The Fathers of the Church who have written 

concerning the Truth of the Sibyls . . 36 





The Books of the Sibyls : — 


First Book 

. 67 

Second Book . 


Third Book . 


Fourth Book . 


Fifth Book 


Sixth Book 


Seventh Book 


Eighth Book . 


Extracts from a Spanish Book 


The Sibylline Oracles (Translated from the 

Gr£Ek) :— 

The Proem ..... 


Book II. or III. .... 


Book IV. .... . 


Book V. 



A Collection of such Ancient Testimonies con- 
cerning THE Sibylline Oracles as are omitted 
before ....... 






Twelve Illustrations by the Very Rev. Canon 

White. In six pages^ at end of book^ but before the Index. 

To face page 


















• )> 







Dies irae, dies ilia, 
Solvet saeclum in favilla ; 
Teste David cum Sibylla. 

Quantus tremor est futurus, 
Quando judex est venturus, 
Cuncta striate discussurus ! 

Tuba mirum spargens sonum 
Per sepulchra regionum, 
Coget omnes ante thronum. 

Mors stupebit et natura, 
Cum resurget Creatura, 
Judicanti responsura. 

Liber scriptus proferetur, 
In quo totum continetur, 
Unde mundus judicetur. 


Judex ergo cum sedebit, 
Quidquid latet apparebit : 
Nil inultum remanebit. 

Quid sum, miser ! tunc dicturus ? 
Quem patronum rogaturus ? 
Cum vix Justus sit securus. 

Rex tremendai majestatis, 
Qui salvandos salvas gratis, 
Salva me, fons pietatis. 

Recordare, Jesu pie. 
Quod sum causa tuae viae, 
Ne me perdas ilia die. 

Quaerens me, sedisti lassus ; 
Redemisti, crucem passus : 
Tantus labor non sit cassus. 

Juste Judex ultionis, 
Donum fac remissionis, 
Ante diem rationis. 

Ingemisco, tanquam reus, 
Culpa rubet vultus meus, 
Supplicanti parce Deus, 


Qui Mariam absolvisti, 
Et latronem exaudisti, 
Mihi quoque spem dedisti. 

Preces mese non sunt dignae. 
Sed tu bonus fac benigne, 
Ne perenni cremer igne. 

Inter oves locum praesta, 
Et ab hoedis me sequestra. 
Statuens in parte dextra. 

Confutatis maledictis, 
Flammis acribus addictis, 
Voca me cum benedictis. 

Oro supplex et acclinis, 
Cor contritum quasi cinis : 
Gere curam mei finis. 

Lacrymosa dies ilia, 
Qua resurget ex favilla, 
Judicandus homo reus. 

Huic ergo parce Deus, 

Pie Jesu, Domine, 

Dona eis requiem. Amen. 



The day of wrath, that dreadful day, 
Shall the whole world in ashes lay. 
As David and the Sibyls say. 
What horror will invade the mind, 
When the strict Judge, who would be kind. 
Shall have few venial faults to find ! 
The last loud trumpet's wondrous sound 
Must through the rending tombs rebound, 
And wake the nations under ground. 

Nature and Death shall, with surprise, 

Behold the pale offender rise. 

And view the Judge with conscious eyes. 

Then shall, with universal dread. 

The sacred mystic book be read, 

To try the living and the dead. 

The Judge ascends His awful throne : 

He makes each secret sin be known. 

And all with shame confess their own. 

Oh then ! what interest shall I make. 
To save my last important stake. 
When the most just have cause to quake ? 
Thou mighty, formidable King ! 
Thou Mercy's unexhausted spring ! 
Some comfortable pity bring ! 


Forget not what my ransom cost, 
Nor let my dear-bought soul be lost, 
In storms of guilty terror toss'd. 

Thou, who for me didst feel such pain, 
Whose precious Blood the Cross did stain ; 
Let not those agonies be vain. 
Thou, whom avenging powers obey, 
Cancel my debt (too great to pay) ! 
Before the sad accounting day. 
Surrounded with amazing fears, 
Whose load my soul with anguish bears, 
I sigh, I weep : accept my tears. 

Thou, who wast moved with Mary's grief. 
And, by absolving of the thief 
Hast given me hope, now give relief. 
Reject not my unworthy prayer. 
Preserve me from the dangerous snare. 
Which Death and gaping Hell prepare. 
Give my exalted soul a place 
Among the chosen right-hand race. 
The sons of God, and heirs of Grace. 

From that insatiate abyss. 

Where flames devour and serpents hiss. 

Promote me to thy seat of bliss. 


Prostrate my contrite heart I rend, 

My God, my Father, and my Friend ! 

Do not forsake me in my end. 

Well may they curse their second birth. 

Who rise to a surviving death. 

Thou great Creator of mankind, 

Let guilty man compassion find. 





" Chara Dei soboles nascetur Virgine Matre, 
Et lapsae Genti causa salutis erit. 
Ipse triumphator Solymas pervadet asello 
Nudis tandem egressis ultima fata feret." 

The Sibyl Persica was a native of Persia, a 
region of Oriental Asia called Persia from 
King Perse or Perseo. Her proper name was 
Sambetha, and mention is made of her by 
Nicanor, the historian of Alexander the Great. 
This Sibyl is called by some Persica, by others 
Chaldea, and by others again, Helrea, as is 
affirmed by Genebrado, who says : her father was 
Beroso, he who wrote the Chaldean History ; 
and her mother was Erimanta. St Augustine 



and Lactantlus Firmianus speak in particular of 
this Sibyl to whom is commonly attributed the 
following prophecy : — 

'' Ecce bestiam conculcaberis et gignetur 
Dominus in orbe terrarum, et gremium virginis 
erit salus gentium et pedes ejus in valetudine 
hominum, et invisibile verbum palpabitur." 

She flourished in the time of Gideon of the 
tribe of Manasses, about the year 2769 B.C. 
There are also found of this Sibyl some verses 
which treat of the preaching and baptism of St 
John, and of the miracle of the five loaves and 
two fishes, with which Our Lord fed the five 
thousand people in the desert, there remaining 
twelve baskets of bread, as is described by the 
Evangelists. This Sibyl is depicted, according 
to the treatise De Vaticiniis Sibilarum, clothed in 
a robe of gold brocade and a white veil over her 
head. Others paint her with a book of her 
prophecies in the right hand, and the left placed 
on her breast, the heavens illumined with a Cross 
in the centre of the light ; because she, more than 
all the other Sibyls, treated largely of the Com- 
ing, Cross, and Death of Christ Our Lord, for 
which reason she wrote eighty-four books of 
prophecies and notable events, as she lived a long 


Sir.ILLA Persica. 

[To face 'page 2. 


Concerning the preaching and baptism of the 
precursor, St John the Baptist, are found the 
following verses, which, translated from the 
Greek, run thus : — 

" Tunc quoque vox qusedam veniet per deserta locorum. 
Nuncia mortales miseros quae clamet ad omnes 
Ut vectos faciant calles animosque ; repurgent 
A vitiis, et aquis lustrentur corpora mundis," etc. 

That is : when the time predicted shall 
come in which the Redeemer is to come into the 
world, the sound of a voice will be heard in the 
deserts, and that voice will invite all mortals to 
prepare the way, and cleanse their souls of vices 
and sins, and they will be baptised in pure and 
limpid waters. 

This prophecy is in harmony with what St 
John writes : " Ego vox clamantis in deserto : 
dirigite viam Domini, sicut dixit Isaias 

This Sibyl is held in much veneration by the 
ancient and modern writers, not only because she 
was the first of the Sibyls, as that she spoke 
much concerning Christ Our Lord, and because 
she wrote so many books of prophecies and 
remarkable events. She was the first among the 
Sibyls who spoke about the Cross and Death of 


Christ Our Lord, and for that reason she is 
generally depicted gazing on the heavens illu- 
mined around a Cross, because in the Cross and 
Passion of Christ consists our enlightenment and 
happiness and the true peace of the soul. The 
Cross is likewise shown surrounded by this light 
of heaven to make us understand that the Cross 
is the ladder by which we are to ascend to 
heaven, as this Sibyl signifies in her verses. It 
is the ladder of Jacob ; the two sides are the 
Divinity and Humanity, and the rungs of this 
ladder are the painful examples given us by 
Christ Our Lord, because from the Crib to the 
Cross all the steps were those of trial and 
poverty. By this ladder do the angels descend, 
that is to say, the angelic men, by the examples 
of mortification, and they ascend through con- 
templation and the elevation of the understand- 
ing, hence with good reason is the Sibyl painted 
with the Cross and heavenly light, since by 
the Cross of Christ Our Lord we are liberated 
from the tyranny of death and sin, as is signi- 
fied by Claudianus, who, imitating the Sibyl, 
says : — 

" Quin et suppicij nomen nexusque ; subisti, 
Ut nos surriperes letho, mortemq', fugares 
Morte tua." 



[To face 'page 4. 




This Sibyl is also known by another name, 
Bybissa or Elisa. She lived before the destruc- 
tion of Troy about the year 2815. To her is 
attributed the following prophecy. 

" Ecce veniet dies, et illuminabit Dominus 
condensa tenebrarum, et nexus Synagogae solven- 
tur, et definent labia hominum, cum viderint Regem 
viventium, et tenebit ilium in gremio virgo 
domina gentium, et regnabit in misericordia, ex 
utero matris ejus erit statera cunctorum ; inde 
manus iniquse venient, et dabunt Deo alapas, 
manibus incertis miserabilis et ignominiosus 
erit, miserabilibusque ipsum prsebebit." 

There is also found some verses of this Sibyl, 
quoted by Sixtus of Siena, which treat upon the 
miracles that Our Lord performed. That He 
was to heal the sick and the crippled who should 
have faith and confidence in Him — that the 
blind should have their sight restored, the lame 
walk, the deaf hear, the dumb speak, the devils 
be driven away, and the dead rise again. She 
also said that God was just towards all men, and 
was no respecter of persons, a Holy, Living, 


Eternal, Everlasting King, and that He would 
recline His sacred limbs on the lap and arms of 
the Queen of Heaven. She is depicted robed 
in green garments, her head crowned with flowers, 
and bearing a laurel branch in her hand. 



She was called by this name because she was 
born in Delphos, a city of Boetia, close to the 
Parnassus. She was daughter of Tyresias and 
Daphne. Some call her Themis, others Anthemis, 
and others Sibyla, on which account all the 
others were called Sibyls. vShe wrote before the 
destruction of Troy, and prophesied much of 
Priam and Hecuba about the union of Paris and 
Helen. The Romans erected a statue in her 
honour. Homer took many of her verses for his 
Iliad. She lived about the year 2802 B.C. To 
her is ascribed the following prophecy : — 

" Ipsum tuum cognosce Dominum qui vere' 
Dei Fihus est." And also the following : — 

'* Nascetur Propheta absque matris coitu ex 
virgine eius." 


[To face 2X1 (jc 6. 


She wrote very carefully concerning the 
Incarnation of the Divine Word, life and miracles 
of Christ Our Lord, His betrayal, imprisonment, 
Passion and shameful death, Resurrection and 
Ascension, with such good order and style, that 
it reads more like the records of a past history 
than the narrative of events which were yet to 

This is expressed by the author of the 
Treatise on the Sibyls. She is depicted with a 
closed book, because the mysteries she wrote 
about were hidden from the people. 

Of the Passion of Christ she wrote the 
following prophecy : — 

" Impinget illi colaphos et sputa subrectis 
Israel labiis, neque non, et fellis amari 
Apponet escam, potumque; immitis aceti." 

Which is : The wicked people of Israel will give 
the Messiah blows, and will spit on His face, and 
they will give Him gall for His food and vinegar 
to drink. 

Here is also found a prophecy concerning the 
Virgin Mary quoted by Chrysippus : — 

*' Qui virginea conceptus ab alvo 
Prodidit hsec, sine contactu maris, omnia vincit 
Hoc naturae opera." 




She was a native of Cumse, a city of Asia 
Minor, and is a different Sibyl from the one 
called Cumea, who was of Cimerio, a town of 
Campania. This Sibyl was also called Amalthea, 
others call her Heropila or Herophile or Demo- 

On the summit of the city of Cumae is seen a 
chapel which is said to have been the cave or 
dwelling of the Sibyl who flourished in the time of 
Tarquin the Elder, about the year 3364 B.C. Of 
her it is said, that on approaching the presence of 
Tarquin with nine books of her prophecies, she 
demanded for them the price of three hundred gold 
coins, and as this sum appeared to the king to be 
excessive, he refused to purchase them. Then 
the Sibyl in his presence burnt three of the 
books, and asked for the remaining ones the same 
price as before. The king scoffed at her demand 
and pretensions, and the Sibyl in his presence 
burnt three more of the books, and demanded 
the same price for the three books as she had 
done for the nine. The king was greatly 
surprised, and marvelled at her demands, and as 

'^^~ ^ i-*^f^>i^«-»s'- 


[To face page S. 


it appeared to him that these books must con- 
tain some great mystery, he acceded, and gave her 
for the three the sum she asked. Pliny says that 
there were three books, and that she burnt two ; 
these were held in such esteem that the Romans 
placed them in the Capitol, and they sent to 
search for all the verses they could find of this 
Sibyl and of the other Sibyls, and they appointed 
fifteen persons to whom were entrusted the 
custody of these books, and the priests who 
guarded them were called Sibylines, as Cicero 
tells us : Nee hoc quidem in mentem veniebat 
Sybilino Sacerdoti. These books were so highly 
esteemed that, when Stilicon the Tyrant, 
governor of Rome, burnt these books, there was 
nothing the Romans felt so much as this cruel 
act, as is sung by the poet Rutilus. 

Ne tantum patris saevisset proditor arma, 
sancta Sibyllae fata cremavit opus ; of her we 
have the following prophecy : — 

'' Mortis fatum finiet trium dierum somno 
suscepto, tunc a mortuis egressus, ad lucem 
lactam veniet, primus resurrectionis initium 

There are found some verses of this Sibyl in 
praise of the Virgin, our Lady, in which it says, 
that she was most humble, for which reason she 


was chosen to be the Mother of God, as the 
Virgin herself confesses to her cousin Saint 
Elizabeth, when she said : ** Quia respexit humili- 
tatem ancillae suae." And the Sibyl says that she 
was greater than any other in the world. The 
verses are as follows : — 

" (Ut voluit), nostra vestitus carne decenter, 
In cunctis humilis ; castam pro matre puellam 
Diliget ; haec alias forma precesserit omnes." 

This Sibyl is depicted holding the book of 
prophecies in one hand, and in the other the 
standard of the Cross. 

The sepulchre of this Sibyl is said to be 
preserved in Sicily, according to Marcus Varro 
and others. 



Nothing is written of this Sibyl concerning 
the country nor the time of her fame, hence some 
authors have not mentioned her nor the following 
Sibyl, as these hold to be one, the Cumana, 
Europa, and Cumea. 


[To face ptigr 10. 


The modern writers generally have mentioned 
her, and we have this prophecy by her. 

*' Veniet ille, et transibit montes, et colles et 
latices sylvarum Olympi, regnabit in paupertate, 
et dominabitur in silencio et egredietur de utero 

This Sibyl is not the one who married Arterio, 
king of Crete, nor the daughter of Anthenor 
who was ravished by Jupiter in the form of a bull, 
as Ovid untruthfully says, because, as has been 
already said, the Sibyls were pure, chaste virgins, 
and the gift of prophecy was communicated to 
them on account of their gift of virginity. She 
is depicted looking up to heaven, bearing an 
olive branch in her hand, her head wrapped 
with a fine veil, and robed in golden garments. 

The language employed by the Sibyl Europa 
is very similar in style to that of the Spouse in 
the Canticles. She says : '* He will cross the 
mountains and the hills," and the Spouse says 
to her beloved : '' Ecce iste venit saliens in monti- 
bus, transiliens colles!' 

The Sibyl said that He would reign in 
poverty, which is in conformity with what the 
Prophet Zacharias says: '' Exult a satis filia 
SionJ' etc. 

The Sibyl also predicted that Christ should 


be born of a Virgin, which is also conformable 
with Isaias : '^ Ecce Virgo concipiet,'' etc. 

Sibylla Europa is generally depicted with an 
olive branch, to signify that with the coming of 
Christ would cease the tempest and agitation of 
Idolatry, and Christ, the fairest Dove, would 
come announcing peace, as in the time of Noah 
the Dove had returned carrying an olive branch 
in its beak to show that the waters of the deluge 
had subsided. Because Idolatry had been intro- 
duced in the world, and the Devil, to confirm 
the false divinities, found a great success in 
giving answers through the idols, in order that 
those who came to consult them should believe 
that these divinities were the true God. These 
answers were given in many temples of the idols, 
and the most remarkable ones were in Dodona, a 
province of Egypt, where, according to Diodorus 
Siculus, in the depths of a wooded forest there 
was a temple dedicated to Jupiter, in which 
there was an oracle that gave answers. In 
Delphos there was another temple, close to 
Mount Parnassus, and this was the most famous 
of all that were in the world, of which St 
Fulgentius makes mention, where the Devils 
gave cautious answers, so that their falsehoods 
should not be discovered, and thus they spoke 


[To face page li 


with equivocation and double meaning, as is 
remarked by St Augustine and by Paul Orosius 
when speaking of the ardides of Apollo in giving 
replies. The priestesses of Apollo who gave the 
answers were called Pythonica, from Python, the 
serpent which was said to have killed Apollo ; of 
these priestesses there were many in the world, as 
is read of in the Book of Kings, that Saul sought 
one in order to learn from her the success of the 

This agitation of the Devils and the replies of 
the Idols lasted until the coming of Christ Our 
Lord, who brought the olive branch as a sign 
that the tempests of Idolatry had passed away. 



This Sibyl was from Cimero, a town of 
Campana in Italy, for which reason she has been 
called by some Sibylla Italica ; others call her 
Cimeria, and say that she was born in Babylon, 
and came to Italy, where she dwelt in a cave 
near Cumas in Italy, and there wrote and dictated 
many oracles. She used to ascend some high 


place and teach the people, as St Justin tells us ; 
and she left, written in verse, the coming of God 
to the world, and the miracles He was to work. 
Of her Virgil speaks when he says : — 

" Ultima Cumsei venit jam carminis setas 
Magnus ab integro saeclorum nascitur ordo ; 
Jam redit et virgo, redeunt saturnia regna, 
Jam nova progenies coelo demittitur alto, 
Tu modo nascenti puero, quo ferrea primum 
Desinet, ac toto surget gens aurea mundo, 
Casta, fave, Lucina : tuus jam regnat Apollo." 

St Augustine, St Justin, Arnobius, St Anthony, 
and others, say that Virgil had seen the verses 
of the Sibyl Cumea. Servius Honoratus, the 
commentator of Virgil, says that this Sibyl 
divided the ages by metals, and said that after 
the age of Iron would follow the age of Gold, with 
the birth of the new Prince. Virgil often speaks 
of her in various parts of the yEneid, as is 
declared by the interpreters and expositors of 
Virgil, who all agree that he saw the works and 
writings of this Sibyl, and placed many of them 
in his work, particularly those above mentioned, 
applying them to the birth of Julius Caesar and 
his nephew Augustus, the first who took the title 
of Emperor. And to flatter these Princes he wrote 
his ^neid and the Fourth Eclogue, applying to 


them the verses of the Sibyl Cumea, because 
Virgil was born in the year 3934 B.C., and wrote 
his Eclogues in 3963, when the era of Caesar was 
introduced in Spain (also to flatter the Caesar), 
and he died in 3985, aged fifty-one years ; and 
Virgil did not speak of the birth of Christ 
Our Lord as a modern author has said, because 
Virgil died sixteen years before the birth of Christ, 
but he made use of the verses of this Sibyl, believ- 
ing that they referred to Caesar, or else he wished 
to flatter them, as has been said above. She is 
depicted looking towards heaven, holding some 
lilies and roses in her hand in symbol of the 
purity of the Virgin, of whom she especially speaks 
in her verses. 

Of this Sibyl is found a prophecy, which 
says : — 

" Militiae aeternae Regem sacra virgo cibabit 
Lacte suo, per quern gaudebunt pectore summo 
Omnia, et ex quo lucebit sydus ab orbe 

Bernardino de Busto calls this Sibyl Chimita, 
and says she was born in the time of Numa 
Pompilius, the second King of the Romans, and 
writes of her the following prophecy : — 

''In prima facie virginis, ascendit puella facie 


pulchra, capillis prolixa, sedens super sedem 
stratum, puerum nutriens, dans ei ad comedendum 
jus propium, id est lac de coelo missum." 

And a second prophecy, which appears to be a 
declaration of the first, and is as follows : — 

''In diebus . illis exsurget mulier de stirpe 
deorum, nomine Maria, et habebit sponsum 
nomine Joseph, et procreabitur ab ea, sine com- 
mixtione viri, de Spiritu Sancto, Filius Dei nomine 
Jesu, et ipsa erit virgo ante et post partum. Qui 
vero ex ea nascetur erit verus Deus, et verus homo, 
sicut omnes Prophetse praedicaverunt." 



She was a native of the Tiber, a city of Italy, 
sixteen miles from Rome, and for this reason she 
was called Tiburtina, her proper name being 
Albumea, others say Italica, because she 
prophesied in Italy thirty years before Christ, 
and was the most modern of them all, because it 
was in the reign of the Emperor Augustus Csesar. 
Of her it is stated that the Romans sought to 
erect a statue and hold her as a goddess ; that this 

,^\ ^f^-%^ 


[To face jW-'jc 16. 


same Caesar communed with her, and when await- 
ing her reply, saw the heavens rent open and 
a maiden appear holding a lovely Child in her 
arms. This maiden was seated on an altar, and 
a voice was heard, which said : Hcsc est ara filii 
Dei. The Emperor in perturbation prostrated 
himself on the ground and adored God ; and from 
that time he did not wish to be called God or 
Lord by the people, as was their custom ; and on 
that spot he erected a temple with the title of 
Ara Coeli, in honour of that maiden whom he had 
seen with the Child in her arms. Others recount 
this in various ways, as Pineda in his Monarchy. 
This temple is in the possession of the Religious 
Observants of St Francis in Rome, under the 
same invocation of Ara Cceli. As is written by 
Father Fray Francisco Gonzaga in the Chronicles 
of his religion, and by Father Fray Lucas 
Vuadigno in his Annals, to this Sibyl is attributed 
the following prophecy : — 

''Nascetur Christus in Bethlem et annuntiabitur 
in Nazareth, regnante Tauro pacifico, fundatore 
quietis ; o felix ilia mater cuius ubera lactabunt ! " 
This Sibyl also treated of the Death, Resurrec- 
tion and Manifestation, Ascension, and other 
mysteries of Christ Our Lord. She is depicted 
gazing up to heaven at an image of the Mother 


of God, who holds in her arms her Son. In one 
hand of the Sibyl is a porringer, and in the other 
she holds a palm branch, to denote that the Child 
should be born, become a man, and eat from a 
porringer ; while the palm implied that He was 
to die in Judea where there are an abundance of 
palms ; the palm signifies Judea, as is verified by 
a coin of the Emperor Titus, in which is seen a 
figure of this Province close to a palm with the 
inscription : Judcea capta. She is also represented 
bearing a palm, to show us the justice of Christ, 
because the palm is a symbol of justice, for two 
reasons : first, because it yields fruit in propor- 
tionate size to the leaves ; and secondly, because 
the matter of the palm is incorruptible, as should 
be the Princes and those who govern. Thus 
said the Royal Prophet David : Justus ut palma 
florebit. The palm is also employed to depict 
the innocence of Christ, of which the palm is a 
symbol : Saint Ambrose says that in the Canticles 
Statura tua assvnilata est palmce means the 
innocence of the Spouse, her fairness and purity. 
From whence Cardinal Vitalis tells us that the 
Cross of Our Lord was made with three or four 
kinds of woods, viz., cedar, cypress, olive, and 
palm. The foot of the Cross was of cedar, the 
straight stem or trunk of cypress, the arms of palm, 


and the tablet or inscription board of olive ; and 
on explaining why the arms of the Cross should 
be of palm, says these words : " In palma quae 
est durabilis intelligimus incorruptionem. et 
munditiam castitatis, donum misericordise et 
pietatis." That is : '* In the palm, which is 
durable, we understand incorruption and the 
beauty of chastity, and the gift of mercy and 

To this Sibyl is likewise ascribed the verses in 
the Third Book of the Oracles in honour of Our 
Blessed Lady : — 

" Laetare et exulta puella ! 
Tibi, enim, gaudium donabit seternum. 
Qui coelum et terram condidit. 
Enimvero in te habitabit, tibiq' erit 
Immortale et indeficiens lumen." 

Which is : '' Be joyful and rejoice, child, be- 
cause He has given you an eternal joy, He 
who made the heavens and the earth ; and this 
Lord will dwell in you, and He will be your 
immortal eternal Light." 

These verses of the Sibyl seem to agree with 
the hymn sung by the Church — *' Regina Cceli, 
laetare. Alleluia. Quia quem meruisti portare. 
Alleluia," etc. 



She was daughter of Dardanus, who was said 
to be the son of Jupiter and of Neso, daughter of 
the King of the Turks. She prophesied in 
Anzira, a city of Asia Minor, about the year 
2996 B.C., in the time of King Solomon or a little 
before. Of her we have the following : — 

'* Flagellabit Deus potentes terrse, et in olympo 
excelsus, veniet ; firmabitur consilium in coelo, et 
annuntiabitur Virgo in vallibus desertorum." She 
also wrote concerning the Death and Passion of 
Christ, of His burial and the Incarnation of the 
Divine Word ; and as it belongs to the mystery 
which we are endeavouring to write about, I will 
quote the verses as they are written by Father 
Canisio : — 

" Ipsa Deum vidi summum punire volentem, 
Mundi homines stupidos et pectora caeca revelabit, 
Et quia sic nostram complerent crimina pellem, 
Virginis in corpus voluit dimittere coelo 
Ipse Deus prolem, quam nuntiat Angelus almae 
Matri, quae miseros contracta sorde lavaret." 

She is described robed in red, her hair loose 
and dishevelled, her arms bare, holding a naked 


[To face page 20. 



[To face piiije 20. 


sword in one hand, which signifies the punish- 
ment of the wicked in the Judgment, and a 
laurel branch in the other hand, as a symbol of 
the reward and victory of the good. 



This Sibyl was a native of Egypt, and 
some called her Egypcia, others Agrippa, others 
again Sanbera. We have this prophecy of 
hers : — 

** Invisibile verbum palpabitur, germinabit 
radix, sic habetur ut solium, non apparebit venustas 
eius, circumdabit eum alvus maternas, et florebit 
Deus laetitia sempiterna, et ab hominibus concul- 
cabitur, et nascetur ex matre ut Deus, et conver- 
sabitur ut peccator." 

She is depicted dressed in rose-coloured 
robes, one hand placed on her bosom, as though 
in admiration of the things which were revealed 
to her, and in the other hand she holds a sceptre, 
signifying by this, that Christ, of whom she 
spoke, was to be King and Lord. 



As this Sibyl was a native of the Island of 
Samos, some have called her Heriphila. She 
lived in the time of Numa Pompilius, about 
the year 3294. He has this prophecy of 
hers : — 

** Ecce veniet dives et nascetur de paupercula, 
et bestiae terrarum adorabunt eum, et dicent : 
laudate eum in atriis coelorum." 

This Sibyl also said that the Lord would be 
crowned with thorns, and that He would have 
given to Him gall and vinegar to drink. To 
this one is also attributed that verse of the Holy 
Cross, which says : '' O lignum felix in quo Deus 
ipse pependit." 

She is described as of a beautiful counte- 
nance, with a fine veil on her head, in one hand a 
crown of thorns, and in the other an open book 
containing her prophecies. 

Of this oracle and verse of the Holy Cross 
there is mention made in the works of Sozomeno, 
Suydas, Nicephorus, and others. 


Vro Jxcc parje \1± 


[ To face page 22. 




She was born in the Trojan camp, in a place 
called Marmesso, about the year 3450, in the 
time of Cyrus, the first King of Persia, 551 years 
before the birth of Christ Our Lord. Of her we 
have the following prophecy : — 

*' De excelso ccelorum habitaculo prospexit 
Deus humiles suos, et nascetur, in diebus novis- 
simis, de Virgine Hebrse, in cunabulis terrae." 

Canisio, in Beata Virgine, quotes those verses 
in praise of Mary most holy, which she wrote, 
and which are as follows : — 

" Dum meditor, quondam, vidi decorare puellam, 
Eximie castam (quod Virgo servaret honorem) 
Munere digna suo, et divino numine visa, 
Quae sobolem multo pareret splendore micantem, 
Progenies summa, speciosa et vere regnaus, 
Pacifica, mundum quae sub ditione gubernat." 

She also said that Christ Our Redeemer would 
not come on earth to undo the law, but to 
fulfil it, which is what that same Lord said in 
St Matthew. She is depicted with an aged 
countenance, coarsely dressed, with a handker- 
chief rolled around her throat and cheeks, in one 


hand a book of her prophecies, and in the 
other a sheaf of ears of corn, to signify that 
there should be born in the world He who 
was to be the living Bread and true food of 
the Soul. 



Some call her Babylonica, and that she came 
from Babylon. Others name her Heriphile ; but 
the common opinion is that she was of the city 
of Ponia, in the province of Asia Minor. There 
are more accounts of this Sibyl than of any other, 
and to her is ascribed all the verses of the other 
Sibyls. It is also said that there were two 
Sibyls of the same name, one ancient and the 
other modern. The ancient one, authors make out, 
was the daughter-in-law of Noah, called Athenais: 
it has been already said that none of the Sibyls 
were married, and that all were virgins. This 
one was not daughter-in-law to Noah, as it is 
stated, for she lived before the destruction of 
Troy, and spoke and treated of its ruin, and 


[To fmr paur 


the falsehoods of Homer. This was about 
the year 2815. Of none of the other Sibyls 
have we so many verses and sayings as of 
Erithrea. She spoke much about the rigorous 
final Judgment, the Sequence which we have in 
the Mass of the Dead which says '' Teste David 
cum Sibylla," is understood to mean Erithrea. 
There are likewise some of her verses which 
treat of the Judgment, the first letters of which 
compose the words Jesus Christus Dei Filius 
Servator, referred to by St Augustin, St An- 
toninus of Florence, and Thomas Bozio, and the 
treatises on the Sibyls mentioned above, and 
others. To her is commonly ascribed the 
following prophecy : — 

" In ultima setate humiliabitur Deus, et 
humanabitur proles divina, iungetiir humanitati 
divinitas, jacebit in solio Agnus et officio 
puellari educabitur Deus et Homo." 

St Augustine, in the book we have mentioned, 
quotes from Lactantius Firmianus the sayings of 
the Sibyl that refer to Christ Our Lord, which 
he writes in Romanee, and is as follows : " He 
will fall into iniquitous and infidel hands, these 
will give God blows with sacrilegious hands, and 
they will cast from their loathsome mouths 
poisoned spittle ; He will offer them His Sacred 


Shoulders simply to be scourged, and being 
struck, He will keep silent, so that perchance 
none may know who He is, nor from whence He 
came to converse with those here below ; and 
they will crown Him with a crown of thorns, 
and give Him gall to eat, and vinegar to drink, 
and they will show by this meal their overmuch 
inhumanity. But thou, O people! blinded and 
foolish ; didst not know thy God disguised to 
human eyes ; and thou didst crown Him with 
thorns, thou gavest Him to drink horrible gall ; 
the veil of the Temple will be rent, and in the 
middle of the day there will come over a most 
darksome night that will last three hours, and 
He will die the death, going to sleep for three 
days, and after this, returning from Hell, He will 
come to life. He will be the first to manifest to 
the chosen the principles of Religion." All this 
is referred to by St Augustin, also by Father 

In praise of the Virgin, Our Lady, is quoted 
the following verses of this Sibyl : — 

" Cerno Dei matrem, qui se dimisit ab alto, 
Ultima felices referent cum tempora soboles, 
Hebraea quem Virgo feret de stirpe decora, 
In terris multum teneris passurus ab annis, 
Magnus erit tamen hie divino carmine vates 
Virgine matre fatus, prudenti tempore vexat.'' 


And concerning the adoration of the Kings, 
is read these verses : — 

" lUi libabunt auriim, mirrhamque ; ferentes 
Thusque ; Sacerdotes, haec omnia namque patrati." 

These and many others are quoted in the 
work Oracula Sibyllina. 

The Roman Senate sent fifteen Ambassadors 
to the city of Erithrea for the verses of this Sibyl, 
and they were placed in the Capitol. This Sibyl 
is painted holding to her breast a lamb, because 
she spoke of Christ Our Lord under the 
appellation of the Lamb, for such did St John the 
Baptist call Him, when he said : Ecce Agnus Dei. 
She is also represented with a Lamb to denote 
the innocence of Christ, His meekness, His 
riches, and the happiness which He promised — all 
which is symbolised by the lamb. 


I WILL commence by Cicero, who was one of the 
most learned and eloquent of all the Latins, and 
who lived some seventy years before Christ. I 
quote what he says of the Sibyls : — ^ 

''Sibyllae versus observamus, quos ilia furens 
fudisse dicitur ; quorum interpres falsa qusedam, 
hominum fama dicturus in Senatum putabatur ; 
eum quem re vero regem habebamus, appel- 
landum quoque esse regem, si salvi esse vellemus. 
Hoc si est in libris, in quem hominum et in quod 
tempus est ? Callide enim qui ilia composuit 
perfecit, ut quodcumque accidisset praedictum 
videretur, hominum et temporum definitione 
sublata. Adhibuit etiam latebram obscuritatis, 
ut iidem versus alias in aliam rem posse 
accommodari viderentur. Non autem esse illud 

* Tull. I. 2. de divinat. e., no, iii, 112. 



carmen furentis, cum ipsum Poema declarat ; est 
enim magis artis et diligentise quam incitationes 
et motus ; tam vero ea qua^ dicetur, cum deinceps 
exprimis versus litteris aliquid connectitur, ut in 
quibusdam Ennianis quae Ennius fecit. Id certe 
magis est attenti animi quam furentis. Atque in 
Sibyllinis ex primo versu cujusque sententiae, 
primis litteris, illius sententiae carmen omne 
praetexitur. Hoc scriptoris est, non furentis ; 
adhibentis diligentiam, non insani," etc. 

The translation is as follows : — 

'' We preserve the verses of the Sibyl which 
she spoke, so it is said, when she was beside 
herself. It is believed that her interpreter dur- 
ing a great noise which prevailed, had said in the 
full Senate, that if we wished to save Rome we 
must needs bestow the title of King upon him 
who should truly fulfil the functions of such 
amongst us. If this is what these books tell us, 
to what man or at what time does this prediction 
refer? The author has been careful in not 
assigning any time or men, thus adapting the 
prophecies to every possible event. Moreover, 
these verses are enveloped in such obscurity 
that these very verses may receive many appli- 

" Nothing, therefore, less resembles the in- 


spiratlon of a prophet in a fit of delirium than the 
art and care which is observable in these oracles, 
and the form of acrostic, or that attention in 
making sense with the initial letters of the verses, 
as is seen in some of the poetry of Ennius. 
Ennius fecit. 

'' I perceive in these verses more of study and 
enthusiasm. Nevertheless the Sibylline verses 
are thus composed : the first letters of the verses 
of one period forming a motto. In this is seen 
the writer and not the prophet, the man who 
calculates, and not a god insane," etc. And 
he concludes in these terms : " And for this 
reason is the knowledge of these Sibylline books 
prohibited to the public, and they are hidden 
from them ; and it is ordered by our ancestors that 
they be not read unless by an order from the 
Senate, fearing lest they should tend to destroy 
rather than to establish religion." 

From the Prince of Orators I follow with the 
Prince of Poets, Virgil, who deserves no less than 
a historian to be believed, since he speaks of a 
fact of which he can be a witness, and one who 
cannot be suspected of collusion with the 
Christians, as he wrote forty-one years before 
the coming of Christ, and which bears some idea 
of predictions, and that the Poets had their 


rapture and inspiration, which can place them in 
some sort among the Sibyls. 

For this reason Constantine the Great, 
Lactantius, St Augustine, and other Fathers, 
have brought forward their testimonies as 
authentic proofs of our religion. This testimony- 
is drawn from the Fourth Eclog7ie, and runs as 
follows : — 

'' Jam nova progenies coelo demittitur alto. 

Ultima Cumaei venit jam carminis aetas. 

Jam redit et virgo, redeunt Saturnia regna," etc. 
'* lu modo nascenti puero, qui ferrea primum, 

Definet, ac toto surget gens aurea mundo, 

Casta, fave, Lucina. 

Te duce si qua manent sceleris vestigia nostri. 

Irrita, perpetua solvent formidine terras." 

I translate the above in prose, in order to 
render more faithfully the sense : — 

"A new-born infant is now sent to us from 
the highest heaven. Behold the last age pre- 
dicted in the verses of the Sibyl Cumea. A new 
course is taken by the greatest order of the ages. 
The Virgin also returns now, and the reign of 
Saturn, etc. You, O chaste Lucina, be propitious 
to this new-born infant, who will end a nation 
hard as iron, and will make another to be born, 
beautiful and precious as the gold. 


" Under the rule of this infant, if there rests 
any traces of our crimes, they will be effaced, and 
he will deliver the world from an eternal fear." 

The next authority is that of the Emperor 
Aurelian, who certainly cannot be accused of 
being favourable to the Christians, since he was 
their greatest persecutor. It has been stated 
already that the Books of the Sibyls were 
forbidden to be read by the Christians, which 
evidently proves that they spoke in favour of 
our religion ; but the letter which L. Domitius 
Aurelian sent to the Senate 271 years after the 
birth of Our Lord is a still more manifest 
proof : — 

'' Miror vos patres sancti, tandiu de aperiendis 
libris Sibyllinis dubitasse, perindie quassi in 
Christianorum Ecclesia et non in templo omnium 
deorum tractaretis," etc. 

** I am astonished, holy Fathers, that you 
should have doubted so long a time, whether to 
consult the Books of the Sibyls or not, as though 
you had to discuss this in a Church of Christians 
and not in the Temple of all the gods," etc. 

In order to understand his meaning it must 
be remarked that this Prince was engaged in the 
Marcomanic war, which was a dangerous one, 
and many of the bad politicians were not of 


opinion to have recourse to their gods, or to 

consult the Sibyls, alleging that to do so 

would be to betray fear in the Emperor, and 

the weakness of the Empire ; but Aurelian 

on the contrary wrote to the Senate, that 

it was not a shameful thing for Princes to 

demand succour from their gods in their needs, 

and as for themselves, they need not be in any 

fear to open the Books of the Sibyls, the 

perusal of which was only forbidden to the 


Further proofs can be adduced in defence of 

the Sibyls from what two illustrious Roman 

historians, both enemies to the Christians, have 

said concerning a very ancient prediction of the 

Sibyls, which was that a person, a native of 

Judea, would make himself the master of the 

Universe. These historians were Tacitus and 

Suetonius. Tacitus ^ says as follows : '' Pluri- 

bus persuasio inerat antiquis, sacerdotum litteris 

contineri, eo ipso tempore fore ut valesceret 

oriens profectique Judaea rerum potirentur." 

Many of the ancients were convinced that the 

writings which w^ere under the guardianship of 

the priests declared that at the same time the 

East would become powerful, and that the people 

* Corn. Tacit. L. ii. circa mesb. 



that came from Judea would become masters of 
all the world. 

Suetonius says the same. '' Percrebuerat 
Oriente toto vetus et constans opinio esse in 
fatis, ut eo tempore Judaea profecti rerum 
poteirentur." An ancient and permanent opinion 
is spread throughout the East, that the Fates^ 
held that then the people coming from Judea 
would render themselves masters of the whole 

It must be here remarked, firstly, that these 
two authors speak of a report which is very 
ancient, widely spread and continuous, and which 
preceded the coming of Jesus Christ, since they 
both wrote about this question twenty-six years 
after each other. 

Secondly, that this report proceeded from a 
prediction of the Sibyls, which Suetonius styles 
the FateSy and Tacitus the writings of the priests^ 
that is to say, the writings which were under the 
care of the priests. 

Thirdly, that this prophecy predicted that the 
people coming from Judea would subject the 
Romans, and would become the lords of all the 
Universe. This report so alarmed Vespasian, 
that he put to death all the Jews who were of 
* Destinies. 


the family of David. Moreover, it is certain that 
this prediction marks the time of the birth of the 
Son of God, and the preaching of His Gospel. 

It is well known that these two authors, and 
Josephus with them, flattered Vespasian in telling 
him that it was to him that this prophecy referred ; 
but it is evident that this prophecy concerns 
solely Our Lord, and that this report had its 
origin not only from the Prophets, but also from 
the Books of the Sibyls, as Tacitus remarks, and 
the Ancient Destinies that Suetonius speaks of. 


who have written concerning the truth of the 
Sibyls are : — 

Saint Clement, Pope. Saint Augustine. 
Athenagoras. Saint Prosper. 

Theophilus of Antioch. Saint John Damascene. 

Saint Justin Martyr. 

Saint Clement of Alex- 
Saint Isidore of Seville. 
Eusebius of Caesarea. 
Saint Optat. 
Saint Jerome. 

St Clement says : — 

''The end of this world will be the Judgment 
by fire against those who have abhorred the 
Divine Religion, as is declared to us by the 
Prophets and Apostles, and even by the prophecies 


Saint Thomas Aquinas. 
Sixtus of Siena. 
Cardinal Baronius. 
Cardinal Bellarmine. 
Saint Ambrose. 
Venerable Bede. 


of the Sibyls,'' as he writes in his Epistle to the 

St Justin Martyr says : — 

"It is easy to comprehend in part, by the 
answers and oracles of the ancient Sibyl, which is 
the true religion, and the teaching of the Prophets "; 
and further, he goes on to give a detailed account 
of this prophetess, her parents, birthplace, and 
the manner of her coming from Babylon to Cumas, 
the spot where she dwelt and which he himself 
had visited. *' We have seen," he says, ''in the 
Town a grand and marvellous monument, a vast 
Edifice built out of one stone, where the natives 
say she spoke her oracles." He adds that in the 
centre of this Temple he was shown three cisterns, 
where she used to have water poured into to wash 
herself, and afterwards putting on a kind of 
Simarre or stole, she would retire to the depths 
of the Sanctuary, and ascending an elevated throne, 
she spoke her prophecies. He takes for his 
authority Plato, concerning the grossness noticed 
in the verses ; then addressing himself to the 
Greeks, says: ''Without again referring to the 
beauty of poetry and the polished language, and 
without allowing yourselves to be carried away by 
the spirit of contradiction, take heed in the depths 
of the discourse, and accept the lights which are 


cast upon us by the clear and lucid predictions 
of the coming of Jesus Christ our Saviour of the 
Word of God, which without being separated 
neither in virtue or power, has taken the nature 
of man primitively formed to the image of his 
Creator, and who has re-established us in the 
innocence of our first parents." 

He quotes an oracle concerning the creation 
of Adam, and concludes in these words : — 

*' Generous children of Grace ! If you do not 
prefer your deceitful imaginations about the gods 
which have no existence, to the salvation of your 
souls, believe, as I have already said, the ancient, 
the antique Sibyl, whose books are fortunately 
preserved throughout the universe. In their 
marvellous and divine inspirations she instructs 
you by her oracles, on the nature of those that 
are called gods, but who do not possess any- 
thing of divinity, and she predicts, under the 
clearest evidence, the future coming of Jesus 
Christ, our Lord, and all the details of His 

These words are very strong, but in his second 
Apologia laid before the Emperor Antonius and 
the two Caesars, his adopted children, his language 
is still more powerful. It is in this writing where 
he deplores with a holy liberty the prohibition 


imposed on the Christians, on pain of forfeiting 
their lives, of reading the Books of the Sibyls, 
the oracles of the Prophets, and the work of a 
Pagan writer called Hydaspes, which no longer 
exists. *'Yes," he says, **it is by the powerful 
efforts of the wicked demons that this interdiction 
has been carried out, in order that, deterred by 
the fear of reading these writings which would 
manifest the knowledge of good, the human race 
may remain for ever the slaves of the malignant 
spirit . . . but these books have nevertheless 
not come to destruction, for not only do we read 
these books fearlessly, but we bring them, as you 
perceive, under your notice, convinced that all 
will read them with pleasure." (Just. Apol. 2.) 

Athenagoras, who lived in the same century, 
far from contradicting Saint Justin, confidently 
produces the same testimonies. (Athen. Apol.) 
He is followed by Theophilus of Antioch, who 
thus refutes the calumniators of the Christian 
religion : ''The Sibyl, the Prophetess of the Gen- 
tiles and of the other nations of the world, at the 
commencement of her predictions, apostrophises 
thus the human race : Mortal men ! bodies of clay, 
vile nothings, how can ye dare to elevate your- 
selves, and why do ye not think of the end of 
the world ? 


*' You do not tremble at the presence of 
a Sovereign God who sustains your being, 
and you do not fear Him who is the witness 
of all your actions." (Theoph. Antiochen ad 

Lactantius amply shows how the Sibyls had 
predicted the birth of Jesus Christ, His preaching, 
miracles, passion, death, His resurrection, ascen- 
sion, and His last coming. And he adds : " Some, 
convinced by the force of these testimonies are in 
the habit of taking refuge in the pretension they 
advance that these verses were not the work of 
the Sibyls, but that they have been imagined as 
composed by our co-religionists. But how are 
we to admit this thought when one has read 
Cicero, Varro, and the rest of the ancient authors 
who mention the Sibyl Erythrea and the other 
Sibyls in works from which we have borrowed 
these examples ? Besides, the authors were dead 
before the birth of Jesus Christ according to the 
flesh. Nevertheless I do not doubt that these 
verses were held in the first ages as extrava- 
gancies ; because no one could understand them, 
in view that they announced miracles which were 
well-nigh incredible, and to which no motive was 
assigned, nor the time, or author." (Lactant. 
De Vera sapient.) 


Clement of Alexandria, he who was so learned 
and enlightened, likewise extols, against the pagans, 
the authority of the Sibyls, who he says were 
given to the Gentiles as the Prophets were given 
to the Jews, to render them equally inexcusable. 
** As God," he says, ''wished to save the Jews by 
giving them Prophets, in the same way He has 
raised up among the Greeks reliable persons, well 
versed in the knowledge of their own language, 
and the fittest to comprehend the goodness of 
God, for the salvation of the Gentiles." Besides 
the preaching of St Peter, the Apostle St Paul 
declares this when he says: "Take also the 
books of the Greeks : see how the Sibyl declares 
the unity of one God, and unveils the future." 
(See Clem. Alex. Strom. I. VI.) 

The great Constantine who, in his quality of 
Emperor, had at his disposition these mysterious 
books — consulted by the tyrant Maximus, as 
referred to by Zosimus, speaks thus in the 
discourse which he addressed to the Fathers in 
the First General Council of Nicea : "Truly 
filled with the divine Breath, this Sibyl (Erythrea) 
predicted in verse that which should happen con- 
cerning the coming of the Son of God, and 
declares clearly the coming of Jesus Christ, by 
the order of the first letter of each line placed in 


the form of an acrostic — Jesus Christ, Son of 
God, Saviour, Cross'' 

He gives directly after the verses of which 
this is a translation : '* At the appearance of the 
sign of Judgment, the earth will become covered 
with mists, and the Eternal King of Ages will be 
seen descending to judge all flesh and the whole 
world. Then the faithful, and the unfaithful, all, 
in that last moment will behold God seated on 
a throne raised above with His Saints, to pro- 
nounce the sentence against the souls of carnal 
men, whilst the waste lands will be seen covered 
by thorns. Men will now reject the Idols and 
riches, a searching fire will consume the earth, 
the heavens, the sea, and even to the very doors 
of the narrow prisons of hell. Then the bodies of 
the Saints released will return to light, but the 
wicked will be burnt by eternal flames. Each 
will have to reveal his faults, even those committed 
in secret, because the divine torch will dissipate 
the darkness of their hearts. On all sides will be 
heard sobs and gnashing of teeth. The brilliant 
light of the sun and of the starry planets will be 
eclipsed. The heavens will be rolled away and 
the moon will lose her splendour ; the valleys 
will be raised up and the mountains will lower 
the heights of their summits. Every steep height 


will disappear from the midst of men. Every 
hill and plain will be levelled. The ships which 
cut the waves of the sea, the earth scorched by 
the lightning, will be seen dried up amid the once 
bubbling streams and running torrents. The 
celestial trumpet will make itself heard resound- 
ing in sad tones, to weep over the crimes of the 
wicked, and the sorrows of the world. The earth 
rent asunder will reveal the abysses of the 
Tartarus. The Kings themselves will come to 
the throne of God. Torrents of fire and of 
sulphur will pour down from the heights of the 
heavens. Now the Cross will be for all mortals a 
sign, a distinctive seal, the cherished aureole of 
the faithful, the life of the Saints, the scandal of 
the world, the salutary bath where the elect 
washed in twelve fountains will receive the light, 
the staff to lead, and the iron rod which chastens. 
And this King whose Name is traced in the 
initial letters of these verses is our God, our 
Eternal Saviour, our King, who delivered Him- 
self to death for our sakes." 

After having recounted these Sibylline Oracles 
the Emperor replies to the doubts of the Pagans 
in these words: "There are unbelievers who 
place no faith in these predictions although they 
acknowledge in the Sibyl Erithrea the gift of 


prophecy. They even suspect some writer, no 
less attached to our worship than given to poetry, 
of having composed these acrostics, of having 
supposed them, and then proclaimed them as the 
revelations of the Sibyls. But it is a fact that 
these predictions are true, since our Doctors have 
reckoned the time with such attentive exactitude, 
that it is impossible to suspect that this poem 
was composed after the coming and the condemna- 
tion of Jesus Christ, hence no one can maintain 
that these verses were not written long before by 
the Sibyl, without incurring the suspicion that he 
is manifestly convinced of falsehood." 

St Augustine, the great Doctor of the Church, 
has treated upon the Sibyls in his erudite and 
learned work, the twenty-two Books of The City 
of God, which he composed with the object of 
destroying Judaism and Idolatry, and of 
establishing the truths of our holy Religion. He 
has thoroughly examined the subject, as he well 
knew the doubts which were cast on the truth of 
these oracles, for he lived in the first ages of 
the Church, and not far removed from the time 
when unbelievers wished to say that these 
Sibylline Oracles were inventions of the Christians. 
He acknowledges, as we do, that the oracles of 
the Sibyls were as trustworthy and true, as they 


were favourable to our religion. This is what he 
says of the Sibyl Erithrea in his master-work 
Civitate Dei (i8th book, chap. 23): ''On the 
Sibyl Erithrea, well known among all the other 
Sibyls for prophecies which are the clearest con- 
cerning Jesus Christy 

"■ Many historians hold that it was about this 
time that the Sibyl Erithrea appeared " (St 
Augustin is speaking of the time when Osee held 
the sceptre of Israel). " It is well known that 
there are many Sibyls, according to Varro. This 
one has given us concerning Jesus Christ very 
clear predictions which we have read in verses of 
such bad Latin that they can hardly hold together, 
the work evidently of some clumsy translator as 
we learnt afterwards. The Pro-Consul Flaccianus, 
a man eminent for the breadth of his knowledge 
and learning, and the gift of eloquence, one day 
that we were communing together upon Jesus 
Christ, showed us the Greek text from which it 
had been so badly translated. Moreover he made 
us at the same time notice a certain passage 
where, on joining together the initial letters of 
each verse, was formed these mottoes, viz., Jesus 
Christ, Son of God, Saviour'' Saint Augustine 
then gives the sense of these verses after a better 
Latin translation, which is the same as the above 


poem which the Emperor Constantine pronounced 
in his discourse at the Nicean Council. 

Then the Saint adds: '* These passages 
comprehend in Greek twenty-seven verses, a 
number which composes the cube foot of three. 
Add to this, that if we join together the first 
letters of these five Greek mots, which we have 
said signifies Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour, 
we shall find Ichthus, which means in Greek fish, 
a mystical name of the Saviour, because He alone 
was able to continue living, that is to say, exempt 
from sin, in the midst of the Abysm of our 
mortality, which is similar to the depths of the 

" Moreover, that this poem, from which I 
have only quoted some verses, was of the Sibyl 
Erithrea, or of that of Cumae (for on this point 
there is no accord), it is nevertheless certain that 
it contains nothing to favour the worship of the 
false gods ; on the contrary, in certain passages 
it speaks so strongly against them and against 
their worshippers, that it appears to me that this 
Sibyl may well be placed among the members of 
the City of God. Lactantius has also inserted 
in his works some of the predictions of a 
Sibyl (without saying which) concerning Jesus 
Christ, and her testimonies, which are found 


dispersed in various parts of his book {Lactan. 
Instit. lib. IV. caps. i8 and 19), have seemed to 
me worthy of being gathered together here, and 
are as follows : — 

'''He will fall,' says the Sibyl, 'into the 
hands of the wicked, who will give Him blows, 
and will spit on His face. On His part, He will 
present unresistingly His innocent shoulders 
to be scourged, and will allow Himself to be 
buffeted without uttering a word, in order that 
no one should know the Word He is, nor from 
whence He comes to speak to hell and to be 
crowned with thorns. The barbarians, as a 
welcome, have given Him gall to eat and vinegar 
to drink. Thou hast not known thy God, oh 
senseless nation ! Thy God who laughs at the 
wisdom of men ! Thou hast crowned Him with 
thorns, and fed Him with gall. The veil of the 
Temple will be rent, and there will come over 
great darkness in broad day for three hours. 
He will die and fall asleep for three days. Then 
He will return to light, and will manifest to the 
elect the first fruits of the resurrection.'" These 
are the Sibylline texts which Lactantius gives an 
account of in various parts of his works, and 
which we have collected together. Some authors 
assure us that the Sibyl Erithrea did not live 


during the epoch of Romulus, but during that of 
the war of Troy. 

The same doctor in the exposition of the 
Epistle to the Romans, which he acknowledges 
to be his work, in the first book of his Retracta- 
tions, cap. 25, explaining the words of the 
Apostle — *' Segregatus in Evangelium Dei quod 
ante promiserat per Prophetas^ — Separated to 
preach the Gospel of God, which He had formerly 
promised by His Prophets" — says: "It is with 
good reason that the Apostle calls the Prophets 
of Judea the Prophets of God, because there had 
been also prophets who were not theirs, but in 
whom are found certain things which they have 
learnt and predicted of Jesus Christ : such as 
that which is said of the Sibyl." 

He then at once produces the famous verses 
of Virgil : — 

" Ultima Cu77icei venit jam carminis cetas. 
Behold the last age predicted by the Cumea, has 
come." Then he adds : *' Cttmceum autem carmen, 
Sibyllinu77i esse nemo dubitaverit. Let no one 
doubt that the verses of the Cumana are not the 
verses of the Sibyl." 

Simeon Metaphrastes, in his life of Saint 
Catherine, relates, *' that the wise, holy woman 
"^ Rom. i. 2. 


disputed against fifty of the most learned 
Philosophers and Orators of her time, in presence 
of the Emperor Maxentius, and on his representing 
to her that the religion she professed was new 
and unheard of, she produced at once all the 
testimonies of the Sibyls, and advanced them so 
forcibly that she converted them, becoming 
Christians and martyrs like herself." 

St Jerome, who was deeply versed in science 
and in the study of ancient works, acknowledges 
ten Sibyls, and believed them to be virgins, and 
that the gift of prophecy was given to them as a 
reward for their virginity. He fixes the epoch of 
the existence of Erithrea in the reign of Romulus, 
and Samia in that of Numa and Tullus Hostilius. 
(Hieron. adv. Jovin. i lib. i cap.) ''Quid 
referam Sibyllas ErythrcBam atque^ et octo 
reliquas, nam Varro decent fuisse auturnat, 
quarum insigne virginitas, et virginitatis prcemium 
divinatio, . . . Recte concilium Dei sola scribitur 
nosse virginitas'' 

It appears that the Sibyls wrote, according 
to the general opinion, eight books, and the 
greater number of the Sibylline verses quoted by 
the Fathers of the Church are found within these 
eight poems, yet there are others collected by 
Lactantius which are not related. Perhaps the 



collectors do not know them, as we well know 
how little in our day these books are distributed. 
Among these, however, it appears that there are 
but three which contain an insight into the future, 
and which bear an application to the Passion 
of our Saviour. The Sibyls spoke on the Unity 
of one God, and the coming of His Son into the 
World ; but above all, the Passion, Death, and 
Resurrection, since these predictions are related 
to us by the holy Fathers in the same manner as 
we read these prophecies in our books, and they 
are conformable with those of the Pagan writers 
who wrote concerning the Sibyls before the birth 
of our Lord. 

I will conclude this little book in the words 
which St John employs when he finished his 
Gospel : '' Hcbc autem scripta sunt ut credatis, quia 
Jesus est Christus Filius Dei, et ut credentes 
vitam habeatis in nomine ejus.'' ^ But these are 
written that you may believe that Jesus is the 
Christ, the Son of God ; and that, believing, you 
may have life in His name. 

All men who do not believe that Jesus Christ 

is God, will not be excused on the Day of 

Judgment — the Jews, because they have the 

testimony of the Prophets — the Gentiles, because 

"*" John XX. 31. 


they had the testimonies of the Sibyls — and above 
all these, the wicked, unbelieving Christians, 
because they have the testimonies of both 
Prophets and Sibyls. 

The testimony of the Sibyls should convince 
all reasoning spirits of the truth of our holy 
religion ; because they spoke of Jesus Christ 
many ages before His birth, as is proved by the 
testimonies and writings of authors both sacred 
and pagan, and this the Sibyls could not have 
foretold but by Divine revelation. 

For this reason, on the Day of Judgment 
these very Pagans will rise up to condemn those 
who, giving faith to many historians — that is to 
say, to authors of no authority and no religion — 
have refused to believe their oracles, which were 
dictated from Heaven, and confirmed point by 
point the history of our holy Gospels. 

But we have, speaking with the Prince of the 
Apostles, a testimony still more certain than the 
testimonies of the Sibyls — that is, those of the 
Prophets who announced to us the coming of our 
Saviour, and who distinctly informed us of His 
name. His rank, the time of His coming into 
the world, the place of His birth, the gifts which 
the wise Kings would bring Him, His entrance 
into Jerusalem, His Passion, Death, and Resur- 


rection, the establishment of His Church, and 
the Eternity — all this predicted thousands of 
years before He came into the world. 

We have, moreover all this, the testimonies of 
the Apostles and the Evangelists, who suffered 
terrible torments and a cruel death for the 
defence of the truths they preached — which they 
would not have endured had they not been well 
convinced and assured that He had returned 
from death to life, and that He had ascended into 

Lastly, we have the miracles worked by Jesus 
Christ, and later on by His disciples, to attest 
His Divinity ; because there is none but God who 
can change the order of nature, for it is incontest- 
able that He raised the dead, and performed 
many other miracles to convince men that He 
was the true Son of God, equal to His Father. 
And can we put forward a greater miracle than 
that of the conversion of the world by twelve 
poor fishermen ? 

Hence St Augustine says : — " He who after all 
these prodigies worked to convince him, demands 
still more prodigies, is himself a prodigy of 
obstinacy and infidelity." 

Let us say with the great Apostle: '' Et 
manifeste magnuTn est pietatis Sacramentum^ quod 


manifestatum est incerne, justificatum est in 
Spiritum, apparuit Angelis, prcedicatum est 
gentibuSy creditum est in mundo, assumptum est 
in gloria!'"^ And evidently great is the mystery 
of godliness, which was manifested in the flesh, 
was justified In the spirit, appeared unto angels, 
hath been preached unto the Gentiles, is believed 
in the world, is taken up in glory. 

" Si non suis vatibus 
Credat vel gentibus 
Sibyllinis versibus 
Haec predicta." 

(Prose for Christmas.) 

The original Sibylline Books were destroyed 
in the burning of the Capitol during the Dictator- 
ship of Sylla, eighty-three years before the birth 
of Christ. In order to repair this loss the Senate 
ordered that a search should be made in Samos, 
Troy, and Erithrea, in many other cities of Italy, 
Greece, and Asia, and all that could be found of 
the Sibylline verses should be collected together. 
The natural result of this search for fragments was 
that many spurious ones were put together with 
the true ones, and the Sibylline Books, it appears, 
fell into discredit. The second collection was 

"^ I Tim, iii. i6. 


burnt by Stilicon, General of the Emperor 
Arcadius, in 399. 

We have in our days a collection of Greek 
verses under the title of Sibylline Oracles, which 
not only predict in minute detail the destinies of 
Rome, but even the principal events of the life 
of Christ. For a long time it has been the 
fashion to cry down these works, and these 
fragments have been regarded and quoted as 
merely the productions of a pious fraud worked 
by the Christians in favour of their religion. 
This unjust judgment has been altered and 
refuted by the aid of modern criticism. It is 
now generally agreed upon of these predictions 
given by the Sibyls, that they are of importance 
as regards the history of ancient peoples, and the 
fundamental truths of the Christian religion. It 
is impossible to doubt them, not only on account 
of the famous eclogue of Virgil, but when one 
has read Cicero, Varro, and other ancient authors, 
who speak of the Sibyl Erithrea and various 
prophetesses, we all must indeed acknowledge 
what these books are, really an ineffable monu- 
ment of the prophetic spirit which agitated the 

It suffices to add that the Catholic Church 
has admitted these women as worthy of being 


respected, since she mentions them in the 
prose for the dead, and in the hymn for Christmas. 
Moreover on the walls of the renowned Cathedral 
of Amiens, there are still to be seen, although 
much obliterated, the representation of eight of 
the Sibyls, with verses beneath each figure ; and 
also in the Church of Loretto, and in the library 
of the Vatican at Rome are seen mural decorations 
of the Sibyls. 


Sibylla Persica 

Of the date of her birth and death we have no 


" Earn tamen aurea veste indutam et candido 
Velo coopertum necessisse legimus." 

Que de Christo haec prsenunciavit : panibus 

simul quinque et duobus piscibus hominum milia 

in heremo quinque satiabit, et reliquas tollens 

duodecim cophinos implevit in spem multorum. 

Alio quoque in loco, sic ait. Ecce bestia concul- 

caberis et gignetur dominus in or be terrarum : ^ 

et gremium virginis erit salus gentium : et pedes 

ejus invalitudine hominum et invisibile verbum 

palpabitur. Hujus Sibylle mentionem facit Nica- 

nor : qui restas Alexandri Macedonis sculpsit. 

" Virgine matre satus ; pando residebit asello, 
Jucundus princeps, unus qui ferre salutem 
Rite queat lapsis : tamen illis forte diebus 

* Motto scroll. 


Multi multa fereiit immensi fata laboris. 
Solo sed satis est oracula provere verbo : 
lUe Deus casta nascetur virgine magnus." 

Sibylla Libica 

Quo tempore floruerit non satis constat : earn 
tamen haud multum juvenem vaticinatam fuisse 
legimus — Ornata serto viridi ex floribus in capite, 
vestita palio honesto. Ita de Christo suum vati- 
cinium protulit dicens. Ecce veniet dies ; et 
illuminabit Dominus condensa tenebrarum ; et 
nexus synagoge solvetur ; et desinent labia homi- 
num cum viderint regem viventium et tenebit ille 
in gremio virgo domina gentium. Et regnabit in 
misericordia : et uterus matris ejus erit statera 
cunctorum, inde in manus iniquas veniet et 
dabunt Deo alapas manibus incertis miserabilis et 
ignominiosus erit miserabilibusque spem prehebit. 

Hujus Sibylle meminit Euripides in lamie 

" Ecce dies venient, quo aeternus tempore princeps, 
Irradians sata laeta, viris sua crimina toilet, 
Lumine clarescet cujus Synagoga recenti: 
Sordida qui solus reserabit labra reorum, 
Aequus erit cunctis, gremio rex membra reclinet 
Regina mundi, sanctus per saecula vivus." 

Sibylla Delphica 
Sibylla Delphica vates insignissim.a in templo 


Delphici Apollinis nata et ante Trojana bella 

She described by prophecy all the (serlem) 
incidents of the life of the Divine Word — His 
miracles, betrayal, capture, and ill treatment ; — 
moreover wrote very lucidly of His Resurrection 
and Ascension. 

Unde ferent eam hsec pauca dixisse, ipsum 

suum cognosce Dominum, qui vere Dei Filius 

est, et Alibi nascetur propheta, absque maris 

coitu, et virgine ejus. 

*' Non tarde, veniet, tacita sed mente tenendum 
Hoc opus, hoc memori semper qui corde reponet, 
Hujus pertentant cor gaudia magna prophetse 
Exemii, qui virginae conceptus ab alvo 
Prodibit, sine contactu maris, omnia vincit. 
Hoc naturae opera : at fecit, qui cuncta gubernat." 

Sibylla Cimmeria — Chimicha 

Sibylla Cimmeria in Italia nata alias Lhimica 

vestita celestina veste deaurata capillis per 

scapulas sparsis : et juvenis (de Gennius.) sic ait : 

In pria facie virginis ascendit puella pulchra 

facie prolixa capillis : sedens super sedem stratam : 

nutrit puerum dans ei ad comedendum ejus 

proprium : id est : lac de ccelo missum. 

'' In teneris annis facie praesignis, honore 
Militiae aeternae regem sacra virgo cibabit. 
Lacte suo : per quem gaudebunt pectore summo. 


Omnia, et esse lucebit sidus ab orbe 
Mirificum : sua dona Magicum laude ferentes, 
Objicient puero myrrham, aurum, Thura Sabaea." 

Sibylla Samia 

A Samo insula : nudem enseno sub pedibus 
formosum pectus subtileq : velus in capite habens, 
sic ait : Ecce veniet dives nascetur de pauper- 
cula, et bestise terrarum adorabunt eum et dicent 
Laudate eum in atris coelorum. 

De hac scripsit Erastosthenes in antiquis 
annalibus samorum reperisse scripturi. 

" Ecce dies, nigras quae toilet Iseta tenebras, 
Mox veniet, solvens nodosa volumina vatum 
Gentis Judaea, referent ut carmina plebis. 
Hunc poterunt clarum vivorum tangere regem, 
Humano quem virgo sinu inviolata fovebit. 
Annurit hoc ccelum, rutilantia sidera monstrant." 

Sibylla Cumana"^ 
Fuit tempore Tarquinii Prisci et de Christo 
teste Virgilio : sic ait : Ultima Cumaei venit jam 
carminis setas : Virg. IV. Eel. Magnus ab 
integro saeclorum nascitur ordo. Jam redit et 
virgo redeunt Saturnia regna. Jam nova 
progenies ccelo dimittitur alto. In modo nascetur 

* Some say it was this Sibyl who brought the nine 
books, or as others say three Sibylline Books, to Tarquinius 


pueri : qui ferrea primum definet, et toto surges 
gens aurea mundo. 

" Jam mea certa manent, et vera, novissima verba, 
Ultima venturi quod erant oracula regis, 
Qui toti veniens mundo cum pace placebit, 
Ut voluit, nostra vestitus carne decenter, 
In cunctis humilis, castam pro matre puellam 
Deliget, haec alias forma prsecesserit omnes." 

Sibylla Hellespontica 

In agro Trojano vico marinesso circa oppidum 
Gergithium nata. Vetula et antiqua veste 
rurali induta, ligato velo antique capite sub gula 
circumvoluta usque ad scapulas quasi despecta 
quam scribit Heraclides dixisse : De excelsis 
caelos habitaculo prospexit Deus humiles suos. 
Et nascetur in diebus novissimis de Virgine 
Hebrae, in cunabulis terrae. 

'' Dum meditor quondam, vidi decorare puellam, 
Eximio (castam quod se servaret) honore, 
Munera digna suo, et divino numine visa. 
Quae sobolem multo pareret splendore micantem : 
Progenies summi, speciosa et vera Tonantis, 
Pacifica mundum qui sub ditione gubernet." 

Sibylla Phrygia 

Induta veste rubea, nudis brachiis, antiqua 
saturnina facie crinibus sparsis, digito indicans, 
sic dixit : Flagellabit Deus potentis terrae et 


Olympo excelsus veniet et firmabitur consilium in 
coelo. Annunciabitur virgo in vallibus deser- 

" Ipsa Deum vidi summum, punire volentem 
Mundi homines stupidos, et pectore coeca, rebelles. 
Et quia sic nostram complerent crimina pellem, 
Virginis in corpore voluit demittere coelo 
Ipse Deus prolem, quam nunciet Angelus Almae 
Matri, quo miseros contracta sorde levaret." 

Sibylla Europea 

Decora Juvenis, facie rutilans, velo subtilis- 
simo capite legato, induta veste aurea : de Christo 
sic ait : Veniet ilie et transibit montes, et colles 
et latices silvarum Olympi, regnabit in pauper- 
tate, et dominabitur in silentio et egredietur de 
utero Virginis. 

" Virginis seternum veniet de Corpore verbum 
Purum, qui valles et montes transiet altus. 
Ille volens etiam stellato missus Olympo, 
Edetur mundo pauper, qui cuncta silentis 
Rex erit imperio : sic credo, et mente fatebor : 
Humano simul ac divino semine natus." 

Sibylla Tiburtina 

Nomine Albanea, non multum senex, veste 
rubea induta desuper ad collus pellem hirciniam 
scapulas habens capillis discopertes cujus 


simulacrum tenebat librum in quo scriptum 
erat : Nascitur Christus in Bethlehem et annunci- 
abitur in Nazareth. Regnete thauro pacifico 
fundatore quietis. O felix ilia mater cujus ubera 
ilium lactabunt. 

" Verax ipse Deus dedit haec mihi munia fandi, 
Carmine quod sanctum potui monstrare puellam, 
Concipiet quae Nazareis in finibus, ilium 
Quem sub carne Deum Bethlemica rura videbunt. 
O nimium felix, coelo dignissima mater, 
Quae tantam sacro lactabit ab ubere prolem." 

Sibylla Agrippa 

Rosea veste cum clamide rosea, non multum 
juvenis manum tenens in gremio quasi admirans 
et deorsum respiciens, sic ait de Christo, Invisi- 
bile verbum palpabitur et germinabit ut radix et 
siccabitur ut folium, et non apparebit venustas 
ejus, et circum dabitur Alnus materna et flebit 
Deus leticia sempiterna et ab hominibus concul- 
cabitur, et nascetur ex matre ut Deus, et 
conversabitur ut peccator. 

" Summus erit sub carne sortus, charissimus atque, 
Virgine et verae complebit viscera sanctum 
Verbum, concilio, sine noxa spiritus almi : 
Despectus multis tamen ille, salutis amore, 
Arguet, et nostra commissa piacula culpa : 
Cujus honos constans, et gloria certa manebit.'^ 


Sibylla nobilissima Erithrea"^ 

In Babylonia orta, de Christo sic ait : In 
ultima autem aetate humiliabitur Deus, et 
humanabitur proles divina junget in humanitati 
divinitas, Jacebit in feno agnus, et officio puellari 
educabitur Deus et homo. Signa precedent apud 
appellas. Mulier vetustissima puerum prestius 
concipiet. Boetis orbis mirabitus et ducatum 
praestabit ad ortum. 

" Cerno Dei natus, qui se demisit ab Alto, 
Ultima felices referent cum tempora soles : 
Hebraea quern virgo feret de stirpe decora, 
In terris multum teneris passurus ab annis, 
Magnus erit tamen hie divino carmine vates, 
Virgine matre satus, prudenti pectore verax." 

Maxima Biblia Veterum Patrum (464), Tom. II. 

Nine books of Sibylline Oracles offered to 
Tarquinius. Three destroyed ; offered the rest 
at same price. Not being able to obtain the 
price, burnt the half, and offered the same at 
same price for remaining three. 

Tarquinius consulted the augurs, who ordered 
as much money as the woman asked to be given. 

The woman advised the most careful keeping 
of the books, and disappeared. 

* Because Erithrea was more noble and celebrated than 
all the rest. St Aug. de civ. Dei XVIII. cap. XXIII. 


Tarqulnius chose two of the most illustrious 
citizens, to whom he entrusted the keeping of the 

On the expulsion of the Kings the Sibylline 
books fell to the care of the State : where- 
upon they were handed over to the careful keeping 
of some of the most illustrious citizens, who held 
the office for life and were exempt from all 
service, military or civil. 

The Romans held these books in the greatest 
regard, and kept them with great reverence 
and care. They consulted them upon every 
emergency of State difficulty. 

These books remained whole and safe and in 
the Bellum Marcicium in cella subterranea, inclusi 
arce lapidae, asservati a decern viri. 

At last burnt either by design or chance, 
Cremato Capitolio, 671. Those which now exist 
are collected from divers places ; part were 
collected from Italian cities, part from Erithris 
Asiae by the S.C. legates sent to transcribe them ; 
and lastly, a part was collected from private 

Sequor autem hie Terentii Varronis auctori- 
tate qui ista prodidit in libris rerum divinum. 
Idem lib. I. 


Sibyllarum de Christo vaticinia, cum appro- 
priatis singularum figuris. 

Varia Judeorum et gentilium de Christo 

De captione Domini. 
In manus iniquas infidelium postea veniet. 

De alaphisatione. 
Et dabunt Deo alapas manibus incertis. 

De consptitione. 
Et impurato ore expuent veneratos sputus. 

De verberatione dor si. 

Dabit vero ad verbera simpliciter dorsum 
De colaphisatione ; et obnuntes centia. 
Et colophos accipiens tacebit ; ne quis agnoscat 
Quo verbum vel unde venit ; ut inferis loquatur. 

De coronatione spinea. 
Et corona spinea coronetur. 

De fellis et aceti potatione. 

Ad cibum autem fel : et ad sitim acetum dederunt. 
Inhospitalitatis banc monstrabunt mensam. 

De verbo Christi ''''Nesciunt quid faciunt. " 

Ipsa enim insipiens gens dum Deum tuum non intellexisti. 

Juventem mortalium mentibus. 

Iterum de coronatione et fellis potu. 

Sed et spinis coronasti et horridum fel miscuisti. 



De velo Templi ascisso. 
Templi vero velum scindetur. 

De triuni horarum tenebris. 
Et medio die nox erit tenebrosa nimis in tribus horis. 

De morte Christi tridiiana. 
Et morte morietur tribus diebus somno suscepto. 

De Resurrectione et reditu ab inferz's. 

Et tunc ab inferis regressus : ad lucem veniet. 
Primus resurrectionis principio revocatus ostenso. 
Unde praecedentia vaticinia beatus Augustinus desumpserit. 

Cap. XX. 

Non nulli sane Erithream Sibyllam non 
Romuli sed belli Trojani tempore fuisse scriptum 
erunt. / 


First Book 

The collection of Sibylline verses is prefaced 
by a long poem or fragment preserved by 
Theophilus of Antioch, which, however, bears no 
relation to the rest of the work. It treats of the 
unity of God, the grandeur of His works, and 
the worthlessness of idols. 

In this composition we are constantly re- 
minded of the Book of Psalms, and the latter 
portion of the prophecy of Isaias from the forty- 
first chapter ; Idolatry, Zoolatry, and particularly 
Ophiolatry, were in all their power, when this 
piece of poetry, grave and majestic, was com- 
posed. It may equally be attributed to a Jew or 
to a Christian. We think that it could be justly 
attributed to a Jew, as it seems to be directed 
against the mystery of the Incarnation, or at 
least it may easily be interpreted in that sense. 



After this preamble, which may never- 
theless serve as a preface, the First Book 
commences, similarly to all Epic or Didactic 
poemxS, by a short exposition and invocation. 
Then the author enters into the subject-matter 
by the narrative of the Creation of the World 
according to Genesis. Nothing is wanting, 
neither the Fiat Lux, nor the distinct work of 
the Six Days, nor the creation of man and 
woman, the terrestial paradise, the innocence, 
the temptation by the serpent, the clothing of 
fig-leaves, the crescite et multiplicamini, the 
invention of the Arts, the corruption of the 
human race. The author divides the Ante- 
diluvian period into five ages, then traces the 
history of the Deluge with the same details as 
Moses, and often uses the same terms. 

But now the cabalist appears : it proposes 
the name of God in a cabalistic enigma of 
deepest wisdom, after having at once recalled 
the previous Ego sum qui sum, which was not 
to be pronounced until fifteen ages later on 
Mount Horeb. We shall find in this book many 
other anachronisms of this kind. 

Noah preached a sermon to the people of his 
time, yet did not convert them : he goes into the 
Ark with the animals : the cataracts of the 


heavens and the fountains of the deep are opened, 
and the waters raise the Ark, and all things 
perish. At the end of the Deluge Noah sends 
out a dove, then the raven, which returned not. 
The earth is uncovered : the Ark stops on the 
heights of Ararat in Phrygia, and not in 
Armenia : the rainbow is seen amid the clouds : 
the pact is concluded. The Titans are born, and 
they wage war against heaven. 

The Almighty will engulph them beneath the 
waves of the sea : a portion of the Universe will 
be submerged anew, but the human race will not 
perish in the second deluge. 

After this reminiscence of the Deluge of 
Deucalion, the author passes without any other 
transition to the Messiah, the repairer of sin. 
She designates his name of Jesus by the value of 
the letters which compose it, writing in letters 
the surname of Christ ; speaks of the adoration of 
the wise men, indicates the three presents they 
would bring the new-born child ; designates the 
precursor in the same terms as Isaias, mentions 
his decollation by Herod, and the dancing talents 
of Herodias, of which the head of John the 
Baptist became the price. She recounts the flight 
of the Saviour into Egypt, names nearly all His 
miracles, and terminates by a detailed recital of 


His Passion. Such is the analysis of the first 
canto, a book which contains some four hundred 

Second Book 

From the commencement of the Second 
Book the author is raised up enthusiastically to 
speak in some verses of the divinity which weighs 
her down, and which compels her to prophecy. 
Then she announces in redundant language a 
multitude of evils which will come upon hapless 
humanity, and which will last for a thousand 
years. Never has such a collection of sorrows 
and calamities been seen. Rome, which is placed 
on seven hills, will tremble ; the Universe will 
become depopulated ; and scarcely will human 
vestiges appear here and there on the earth. 

But the human race will not perish : its evils 
will only be a prelude to the happy reign of the 
Messias, of whom will appear the glorious sign 
in the firmament. The Poet here describes the 
temporal happiness of this reign promised by the 
millenarians. But this happy reign will come to 
an end : the human race will return to its crimes 
and to its evils. Then Antichrist will appear, 
and he will accomplish the signs and prodigies 
even to the point of seducing even the elect, if it 
were possible. 


" Surgent enim pseudo-christi, et pseudo- 
prophetse : et dabant signa magna, et prodigia ita 
ut errorem inducantur, si fieri potest etiam 
electi.""^ He will gather together the twelve 
tribes of Israel which are dispersed throughout 
the Universe, as they were by the sword of the 
Assyrians, and He will found a new kingdom, but 
of short duration. Then blessed will be the 
servants whom the Lord zvill find watching. Let 
no one slumber, because no one will know if He 
will come in the night or in the noonday. Beati 
servi illi, quos cum venerit Dominus invenirit 
vigilantes, t 

Vigilate ergo, nescitis enim quando dominus 
domus veniat : sero, an media nocte, an galli cantu, 
an m.ane. % 

Soon after will appear Elias. Then will the 
sorrows be so great, that never will the like have 
been seen since the commencement of the world : 
alas for the Universe, alas for the women who are 
great with child and suckle. 

To these reminiscences of the Gospel suc- 
ceeds a picture of the destruction of the World, 
similar in every way to the prophecies of the 
New Testament. 

After this follows another tableau in which 
* Matt. xxiv. 24. t Luke xii. 37. \ Mark xiii. 35. 


are designated every imaginable crime, such as 
they will appear before the supreme Judge, and 
in opposition, the happiness reserved to virtue. 

This second canto terminates by a detached 
piece, in which the Sibyl speaks of the Unity of 
God, the creation, and in particular the creation 
of man, the inanity of Idols, of avarice : of the 
birth of Christ after the conquest of Egypt by 
the Romans ; and, in a word, of the evils she will 
announce in a more detailed manner in the 
succeeding book. 

Third Book 

The Third Book, which is much longer than 
the preceding ones, is composed of a large 
number of detached pieces, many of which have 
neither beginning or end. In it is found all sorts 
of things except chronology and a logical order. 
The Sibyl begins in this way: ** After the reign 
of the Caesars, and during the course of years, 
will come the reign of Bellas (no doubt the Anti- 
christ) who will overturn the summits of the 
mountains, will dry up the waters, put out the 
light of the sun, and of the moon, and of 
stars, and will work many other miracles before 
the eyes of the astounded mortals ; but these will 
h^ false miracles. 


*' But Bellas will fall, his domination will last 
but a time : after him, will be established the 
reign of a woman, a widow, who will take gold 
and silver, precious metals, and the wealth of the 
world, and will fling them into the sea. Then 
the heavens will be rolled away like a book, the 
elements will be mingled together, and the world 
will be ended." 

However, let us return to the Tower of Babel, 
which the children of Noah raised up on the 
plains of Assyria. From Babel came the name 
of Babylon, the most ancient empire of the 
world. This was to be the tenth age of the world, 
during which will reign Saturn, Titan, and 
Japhet, born from the union of heaven and earth. 
Here the author recounts to her readers all the 
history, if true, of the misfortunes of Saturn, of 
his divine lignee, the frauds of Rhea, of the war 
of Titan, and the division of the world among 
Jupiter, Neptune, and Pluto. 

Following this, but long after these events, 
will rise the empires of Egypt, of Persia, of 
Medea, Ethiopia, Assyria, Macedonia, the second 
empire of Egypt, and, indeed, the Roman 
Empire. It was now that the Sibyl felt herself 
divinely inspired to reveal to mortals the destinies 
of the world. Let it be known now what the 


future bears upon it, the kingdom of Solomon, 
which will comprise Phoenicia, Asia, Persia, 
Phrygia, Pamphilia, Carie, Mysie, and Lybia. 
After this will rise the empire of Greece, after 
which that of Macedonia, and indeed a great 
empire without a name, which our commentators 
take to be the Roman Empire, and which 
resembles more that of the Seleucides than the 
Christian Empire. Then a long narrative of all 
the evils which the pagan world is menaced with, 
or that had been accomplished in parts ; then a 
detailed account of all the temporal felicities 
which the Christian Church is destined to spread 
over the world. 

Fourth Book 

The Fourth Book contains almost as many 
moral precepts as history, meanwhile it prophe- 
sies anew the empire of Assyria, of Media and 
Persia, the ruin of Egypt, and the invasion 
of Greece by Xerxes. It predicts the first 
eruption of Vesuvius, and the destruction of 
Pompeii ; the conquests of Alexander, those of 
the Roman Republic, the furies of Nero, the 
conquest of Judea by Titus, the great wars 
of the Romans in Asia, and the end of the 


Fifth Book 

After speaking of Alexander and the ruin of 
Troy, the author, from the commencement of the 
Fifth Book, traces the history of the Roman 
Empire from Augustus to Adrian, describing 
each by the cabalistic estimate of its name. 

After this she calls herself sister of I sis, and 
starts from that to renew with all its bitterness, 
her doleful prediction against Egypt and its 
idolatry ; and then she makes an excursion 
through Asia and Africa, describing in detail the 
events already accomplished, and glances into 
the future. She allows herself one prediction 
which the future has not justified : Rome is to 
be razed to the ground, and will be made for ever 

Sixth Book 

The sixth canto is composed of only a few 
verses, containing the narrative of many circum- 
stances of the Passion of Christ and the ruin of 

Seventh Book 

The seventh contains a fresh excursion 
through the world and across ages. The author 
guesses from the past, but cannot do likewise of 


the future ; for example, Gaul is to be covered by 
sands as arid as are those of the deserts of 
Lybia, which will never produce a blade of grass 
or an ear of corn. It concludes with a descrip- 
tion of the temporal joy which Christianity 
promises to the world, and by a public confession 
of the Sibyl, who asks that she be stoned in 
expiation of her crime. If the confession be a 
true one, the stoning she demands is well 
deserved. The object of the author appears to 
be to render the Sibyls despicable in the eyes of 
even the pagans themselves, and makes use of all 
her pretended oracles in order to strengthen the 
truths of Christianity. It would be indeed an 
important question whether this object was 
attained, and if her works found any response. 

Eighth Book 

The last canto is one of the longest, the fullest, 
and the best arranged. After reviewing the 
history of the human race at the time of building 
the Tower of Babel, the author depicts in some 
beautiful verses the greatness of Rome and its 
insatiable cupidity. She then predicts for it a 
complete ruin in punishment of its crimes, and in 
particular for its idolatry. It depicts the reign 
of Adrian, of Tiberius, of Nero ; the parsimony 


of the second, and the prodigalities of the latter. 
She arranges the tyrants and sinners before the 
tribunal of God, addressing a long vehement 
apostrophe to the haughty and cruel mistress of 
the human race, whose power will be reduced to 
nought before the vengeful arm of the Most 
High. The verses are arranged in the form of 
prophecies, the events accomplished after two 
centuries by the Roman armies in Europe and 
Asia. The Sibyl takes a pleasure above all in 
describing the ruin of Rome, which it has seen 
in vision or desire, placing its ruin 948 years 
after its foundation. It is only at this price that 
Christianity will be able to implant itself on the 
world. The year 948 of Rome falls on the 195th 
of the Christian era, an epoch of military 
anarchy, during which Rome was no doubt, in 
various senses, riddled by different factions, but 
during which its existence was never imperilled. 

The canto terminates by general considera- 
tions on the true religion and on idolatry, but 
this part of the book is specially distinguished by 
a long detailed narrative of the life of Jesus 
Christ, King of Ages, from the Annunciation 
made by the Angel Gabriel, to His Ascension 
into heaven. The principal circumstances of 
His miracles, Passion, and Resurrection, are 


found minutely detailed, the whole under the 
form of prophecy. "And we," exclaims the 
Sibyl in concluding, '' we who have issued from 
the holy and celestial line of Christ, let us 
manifest ourselves worthy of our origin, and let 
us preserve in all its integrity our beautiful 

The greater number of the Sibylline verses 
quoted by the Fathers are found inserted in these 
eight cantos, but there yet remains a certain 
number collected by Lactantius which are not 
described. Among the latter there are only 
three which contain an insight into the future, 
and which could be applicable to the Passion of 
the Saviour. Moreover, Lactantius does not 
attribute them to the Sibyl, but to the Oracle of 
Miletus pronounced after the Passion. 

Were we to give our opinion on the collection 
of Sibylline verses, we should be inclined to say 
that they were composed of fragments collected 
together here and there, and circulated among 
the Christians. Perchance they were composed 
by different people throughout the world and 
mingled with the history of events already 
accomplished, recollections of the Gospels, and 
may be, of a certain number of oracles. Sibylline 


or otherwise, some of which were previous and 
others since the establishment of Christianity, 
but all applicable to its doctrines. Eusebius, 
St Justin, Lactantius, furnish us with proofs 
that the oracles when consulted on the fact of 
Christianity, frequently gave answers which con- 
firmed it in the main, although the intention and 
style were hostile to it. The Fathers themselves 
have employed these oracles as dogmatic demon- 

But what impels us to believe that these 
Sibylline Oracles were rtot a consecutive work, 
the offspring of only one mind — are the frequent 
renewals of the same subjects, the repetition of 
the same prophecies, book by book, with the 
only difference of change of expression. The 
origin must have been of many, or else the 
translations made of the same utterance in 
various parts were united together. It is in this 
way that Olympus became peopled by a multitude 
of different gods of various types, but which 
could all be traced to one at the beginning. 

The work of the first edition of the Sibylline 
verses seems to have been to collect all that 
could be found, joining them together by links 
more or less harmonious. 

After this examen, we must ask ourselves 


whether there ever were Sibyls, and what was 
the upshot of the Sibylline verses so famous in 
the Roman world at the time of the birth of 

Many writers have endeavoured to determine 
the age and the nationality of each of the 
fragments which compose the collection we 
possess, but it must be acknowledged that their 
conjectures are not equally satisfactory, and 
often destroy one another. 

Such are the conclusions arrived at by one 
of the latest defenders of the Sibylline verses — 
Vervost in Thes. de carminibus Sibyllinis. 
Parisius, Renouard, 1844, in 8vo. Firstly, that 
the third book and the introduction are ascribed 
to the Jews of Alexandria 163 years before the 
common era. That which the author calls by 
the name introduction, is a detached fragment 
which treats of the persecution of Antichrist, 
and the last days of the world. The author 
demonstrates the first part of his theses in a 
superabundant manner, and is even very correct 
in what concerns the date. 

Moreover, Theophilus, Athenagoras, Ter- 
tullian, Eusebius, Lactantius, and other Fathers, 
quote the third book, or allude to it. We admit 
that the Sibyls passed as authentic \x\ the eyes 


even of the pagans, before the birth of Jesus 

Secondly, a great portion of the first and 
second books were ascribed to, or supposed to be, 
by the Judaised Christians about the first ages 
of the Church. Such is also the case in the 
fourth book, which encloses more foreign inter- 
polations, and the origin of which is difficult to 

Thirdly, the fifth book was composed under 
Antoninus by the heretics, probably the Ebionites 
and the Cerinthiens. The sixth and eighth 
books bear numberless traces of the same hand, 
and the rest is Jewish or pagan. 

It is not worth while to divide ourselves into 
two camps and discuss the question bitterly, 
since both will arrive at a similar result. 

Our readers will no doubt join with us in 
viewing the folly of long discussions, and they 
will do well to preserve the Sibylline verses as 
objects of pure curiosity, not of literature, 
and without attaching to them any great 


entitled Oraculos de las doce Sibilas, Profetisas de 
Christo nuestro Senor. Por el Licenciado Bal- 
thasar Porreno. Cura de las Villas de Sacedon 
y Corcoles, 1621. Illustrated with 12 portraits of 
the Sibyls. 

Names of the Sibyls 

Sibilla Persica. Sibilla Tiburtina. 

Sibilla Libica. Sibilla Phrigia. 

Sibilla Delphyca. Sibilla Egypcia. 

Sibilla Cumana. Sibilla Samia. 

Sibilla Europa. Sibilla Hellespontica. 

Sibilla Cumea. Sibilla Erithrea. 

In this work are quoted one hundred and 
thirty-three authorities from which the Author 
has collected the materials for his work on the 
Twelve Sibyls. 



Clement of Alexandria,^ a most learned man, 
who, as St Jerome informs us, flourished about 
the year 207, says that in the same way as God 
our Lord gave to the Jews Prophets, in order 
that they should be apprised of the coming of 
the Son of God into the world — He likewise gave 
to the Greeks and Gentiles women Prophets, 
that they also might have the same knowledge, 
and not be able at any time to allege ignorance 
of such an important event. 

The doctrines of the Sibyls were distasteful to 
many of the Gentiles, because what they pro- 
phesied appeared to them impossible — such as 
that the Messias was to be Man and God, and His 
Mother a virgin and mother, and that He was to 
be King and Priest. Hence many held these 
women to be mad, and they endeavoured to burn 
their oracles ; and above all, because the Sibyls 
announced to them a new King and supreme 

St Justin Martyr, t who lived about the year 
240, also says, ''that among the impious Gentiles 
there was a punishment imposed upon those who 

* Clem. 6, Strom. D. Hieron. de vir. illus. 
t Inst, in Admonit. Get. 


should read the oracles of the Sibyls, because 
these oracles were a confirmation of the doctrines 
and professions of the Christians. And another 
reason was that they prophesied the coming of 
Christ the Eternal King, at whose coming they 
judged would end their sovereignty. Of this 
punishment Flavius Vopiscus"^ treats in his life of 
the Emperor Valerian. 

Here it is well to remark that in proportion 
as the Devil endeavoured to darken and to cast 
down the oracles and prophecies of the Sibyls 
during those first ages of the Christian Church, 
so much more were they proclaimed and extended 
throughout the world ; and these prophecies all 
remained in their truth and purity until the time 
of Julian the Apostate, who wished to burn them 
on Mount Ethna, but his endeavours were vain 
because the Christians collected many verses of 
the oracles and placed them among their writings, 
and in this way they have been handed down to 
our times, particularly the oracles of the Sibyl 
Erithrea, as is affirmed by Lactantio Firmianust 
and Marcus Varro. 

The Sibyls were women full of God, as is told 
us by Diodorus Siculus, Servius, and Lactantius. 

* Flau. Vopi. in vita Valer. 

t Lactan. inst. lib. I. cap. 6, et in ira lib. I. cap. 22. 


Marcus Varro '^ says that the word Sibyl is the 
same as *' Counsel of God." The same is said 
by St Jerome. Suidas t writes, that Sibyl is a 
Roman name and means prophetess. John 
Boccacio, in his book on Illustrious Women, chap. 
19, says: '' Sirius in the Eolic language means 
God, and Boule Thought, or a person who 
carries God in his thought." 

The Saints and Scholastic Doctors acknow- 
ledge that these Sibyls were prophetesses, and 
assert that they were saved and are Saints. It 
is said in a general way of them that they were 
women full of the Spirit of God, who rejected 
the gods of the Gentiles and confessed one only 
God — who kept perpetual virginity, and who knew 
the things to come. Clement Alexandrinus + 
quotes a saying of the Apostle St Paul in which 
he mentions the Sibyls, and although this saying 
of his is not part of the writing received by the 
Church, yet from the repute of the author, should 
be held in esteem. The quotation is as follows : 
'' Libros quoq : Grecos summite agnoscite Sibyllam 
quomodo unum Deum significet et ea qua sunt 
futura," etc. Which means, *' Read the Greek 
Books, and understand in them the Sibyls, who 

* Mar. Varro in lib. ser. divin. Diodor. Sicul. lib. 5. 
t Servio, lib. 4, Enead, \ 6 Stromat, 


confessed one God and revealed things which 
were to come at the time when they prophesied 
them, and in them you will find clearly manifested 
the knowledge of the Lord God." 

The Greeks pretend to say that the Sibyls 
were really only one, each assuming a different 
land and birthplace. Some have called her 
Erithrea, others Sicula, others Sardinia, others 
Rhodes, others Persica, etc. 

Marcianus Capella ^ says that there were but 
two — Erofila Troyana, daughter of Marmeso, 
whom he says is the same as Phrigia and 
Cumea ; and the other was Simacha, daughter 
of Hyporense, who was born in Erithra and 
prophesied in Cumas. 

Pliny t says that in Rome there were three 
statues of Sibyls. One was placed by Pacurius 
Taurus ; and the other two by Marcus Mesala, 
and these three he calls Solino Cumana, Delphica, 
and Erithrea. 

Elianus, I in his varied history, places four 
Sibyls, viz. : Erithrea, Samia, Egypcia, Sardinia ; 
while others add to these two more, who were La 
Judea and Cumea. 

Lactantius Firmianus, § St Jerome, St Au- 

* Marcianus Capel. t Plin. lib. 34, c. 5. 

X Elia. var. histor. § Lacta. lib. 5, c. 6, de fal. relig. 


gustine, Marcus Varro, and others, state the 
number to be ten — Cumea, Libica, Delphica, 
Persica, Erithrea, Samia, Cumana, Hellespontica, 
Phrigia, and Tiburtina.^ To these are added two, 
which are Europa and Egypcia, of whom writes 
Bernardino de Busto, and other ancient and 
modern writers. These twelve the Author gives 
a portrait of, and each are true illustrations of 
the Sibyls with their individual devices, according 
to the nature of their prophecies. 

Besides these twelve already stated there 
are others mentioned, such as Mantho, Daphne, 
daughter of Tirresias, from whose writings it is 
said Homer robbed a great part of his marvel- 
lous poem ; Casandra Xenoclea, Melisa, and 
Lampusa ; and Strabo t in his Geography adds 
many others ; but of all these none are taken 
notice of but the twelve mentioned who bore the 
distinctive appellation of Sibyls, because in them 
was perceived the gift of virginity for which cause 
was imparted to them the gift of prophecy, as 
is told us by St Jerome, and Constantine the 
Great,+ in his Orations on the Christian Religion, 
quoted by Eusebius in his life. 

* D. Hier. lib. i, ad vers. Jovini. D. Augus. de civ. Dei, 
li. 1 8, cap. 23, et de Trinit. lib. 19. 

t Strab. lib. 4, Geograf. | D. Hier. cont. Jovinian, 


And although some Saints say that the Devil 
spoke through these Sibyls, as we can Infer by 
St Augustine ^ and St Ambrose In various parts of 
their works and in the Glossary, I reply that it is 
true that the Devils frequently spoke through the 
Sibyls, and by the mouths of their own prophets, 
but in all that relates to the mysteries of our 
Redemption, the Sibyls spoke by Divine Revela- 
tion, God making use of the bad for the benefit 
of the good, as St Thomas t writes in the Secunda 
SecundcB, The Saints also experienced evil from 
many women deceived by the Devil, to whom 
were falsely ascribed the names of the Sibyls, 
and from others who were bad Sibyls, as were 
the false prophets, — this is learnedly declared by 
John de Horozco and CovarrublasJ in his erudite 
work on True and False Philosophy. St Thomas 
agrees with this doctrine when he writes, that 
revelation of Christ was made to many of the 
Gentiles — hence to the Sibyl Erithrea, as being 
the principal of the Sibyls, St Augustin numbers 
among those who belong to the City of God. 

The books of these Sibyls have been largely 
discussed and written upon by St Justin Martyr, 

''' D. Augus. in Epis. in choa. ad. Rom. 

t St Thorn. 22, p. 72, art. i, ad. i. 

X Covarru. de vend, et fals. Prof., cap. 32. 


St Augustine, St Jerome, Fenestela, Eusebius, 
Cesariente, Arnobius, Prosperus, Xistus Betuleius, 
Lanctantlus Firmianus.'^ The Angelic Doctor 
also speaks of these women where he says that 
the Sibyls prophesied expressly of Christ our 
Lord. Besides the Sacred Doctors, many poets 
speak of the Sibyls, among others Juvenal, who, 
wishing that credit should be given to his verses, 
said : '* Credite me vobis folium recitare 

Father Canisius,t of the Society of Jesus, says 
in his book de Beata Virgine, cap. i, that the 
Gentiles learnt the name of Our Lady from the 
Sibyls, for thus said the Sibyl Erithrea in lib. 8 
of the Oracles — Et brevis egressus Marise Virginis 
alvo exorta est nova lux. 

And the same author says that the Gentiles 
greatly honoured the Sibyls among the prophets, 
and considered nothing to be more true, certain, 
and trustworthy than the oracles of the Sibyls, 
and then adds these remarkable words + : — 

* D. Just. lib. contra. Trif. D. Aug. lib. 18, de civit. cap. 
22. D. Hieron. cont. Jovin. Fenest. de Quindecim viris. 
Eusebio, li. 4, de vit. const. Lact. lib. de fals. relig. Prosp. 
de vita contempl. et lib. 2, predi. cap. 29. Sanct. Tho. 22, 
qu. 2, art. 7, ad. 3 ; qu. 12, art. 6, ad. i. 

t Can. de Beate Virg. lib. 1, cap. i, 

t Lib. 2, cap. 7. 


*' The sayings of the Sibyls must be admitted 
to be, not novel dreams or ravings of common 
women, but held as the ancient oracles of the 
prophets, who were renowned in the first ages of 
the world, and are worthy of greater esteem by 
reason that they relate to Christ Our Lord and 
the evangelical truths, particularly to such as are 
strangers to piety and accustomed to rites and 
ceremonies opposed to the Gospel — that they may 
live holily and happily." Thus far is from 

Gilbert Genebrardo,"^ a most learned man, 
says, that the Romans possessed an oracle of 
the Sibyls in which is foretold that when Rome 
should be subjected to a King of Egypt, by 
some of the Roman people, a Monarch of the 
Universe would be born. Cicero, t in his first 
Epistle to xhQ familiare to Lentulus, mentions this 
prophecy, **and whereas King Ptolemy was 
seduced by Gabinus, the Roman people having 
discussed and arranged this affair. Christ Our 
Lord was born soon after." This is said in the 
Second Book of the Oracles of the Sibyls, written 
in Greek. 

Concerning the antiquity and deeds of the 

* Gil. Geneb. . . in Chronolog. . . , 
t Cice. in Epis. fainil, ad. Lentulum, 


Sibyls there exists many diverse opinions, and it 
is difficult to find a path in this labyrinth. 
Lactantius "^ says that Erithrea is the most ancient 
of the Sibyls, and affirms that she was daughter- 
in-law to Noah ; she escaped the waters of the 
Deluge, and lived some hundreds of years. 
Marcus Varro holds that the Persica was more 
ancient, while others say the Libica, and there 
are many authors who attribute to one Sibyl all 
the prophecies, and to another all the deeds. In 
truth there is much confusion, but I have 
endeavoured to follow the clearest and simplest 
course, and what appears the most certain. The 
Devils when they endeavoured to trouble them 
with answers of the false Idols, the Sibyls ceased 
to speak, and the Idols were struck dumb when 
the Apostles began to preach, as is related to 
us by St TheodoruSjt and even the Gentiles 
themselves thus comprehended it, and wrote about 
it. Thus Juvenal said + : — 

" Cesent oracula Memphis : 
Sed silvit postquam Reges tinucre futura, 
Et superos vetuere loqui." 

* Lactan. inst. lib. i, cap. 6, et de ira lib. i, cap. 22. 
t Theod. lib. 10, Grae. effect. 
]. Satyr 6. 


The same was sung by the poet Lucano "^ in 
reference to these answers having ceased : — 

'' Excessere omnes adytis, arisq' ; relictis 
Dij, quibus imperium hoc steterat." 

And Strabo,t bewailing the Oracle of Delphos, 
said in his Geography, '* Hodie profecta summa 
in mendicitate est Delphicum oraculum " ; that is 
to say, now is truly impoverished the Oracle 
Delphos : and Plutarch + marvels that the oracle 
does not reply. 

Let us thank God who gave such gifts to 
simple women, verifying the words of St Paul, 
**That God hath chosen the weak to confound 
the strong." 

A curious book on the Sibyls was written by 
Onufrio Panuino,§ of the Order of St Augustine. 

Mantuano said of the Sibyls : — 

"Indeum annales divini loquarq' : Sibillas." 
And he Hkewise called their oracles holy. 

* Lucan. Phar. sal. t Strab. lib. 9. 

I Plutar. lib. de tract, rerum. i ; Chori. i. 
§ Onufr. Panuino. 


{Translated from the Greek) 

The Proem 

''O! Mortal, carnal and vile men, how soon 
are you puffed up. Not considering that you 
must die. You do not tremble at, and fear, the 
supreme God who governs you, who knows, sees, 
and observes all things, who sent His pleasant 
Spirit into all things, and made Him the Governor 
of all mankind. There is one God, who alone 
reigns : He is very great, Unbegotten, Omnipo- 
tent, Invisible : He alone sees all things, but 
cannot be seen by any mortal ; for what flesh can 
behold the Celestial, True, and Immortal God 
with his eyes, who lives in Heaven, since men, 
who are born Mortals, of bones, flesh and veins, 
cannot steadfastly behold the shining beams of 
the sun ? 

"Worship Him who is the only Governor of 
the World, who alone is from everlasting to 


everlasting. He exists for Himself, is unbegotten ; 
He governs all things, at all times, and (He is in 
all mortals as a Judge in their common Light, 
or)"^ He hath ordained a Judgment for all men in 
one common day. 

** Ye shall be punished justly for your evil 
designs, when you leave the true and eternal 
God, and do not honour Him by offering holy 
Hecatombs to Him. But you offer sacrifice to 
Demons which are in the invisible World. You 
walk in pride and madness, leaving the straight 
way ; you wander through rocky and thorny 
paths. O vain men ! cease to wander in Dark- 
ness and a black, obscure night, but leave this 
darkness and enter into light. Behold He is 
manifest to all, and is no deceiver. Come there- 
fore and do not pursue this dark and tempestu- 
ous way any longer, behold the pleasant light of 
the sun shines gloriously. Know, and wisely 
consider it, there is one God who gives Rain 
and Winds ; He causes Earthquakes, Thunders, 
Famines, Plagues, Snow, Ice, and such grievous 
calamities. But why do I reckon up every 
particular .f^ He commands in Heaven, and 
governs in the Earth, and really exists. 

'' If anything be begotten, it is liable to be 
* A defect in the copy here. 


corrupted also. A God cannot be formed of the 
parts of a man and a woman. But there is only- 
one supreme God, who hath created Heaven, the 
Sun, Moon, and Stars, and the fruitful Earth, and 
the swelling waves of the Sea, the Mountains 
full of Woods, and the eternal Streams of the 
Fountains. He produces an innumerable 
quantity of fish in the Waters, and He nourisheth 
the creeping creatures with a cool diet. And He 
gives to the swift birds of various kinds harsh or 
pleasant notes, and to cut the air with their noisy 
wings ; and He hath put the wild beasts in the 
hills, covered with wood, and hath subjugated 
all beasts to mankind ; but hath made man His 
peculiar workmanship, the governor of all things, 
and hath subjected to him many various 
creatures which he cannot comprehend, for what 
mortal man can know all things ? But he only 
knows Him that made them in the beginning, 
who is the incorruptible and Eternal Creator, 
living in Heaven, who gives to all good men a 
very great reward, but is angry with the unjust 
and wicked, and punishes them by wars, plagues, 
and extraordinary calamities. O men ! why do 
you vainly exalt yourselves and rebel against 
God, and are therefore utterly destroyed ? Be 
ashamed to esteem cats and brutes as Gods. Is 


not this plain madness, Fury, or stupidity of 
mind ? Your gods steal cattle, and make a prey 
of Cups ; they who ought to inhabit the rich and 
glorious Heavens, appear to be eaten with worms, 
and covered all over with spiders' webs. O you 
fools ! You worship Serpents, Dogs, and Cats, 
and you adore Birds, and the creeping creatures 
in the earth, and images of polished stone, and 
statues made with hands, and also heaps of 
earth or sepulchres, which are made in the ways, 
and you worship, besides these, many other vain 
things, which it is shame to mention. These are 
the false gods of foolish men, and from their 
mouth deadly poison distils. But to Him alone 
we ought to submit ourselves, and follow the way 
of eternal righteousness, who has the Power of 
life, and of incorruptible and eternal light, and 
can give to men joys exceeding all the sweetness 
of Honey. But you have forsaken all these ; you 
have drank a cup full of the unmixt wine of God's 
vengeance, which is very strong and thick, by 
your madness and folly, neither are you willing to 
become sober and sound in your minds, to know 
the true God and King whose Providence is over 
all things. Wherefore the burning of a vivid 
fire shall seize on you, and you shall burn in flames 
continually, for ever, and be ashamed of your 


unprofitable, false Idols : but they who worship 
the true and eternal God shall inherit life. They 
shall possess the flourishing Garden of Paradise, 
and there feast on the sweet Bread which comes 
from the Starry Skies." 

Book IL or III. 

" But after that Rome shall govern Egypt, 
uniting it to the empire. Then the Great 
Kingdom of the Immortal King shall appear 
amongst men, and a holy King shall come who 
shall govern all the World for all ages of time to 
come ; and then the inevitable anger of the Latins 
shall thrice destroy Rome by a miserable fate ; 
and all men shall be destroyed in their own 
houses, when the River of Fire shall descend 
from heaven. O me miserable ! when that day 
shall come, and the judgment of the immortal 
God, the great King ! " ^ 

'* Why do you now build Cities ? and adorn 
them all with Temples, places for racing. Market 
places. Statues gilt or carved, or covered with 
silver, or made of stone, that you may come to 
that sad day ? For it shall come when the smell 
of brimstone descends amongst all men. 

* This oracle is a plain prediction of the coming of 
Christ and of His Kingdom. 



'' But I will declare particularly in how many- 
Cities men shall suffer Calamities. [Some 
dislocation or defect here.] 

" But (this shall be) when the threats of the 
Great God are accomplished, with which He once 
threatened the men ' who built the Tower in the 
Country of Assyria ; then all spoke the same 
speech, and seemed to design to ascend as high 
as the stars ; then the Immortal God sent violent 
Storms, and when the wind had overthrown the 
great high Tower, and had excited a mutual 
Contention amongst them, men thereupon gave 
to that City the name of Babylon ; but after the 
Tower was fallen and the speech of men differed 
in all sorts of words, then was all the earth 
divided, and filled with different Kings.' And 
then (were those threats to be accomplished 
when) the tenth generation of mankind should 
arise, viz. : From the time of the Flood came on 
the first men, and Saturn and Titan and Japetus 
lived, whom men called the excellent Son of the 
Earth and of Heaven by giving them the name 
from the Earth and Heaven, because they were 
the most excellent of all men.^ 

* This seems to be the order and meaning of this 
famous passage, which the copies do somewhat differ about ; 
and in that case it needs no exphcation, it is so easy. 


'' Now when my mind had ceased from deliver- 
ing this Divine Dream in Verse, and I had 
entreated the great Father to cease from forcing 
me, the Voice of the great God came again into 
my soul, and commanded me to prophesy through 
every country, and to tell what shall come to pass 
to the Kings hereafter. And this thing the 
Immortal God first put into my mind to speak ; 
how many sad Calamities He had prepared for 
Babylon, because they had destroyed His great 

"• Alas ! alas ! for thee Babylon, and the Nation 
of the Assyrians ! a howling Noise shall pass 
through that land of Sinners, and the shouts of 
men for Victory, and the stroke of the great God, 
who is the Author of my Oracle, shall destroy 
all the Country ; for Vengeance shall come on 
thee, O Babylon, from the air above ; and an 
eternal fury shall descend from the Holy Places 
in Heaven upon thee, and shall destroy thy 
children ; and then thou shalt be as thou wast at 
first, as if thou hadst not been born ; and then 
thou shalt be filled with blood ; as thou hast 
formerly spilt the blood of good and holy men 
which now cries to the high heavens."^ 

■*^ This oracle clearly belongs to the destruction of the 
Babylonian Monarchy by Cyrus the Persian, 


'* O Egypt ! a terrible great slaughter shall 
befall thee, which thou didst hope will never befall 
thee. A sword shall pass through the midst of 
thy lands, and dispersion, and death, and famine 
shall follow. But in the seventh Generation of 
the Kings thou shalt have rest."^ 

'*Wo to thee, O Land of Gog and Magog, 
lying between the Ethiopian Rivers ! How great 
an effusion of Blood shalt thou receive ! And 
men shall call thee the House of Judgment ; and 
thy well-watered land shall drink black blood. 

'' Alas for thee, O Libya ! Alas for thee, O sea 
and Land in the Western Nations ! How shall 
you come to the miserable day ! You shall come 
exercised in a conflict which will be terrible and 
difficult, you shall have a fearful Judgment again, 
and you all shall come to destruction because you 
have destroyed the great Temple of the Immortal 
God ; grievously grinding it as it were with iron 
teeth : for this cause thou shalt see thy land 
filled with dead bodies, some slain in War, and 
all the force of evil spirits, by Famine and Plague, 
and by enemies of a barbarous fury. All thy 
land shall become a desert, and thy Cities be 

* This belongs clearly to Cambyses' conquest of Egypt, 
and its revolt afterwards under Darius Nothus. 


*' In the West a star shall shine, which is called 
Comet, and is a sign of War, Famine, and death 
by Plague, and of the Slaughter of great com- 
manders and noblemen, and there shall be other 
great signs among men : for the Meaotic Lake 
and deep Tanais shall not continue their flux of 
waters ; and there shall be ploughed land in its 
channel ; but the currents shall become innumer- 
able. There shall be great openings of the 
Earth, and vast Caverns shall appear, and men 
with their cities shall be swallowed up. These 
cities shall be overthrown in Asia, Jassis 
Cerbe, Pandonic, Colophos, Ephesus, Nicea, 
Antiochia, Tanagra, Sinope, Smyrna, Marus ; 
and these towns in Europe, Cyagra, Clitus, 
Basilis, Merope, Antigone, Magnesia, Mycene, 
Pantheia, wealthy Gaza Hierapolis and Asti- 

" Then know thou that the pernicious People of 
Egypt are near destruction, and then the last 
year will be over with the Alexandrians. When 
Rome hath received the tribute of Asia, Asia 
shall receive thrice as much money again from 
Rome, and shall pay the same pernicious injury 
to it. And as many as have served the Italian 
families of those which came from Asia, twenty 
times as many shall the slaves in Asia, and the 


Italians shall be punished with an infinite 
poverty." ^ 

" O luxurious rich Virgin, the offspring (or 
daughter) of Latin Rome ! being intoxicated by- 
many celebrated Nuptials, thou, who art a 
servant, shalt not be married to the World ; thy 
mistress often cuts off thy delicate hair, inflicting 
punishment on thee ; she throws thee from 
heaven to the Earth, and raises thee from Earth 
to heaven again, because thy inhabitants live 
unjust and wicked lives. 

" Samos shall become an heap of sand, and 
Delos shall disappear, Rome shall become a 
Village, and all things predicted shall come to 
pass." t 

'' And there shall be no mention of vindicating 
the destruction of Smyrna, but only by the ill 
Counsels and wickedness of the Governors. 

" Peace and tranquillity shall happen to the 
Countries in Asia ; then Europe shall be happy, 
the Seasons shall be settled, fruitful, without any 
tempest or toil, producing all things, as birds 

* This oracle seems to belong to the Holy War, when 
Rome and the West left vast treasures, and lost vast armies 
in Asia. 

t The former branches of this oracle are observed by 
TertuUian to have been fulfilled since the rise of Constanti- 
nople and the defence of the Emperor from Rome. 


and creeping things on the Earth. That man 
or woman is happy who comes to that time ; he 
will be happy like the unconcerned Countryman ; 
all manner of just laws shall descend from Heaven 
amongst men, and just administration shall 
accompany them, and sound concord, which of 
all things is most beneficial to men ; with Love, 
Faith, Hospitality ; but ill laws. Reproach, Envy, 
Anger, Madness, Poverty, Violence, Slaughter, 
pernicious Contentions, fatal quarrels, thefts in 
the night, and every evil thing that men avoid 
in those times." ^ 

" But Macedonia shall bring a great damage 
upon Asia. A great mischief shall befall Europe 
from the breed of Saturn, and the offspring of a 
spurious Servant ; and they shall conquer strong 
Babylon : and when of all countries which the 
sun shines on, she has been called Queen, she 
shall be destroyed by extraordinary ruin, and 
shall not give laws to her wandering Posterity." t 

" But in time there shall come a perfidious 
man into the happy country of Asia, being 
clothed in purple garments : he will be cruel, of 

^ I doubt whether this oracle has yet been fulfilled, 
only it will certainly be fulfilled towards the end of the 

t Perhaps this oracle may belong to the Saracens. 


strange manners, of a hot, fiery temper ; a flash 
of Hghtning leads him. All Asia shall undergo 
an hard yoke, and that land shall drink much 
blood which will be shed on it. 

''His generation shall be destroyed by the 
generation of those whose generation he would 
have destroyed.'"^ 

''He shall leave one root which a Warrior 
shall destroy, and shall cut off the warlike 
Father of the Royal Stock, and shall plant 
another plant near the ten Horns. But as soon 
as he hath taken care of Ida, which was utterly 
destroyed, then he shall perish by the sons of 
them who conspire in the same fate of war, and 
then the Horn planted near the ten shall reign." t 

" And there shall be a sign to fruitful Phrygia, 
when the corrupt Stock of Rhea shall flourish, 
with prosperous and well-watered roots, and make 
a perpetual inundation. The Aliseis in the City 
Autandros, a country oft shaken with Earth- 
quakes, shall be utterly destroyed in one night. 
Which City was called Dorileaum, in old black 
Phrygia an unfortunate Country. This will open 

* This oracle perhaps may belong to the Turks. 

t Perhaps this oracle, which is confused in the MSS., 
may belong to the Turks also, and the last part of it to 
the Ottoman Family at Constantinople. 


the Caves of the Earth and throw down the 
walls of Cities. These Earthquakes will be signs 
of evils to come, and the beginning of them." ^ 

''The first calamities of the Pamphylian war 
shall then happen, and then shall be spilt the 
noble blood of the Old kneads, and they shall 
again be made a prey to men at law. 

''O Troy! I pity thee! For in Sparta a 
fury shall flourish as a Plant most beautiful and 
famous, and shall occasion various mysteries. 
Yes, various mysteries in the Countries of Europe 
and Asia, but chiefly to thee ! She shall bring 
mourning, and sighs, and lamentations, and she 
shall have everlasting fame amongst Posterity. 
And then an old lying writer shall appear in that 
time again, counterfeiting his Country ; being 
also dim-sighted, he shall have much wit and 
Eloquence, and shall compose wise Poems made 
of two parts, and he shall say he was born at 
Chios. Then he shall write the History of Troy, 
not just as things are, but plainly, and according 
to my words, and he shall use the same words, 
and he shall use the same verse. He shall be 
the first that shall celebrate my book with his 

^ This oracle seems also to belong to the Turks, and 
the beginning of the Ottoman devastations, when happened 
one of the greatest earthquakes that ever was. 


hands ; he shall much adorn the Commanders 
in the war by his praise. Priamus, son of 
Hector, and Achilles the son of Peleus, and all 
others who are famous in war, and he shall make 
the Gods to assist them, writing falsely in every- 
thing. Spacious Troy shall give reputation to 
those who died as mortal men, but he shall 
describe the actions on both sides alternately." "^ 
" And the progeny of the Locrian shall do 
much mischief to Lycia ; and an ^olian shall 
come to Chalcedon and depopulate it, being 
seated on the narrow passage of the Sea ; and the 
Sea (or Pontus) shall carry off the great Riches, 
O Cyzicus ! Thou Byzantium shalt encourage 
the war in Asia, thou also shalt have sighs and 
much blood ; and the great Strength of Lycia 
shall be from the height of the mountains. And 
the waters shall flow from the opening of the 
Rock till the prophetic signs of the Fathers shall 
cease. O Cyzicus ! inhabiting the Propontis 
where wines grow, Rhyndacus shall resound 
about thee with swollen waves ; and thou Rhodes 
shalt be free for a long time from slavery. O 

* This oracle plainly belongs to the siege of Troy and 
to Homer's poems ; though I suspect at least part of its 
latter branch not to be original. However, it is very old, 
and part of it much referred to by the ancient heathen 


Daughter of the day ! thou shalt obtain much 
riches afterwards, and thou shalt have a more 
excellent command in the Sea than any others : 
but at length thou shalt become a prey to men, 
that are thy lovers for thy beauty and riches, 
they shall put a grievous Yoke upon thy neck." ^ 

'* But the Lydian Commotions shall spoil the 
affairs of Persia, and all Asia and Europe shall 
horribly suffer by them. But the Sidonian 
pernicious King, and the war of his other con- 
federates shall bring a miserable destruction on 
the Samians by their great ships, and the Earth 
shall resound with a great noise, for the destruc- 
tion of the men which perish in the Sea ; and the 
wives with the damsels in splendid garments 
shall beat their breasts for the ancient abuses 
that are offered them. These shall lament their 
dead, and the others their children slain. This 
shall be the Prodigy in Cyprus which by an 
earthquake shall destroy the troops, and the 
other world shall gain a great many souls all 
together. Trallis, that is near Ephesus, shall 
lose its well-built walls by an earthquake ; these 
were built by pernicious men of a great spirit. 

" Then the earth shall produce boiling waters, 

* This oracle is clear, and has been remarkably fulfilled 
by the Turk's conquest of Rhodes. 


and by its weight falling in shall drink up the 
same, but there shall remain a smell of sulphur. 
And Samoa at a season shall build Royal 

''O Italy! thou shalt have no foreign war, 
but effusion of blood amongst thy own nation 
shall severely afflict thee, who are very famous 
and impudent. That part which is extended 
near the hot Baths shall destroy itself by those 
things which it foresaw would come to pass. 
Thou shalt be a Mother, but not of the good, 
and a Nurse of wild beasts. Another pernicious 
Man shall come from Italy also. Then Laodicea 
(a splendid city of the Carians on the Banks of 
the divine river Lycus) shall be thrown down. 
Thou shalt become silent and no more lament 
thy magnanimous Parent. The Acrobuzian 
Thracians shall be placed in other winds. The 
Arabian shall be in Campania, because of the 
extraordinary famine ; but when she is old she 
shall lament her parent Cyrnus, and Sardo shall 
sink into the bottom of the sea by the storms of 
winter, and by the strokes of the Holy God with 
their marine offspring. Alas ! alas ! how many 
young men shall be wedded to the other world- 
land, how many young men shall she bury 
without obsequies ! Alas ! alas ! for the 


children swimming in the sea, and the abund- 
ance of the Riches there lost. The happy 
land of the Mysian shall suddenly raise a princely 
stock. But Carthage shall not continue long ; 
and the Galatians shall have much mourning ; 
and Tenedos shall have the last but greatest 
mischief; and Sicyon shall boast in the howling 
of prayer instruments, and so shall Corinth ; yet 
over all the Pipe shall equally sound. ^ 

''But when my mind had ceased from my 
divine hymn, the Word of the Great God came 
again into my breast, and commanded me to 
prophesy concerning every land. Alas ! alas ! 
for Phoenicia, both men and women, and for all 
the Cities on the Sea Coast, for not one of you 
shall be in being under the Sun ; nor shall they 
have any number of Years, nor Tribes, because 
of their deceitful tongues. And their wicked, 
impure lives which they all lived ; and spake 
terrible, false, and unjust words with their impure 
Mouths, and they opposed God the great King, 
and spake falsely with their wicked mouths ; for 
which cause they shall be tamed by a horrible 
slaughter more than any other land ; once God 

* The time of these desolations being here not clearly 
set down, it is hard to determine about all their com- 
pletions, though some of them have evidently been 


shall send them a miserable fate, burning their 
Cities to the ground, with their numerous Founda- 
tions. Alas ! alas ! O Crete, thou must suffer 
many troubles ; a judgment shall happen to thee 
which shall be a horrible and everlasting over- 
throw ; and all the Earth shall again behold thy 
burning ; and the fire shall not leave thee for- 
ever, but thy burning shall continue. Alas ! 
alas ! for thee Thrace, because thou shalt come 
under a servile Yoke, when the Galatians mixt 
with the Dardanidae shall violently waste Greece 
and thou shalt suffer mischief! thou shalt do 
injury to other countries, and receive the same 
thyself. Alas ! alas ! for the Gog and all the 
other in order, with Magog, Margoge and Augon, 
how many ill Fates will attend thee ? Many will 
attend the People of Lysia, Mysia, Phrygia, and 
not a few of the Pamphylian and Lydian Nations, 
the Moors, Ethiopians, and other Nations of a 
barbarous Language. The Cappadocians and 
Arabians shall fall. But why do I relate all the 
particulars ? For the Highest will send a terrible 
Judgment on all the Nations who inhabit the 

* The time of these desolations being here not distinctly 
set down, it is hard to determine about their completion ; 
perhaps they belong to the Turkish devastation, or to the 
final consummation of things. 


*' But when a most barbarous Nation shall 
come into Greece, it shall destroy many great 
Men ; and many fat Cattle of the inhabitants, 
the Horses and Mules and herds of bellowing 
Oxen, and unjustly burn the well-built Houses, 
and by force carry away many Slaves into 
another land. And Children and well-cloathed 
Women who were tenderly kept out of their 
Chambers ; who will fall down through the 
delicate tenderness of their feet ; they shall see 
them in Fetters under their barbarous Enemies, 
suffering all manner of cruel reproach. And there 
shall be none to help them in war, or defend 
their lives ; but they shall see their Enemies 
enjoying all their possessions, and all their 
wealth. Their Knees shall tremble ; a hundred 
shall fly, and one shall destroy them all ; five 
Men shall excite a great Rage, but they 
shall shamefully manage the fight, and raise a 
terrible tumult, only to give joy to their enemies, 
and grief to the Grecians. And all Greece shall 
be reduced into Slavery and Bondage, and they 
shall not only suffer all these miseries by war, 
but by plague also ; and God shall make the 
great and high Heavens like brass, the Earth 
shall be like iron, not having any rain. 

'* But all men shall afterwards grievously 


lament their lands, unsown and untilled, and 
burnt with fire ; and God, who made Heaven 
and Earth, will raise many masts, and the third 
generation of men shall exist. O Greece ! 
why do you confide in Princes, who are mortal 
men, who cannot avoid Death ? Why do you 
give vain offerings to the dead, and sacrifice to 
Idols ? Who hath instilled this error into your 
Minds to do these things and to leave and for- 
sake the Face of the great God ? But do you 
own the Name and Worship of Him who made 
all things. It is now 1500 years since those 
proud Kings reigned in Greece, who first led 
men to their wickednesses to make many Idols 
of those gods, who are only Corrupt dead Men, 
for whose sake you were taught to think of such 
vain things. But when the anger of the great 
God shall fall on you, then you will acknowledge 
the Face of the great God ; and the souls of all 
men shall much lament, lifting their hands up to 
the large Heavens ; and they shall begin to call 
on the great King to help them, and they shall 
seek who shall be their Deliverer from this great 
Wrath. But learn this, and keep it in thy mind, 
how many Miseries shall happen in Greece in 
the ages to come ; and when Greece shall 
sacrifice Oxen and Bulls at the Temple of the 


great God as Holocausts, it shall escape the 
noisy War, and Terror, and the Plague, and also 
be delivered from Bondage and Slavery again. 

*' But the generation of wicked Men will 
remain there till the fatal day of the End of the 
World shall come upon them unawares ; for ye 
will not sacrifice to God, till all these things shall 
come to pass. For there is absolute Necessity 
that all things should be done, which God alone 
Wills and Decrees should be brought to pass."^ 

'' Then shall arise a holy stock of righteous 
Men, who will observe the Counsels of the 
supreme God ; who will honour the Temple of 
the great God ; by libations and fumes and holy 
Hecatombs, with sacrifices of fat Bulls and Rams 
without blemish, and the first-born of Sheep and 
fat Lambs ; offering them devoutly as holy 
Hecatombs on the great Altar, and dividing 
them according to the just law of the Most 
High. They shall be happy, and shall inhabit 
Cities and rich lands ; they shall be prophets 
over others by the immortal God, and they shall 
occasion great Joy to all Men. For the great 
God has given to them alone wise Counsels, 
Faith, and an excellent understanding ; who do 

^ This oracle may belong to the conquest of Greece by 
the Turks, and its slavery under them. 



not worship, through vain errors, the Works of 
Men, made of gold, brass, silver, or ivory, and 
the Idols of wood, stone, dead gods, or pictures, 
drawn to the life by chalk or vermilion, which 
men worship, who are led by vain counsels. 
But they lift up to Heaven their pure hands, and 
every morning when they rise from bed, they 
purify their skin by washing in water ; and 
worship God, who is always great and immortal, 
and afterwards their Parents ; and they will withal 
above all Men be mindful of holy Wedlock, 
neither will they use impure sodomy, as the 
Phoenicians, Egyptians, Latins, large Greece, and 
many other Countries, as the Persians, Galatians, 
and all Asia use, transgressing the holy Laws of 
the immortal God by many transgressions. For 
which reason the Immortal will bring upon all 
men Calamities, Famine, Losses, Grief, Wars, 
Plagues, and lamentable pains ; because they 
would not honour after an holy manner, the 
immortal Father of all mankind, but honoured 
Idols, and worshipped things made by their own 
hands, which the same men will throw away, 
and hide them for shame in the clefts of the 
Rocks." ^ 

■*■ This oracle seems to belong to the Millennium at the 
end of the world. 


** When a new King of Egypt shall reign the 
seventh in his own Country, and is reckoned as 
derived from the Kingdom of the Greeks, which 
the neighbouring Macedonians shall raise, a 
great King shall come as a fierce Eagle out of 
Asia, who shall cover all the Earth with horse 
and foot, and shall beat down all things and fill 
all places with misery. And he shall overthrow 
the Kingdom of Egypt, and carry away all the 
riches as he departs through the great sea. 
And then they shall adore on their bare Knees, 
on the fruitful Earth, the great God and 
immortal King ; and then all the Idols made by 
mens' hands shall be consumed by fire, and then 
God shall give great joy to men. For the Earth 
and the Trees, and vast flocks of Cattle, shall 
give true increase of wine, and sweet honey, and 
white milk, and bread corn, which is most accept- 
able to men."^ 

'' But do thou, O Mortal ! of a various and 
evil mind, leave thy wealth, turn to God and 
appease Him ; sacrifice to God hundreds of bulls, 

* The first part of the oracle may be applied to the 
conquest of Egypt by the Turks under Solymus, a.d. 151 7. 

Macedonia was conquered by Bajarzet the First, and 
from him Solymus was the seventh Turkish Emperor, and 
became a new King of Egypt, and carried away its riches 
in ships to Constantinople. 


and of first-born lambs, and goats, at proper 
periods ; but propitiate the immortal God if He 
may be moved to be merciful, for He is the only- 
God, and there is not another ; and follow 
righteousness, and do no injury to another, for 
the Immortal commands these things to poor 

*' But do thou avoid the anger of the great 
God, when a destruction by a Plague shall come 
upon all men, and they shall be subdued and 
suffer a terrible punishment, and when one King 
shall captivate another, and take away his land ; 
and one nation shall destroy another, and the 
Governors, their People, and all the Princes shall 
fly into another land and change their native 
Countries. And a barbarian Empire then ruling 
shall destroy all Greece, and shall rob that rich 
land of all its Riches, and shall come against it 
while they strive about their silver and gold (and 
then the love of Riches shall do much injury to 
Cities) ; in a strange Country they all shall lie 
unburied, and the vultures and wild beasts of the 
Earth shall devour their Carcasses. And when all 
things are done, the large Earth shall consume 
the reliques of the Dead, and it shall all be un- 
ploughed and unsown, by which desolation she 
will declare the wickedness of innumerable Men. 


" In a great length of Time, in years to come, 
there shall be no need of Bucklers, Breast-plates, 
darts, and divers sorts of arms. For neither shall 
wood be cut from the Oaks to burn.'"^ 

'* And then God shall send a King from the 
East, who shall make all the Earth to cease 
from War, by killing some, and making Leagues 
with others : and he shall not do all these things 
by his own Counsel. But confiding in the 
Decrees of the Great God, which are good. 
And the People of the Great God shall come 
loaded with great wealth, Gold and Silver, and 
Purple Garments, and the Earth shall be full of 
all Plenty, and the Sea furnished with all good 
things. And then Kings shall begin to be 
angry with one another, contriving evil things in 
their minds. Envy is not proper for miserable 
Mortals." t 

'' But the Kings of the Gentiles shall again 
invade the land with great multitudes, bringing 
on themselves a fatal destruction ; for they will 
design to destroy the Temple of the Great God 
and the best men when they come into that 

* This oracle seems to be an exhortation to all the 
Greeks to make a reformation, and to threaten miseries on 
them if it be not done. 

t This oracle is clear for Christ's Second Coming, the 
restoration of the Jews, and the Millennium thereupon. 


Country. The defiled Princes shall sacrifice 
round about the City, every one having his 
throne apart, with his disobedient People. And 
then God shall speak to all the uninstructed and 
vain People with a loud voice ; and He who is 
the great God shall judge them, and they shall 
all perish by the Hand of the Immortal ; and 
fiery swords shall fall from Heaven upon the 
Earth. And the great lamps of Fire shall come 
and shine amongst Men ; the Earth also, which 
is the common parent, shall be shaken in those 
days by the Hand of the Immortal, and the fish 
in the Sea, and all the wild beasts on the Land, 
and infinite Flocks of Birds, and all the Souls 
of Men, and all the Sea shall tremble at the 
Presence of the Immortal, and be afraid. He 
shall break upon the high tops of the Mountains, 
and the vast hills, and the dark place of the 
Dead shall appear to all, and the airy Caverns 
in the high Mountains shall be filled with the 
Dead, and the Rocks shall flow with blood, and 
many Channels shall fill the plains, and all well- 
built walls shall fall down upon the Earth, which 
wicked men built, because they knew not the 
Law and judgment of the great God. But 
foolishly lift up their weapons against the Holy 
Place ; and God shall condemn them all to be 


destroyed by War and Slaughter ; and fire, and 
a deluge of rain, and sulphur shall descend from 
Heaven, and hailstones many and grievous ; and 
the four-footed Beasts shall die : then they shall 
know the Eternal God who does these things. 
The Lamentation and the Cry of the men that 
perish shall come upon the large Earth, and they 
shall become mute, and be washed in their own 
blood, and the Earth shall drink the Blood of 
the Slain, and Wild beasts shall be filled with 
Flesh." ^ 

''The great Eternal God Himself commanded 
me to prophesy all these things, and they shall 
not be in vain, nor imperfect, when He has once 
put them into my mind ; for the Spirit of God is 
infallible through all the world. Then shall all 
the Sons of the great God live in quiet about His 
Temple, and shall rejoice in all these things, 
which the Creator will give who is the righteous 
Judge and Monarch. For He alone shall protect 
them, and greatly assist them, as a wall round 
them of flaming Fire ; they shall be without 
wars in the Cities, and in their Countries, for 
the force of evil War shall be gone. He shall 

* This oracle seems clearly to belong to the war under 
Gog in Ezekiel, and the Apocalypse after the Millennium is 


be their Defender, who is the Immortal, and the 
Hand of the Holy shall protect them : And then 
all the Islands and Cities shall say how much 
the Immortal loves those men, for all things 
fight for them, and help them. The Heavens 
and the Sun moved by God, and the Moon, and 
the Earth, the Mother of all, shall be moved in 
those days, and they shall sing a pleasant hymn 
with their lips : Come let us fall all on the 
Earth, and entreat the Immortal King, the 
Great and Eternal God ; let us send (oblations) 
into His Temple, for He is the only Governor ; 
and let us declare the Law of the Supreme God, 
which is the most Righteous of all the laws that 
are on the Earth. But we have erred from the 
Path of the Immortal, and through a foolish 
Mind have we worshipped Statues made by 
Men's Hands, the Carved Images of Mortal 
men ; thus shall the Souls of faithful men cry 
out. Come let all the People of God fall on their 
faces, let us please God our Father in every 
House by our Hymns. 

'' We have gained our enemies' Arms in every 
land for the length of Seven Years to come, and 
also the Shield and Breast-plates, and Helmets, 
and all sorts of Arms, and Bows, and many 
Arrows or Darts of a wicked invention, for Wood 


shall not be cut off the Oaks for the Fire. But 
thou O miserable Greece ! cease from proud 
thoughts, and entreat the Immortal Conquerors, 
and observe and send into this City the people 
that want Wisdom, who belong to the Holy Land 
of the Most High. Do not move a Camarina, it 
is better to let it alone, nor move a panther from 
his den, lest you suffer injury by it, but abstain. 
Neither entertain in your breast proud Anger, 
which provokes you to quarrelling and fighting ; 
but serve the great God, that you may abstain 
from these things. When this shall be at an 
end, the great day will come upon good men, 
the beginning of happy times, for the Earth, 
which is the producer of all things, shall yield to 
men the best and infinite Fruit, Corn, Wine, 
Oil, and the sweet Honey, drink from Heaven, 
the fruits of Trees, and the Acorns ; and fat 
Cattle, and beasts, and Lambs from lambs, and 
Kids from Goats ; and sweet Fountains shall 
flow with the whitest milk, and the Cities shall 
be full of good things, and fields shall be fruitful. 
And there shall be no sword in the Earth nor 
warlike Tumult, nor shall the Earth groan any 
more by an Earthquake ; there shall be no Wars 
nor Drought upon the Earth, nor hail to waste 
the fruit, but there shall be a great Peace in all 


the Earth. And one King shall live in friendship 
with another to the End of the World; and the 
Immortal, who lives in the Heavens adorned 
with Stars, shall give a Common Law to all men 
in all the Earth and instruct miserable men what 
things must be done. For He is the only God, 
and there is no other beside Him ; and He shall 
burn the fierce strength of men by fire : but 
follow my counsel in your Minds, quickly fly all 
unwarrantable worship and serve the living God ; 
avoid Adultery and the confusion of Sodomy, and 
nourish your Children and do not kill them ; for 
with such Offenders the Immortal will be angry. 
Then He shall raise a Kingdom for ever over 
all men, when He hath given a holy Law to the 
Righteous, to all whom He promised to open the 
Earth, and the gates of the Blessed, and all joys, 
and an immortal mind, and eternal cheerfulness. 
Out of every Country they shall bring Frank- 
incense, and gifts to the Houses of the great 
God, and there shall be no other House to be 
enquired for by the Generations of Men that are 
to come but that which God has given to be 
honoured by faithful men, for Mortals call Him 
the Son of the great God. All the paths of the 
Fields, and rough shores, and high mountains, 
and the raging Waves of the Sea, shall be easily 


passed and sailed through in those days : for all 
peace shall happen to the good, through all their 
land ; the prophets of the great God shall take 
away all Slaughter, for they are the Judges of 
Mortals, and the righteous Kings, and there 
shall be just riches for men, for the government 
of the great God shall be just judgment. Rejoice, 
O Virgin, and be glad, for He that hath 
created Heaven and Earth hath given thee 
eternal Joy ; He shall live in thee, and shall be 
to thee eternal Light. 

" The Wolves and Lambs shall eat Herbs 
together in the Mountains, and the Panthers 
shall feed together with the Kids, and the Bears 
shall be kept with the Calves in the same place, 
and the carnivorous Lion shall eat straw out of 
the Manger as an Ox, and very young children 
shall bind them in bonds ; and an infirm creature 
shall affright a wild beast, and dragons shall 
sleep with Infants, and not hurt them, for the 
Hand of God shall be over them. 

'' But I will tell you very clearly the signs 
whereby you may know when the end of all these 
things shall happen on the Earth. When swords 
shall be seen in the night, towards Sun-setting 
or Sun-rising, in the Starry Heavens, and a dust 
descends from Heaven suddenly upon all the 


Earth ; and the sight of the Sun shall fail in the 
middle of its course in the Heavens, and the 
beams of the Moon shall shine, and shall 
pleasantly come to the Earth with bloody drops. 
And the Rocks shall give a sign, and in a cloud 
ye shall see the fight of Horsemen and Footmen 
like the Crowd made in the hunting of wild 
beasts : this end God who lives in Heaven will 
give to war ; but all ought to sacrifice to the 
great King. These things I prophesied to the 
world concerning God's wrath upon Mortal Men, 
when I was inspired with a Fury, and I left the 
high Walls of Babylon in Assyria ; and I am a 
fire sent to Greece to foreshew to men these 
Divine Enigmas by Prophecies." 

Book IV. 

*' Hear, O you boasting people of Asia and 
Europe, what most true things I am ready to 
prophesy ; they shall be declared in pleasant 
verses from my own great mouth, which is not 
the interpreter of the lies of Phoebus ; of him I 
mean whom vain men call a God, and falsely 
pretend that he can prophesy ! but of the Great 
God, who is not made by men's hands like the 
dumb idols hewed out of stone, neither has he a 


house, nor is a stone set up in a temple, dumb 
and deaf, which is a pernicious scandal to the 
mercy of Him whom none can see from the Earth, 
nor measure with their Mortal Eyes, and whom 
no hand of Mortals made : He sees all men at 
once, but is seen of none Himself. His is the 
dark night, the Day, the Sun, Stars and Moon, 
and the Sea full of Fish, the Land and the Rivers, 
and the Water of the overflowing Springs, 
Creatures for food, and showers to produce the 
fruits of the Earth, the Trees, and Vines, and 
Olive Trees : this is He who vehemently excites 
my mind to declare truly to men both things that 
are present and things that will come hereafter, 
from the first generation to the eleventh, for He 
revealed them completely to me. But you, O 
People, hear the voice of the Sibyl who from her 
holy mouth speaks these true Prophecies. 

Those men shall be happy on the Earth that 
love the Great God, giving praise to Him before 
they eat and drink, depending on their Piety to 
Him, and who avoid all the Idol Temples they 
see, and their Altars and vain Statues of deaf 
Stones, which are polluted with the blood of 
Mankind, and the Sacrifices of four-footed beasts, 
but have regard to the great glory of the one 
God ; who neither commit Cruel Murders nor 


get great gains by thefts, nor, what is most 
horrible to be done, have any shameful inclination 
to Adultery, nor to vile, odious, and loathsome 
Sodomy. Whose pious life and conversation other 
men who delight in impudence will not imitate 
but will deride them with scorn and laughter, 
and foolishly forge calumnies against them as 
guilty of those wicked actions which themselves 
perpetrate : for all Mankind are hard to believe. 
But when the Judgment shall come both of the 
world and of men, which God Himself shall 
execute, judging both the wicked and the 
righteous. He will send the wicked again into 
darkness, and then shall they know the great 
Impiety they have committed ; but the righteous 
shall remain on the fruitful Earth, the Spirit of 
God giving them life and victuals : — all these 
things shall be fulfilled in the tenth age."^ 

" But now I will relate those things which will 
happen from the first generation. 

" First of all, the Assyrians shall govern all men 
for six ages, reigning over the world from the 
time that the sea covered the land by the inunda- 
tion of a Deluge, when the God of Heaven was 
angry with the cities and with all men. Those 

* This oracle is a kind of proem or summary of the 
contents of the whole book. 


the Medes will supplant, and reign in their throne, 
but they shall continue only two ages : in which 
time these things shall happen : there shall be a 
darkness like that of the night, in the middle of 
the day, and the stars shall be wanting in the 
Heavens, and the Circle of the Moon and the 
Earth shall be moved with a great earthquake, 
joined with a noise, and shall overthrow many 
Cities and Works of men, and Islands shall rise 
from the bottom of the sea. But when the great 
River Euphrates shall afford an inundation of 
blood then shall be a grievous fight between the 
Medes and Persians, and the Medes being con- 
quered by the Persians shall fly over the great 
River Tigris, and then Persia's power shall be 
the greatest in all the world, and it shall be a most 
happy Monarchy for one generation." ^ 

*' Then shall those evil deeds be done which all 
men hate — Fights, Murders, Seditions, and 
Flights, the subversion of Towers, and insurrec- 
tion of Cities. 

** Then boasting Greece shall sail to the 
broad Hellespont, and shall make Great Devasta- 
tions in Asia. But in fruitful Egypt in future 

* This oracle belongs to that battle between the Medes 
and the Persians which is recorded by Herodotus ; and the 
general succession of the Monarchies here agrees in the main 
with the Bible, and with the best Histories in the world. 


years there shall be a famine and sterility, though 
it be exceeding fit for the Plough and Corn, and 
this shall continue there twenty years ; when Nile, 
which makes Egypt abound in Corn, shall in 
some other place hide its black water under the 

'' A great King shall lift up his spear, and 
come from Asia to Greece, with innumerable 
ships ; he shall come on foot over the Sea, but 
shall sail alone on the dry land : whom miserable 
Africa shall receive when he flies from that war." t 

*' A fiery torrent shall break forth from Etna 
and terribly burn all miserable Sicily, and the 
great City of Men shall fall into the deep sea. 
And there will be discord in Greece, and when 
they are enraged against one another they shall 
destroy many Cities, and kill many by fighting, 
but the victory shall be doubtful amongst them. 

'' But when the time of men shall come to the 
tenth age, then shall the Persians be brought 
into subjection and slavery, and be terrified. 

" But when the Macedonians shall glory in 
their dominions, then the Thebans shall be 

* This twenty years' famine in Egypt is not, I think, 
mentioned by the Historians. 

t This oracle belongs plainly to the expedition of 
Xerxes into Greece, his defeat there, and his shameful flight 


subdued ; the Carians shall inhabit Tyre, and 

the Tyrians shall perish : then sand shall cover 

all Samos as the shore, and Delos shall appear 

no more, but shall entirely vanish ; and Babylon 

shall appear great, but that proves little, and in 

vain depend upon its unprofitable walls. 

The Macedonians shall inhabit Bactra, and 

all they which inhabit Bactra and Suga shall fly 

into Greece. There shall be a time in future 

Ages when Silver - streamed Pyramu, which 

flows by the shore shall come to the holy island. 

The Cities of Sybaris and Cyzicus shall fall when 

the Earth shall spew out water, and cause 

Earthquakes ; and Rhodes shall suffer the last 

but greatest destruction, nor shall the kingdom of 

Macedonia always continue. But in the West a 

great Italian War shall spring, by which the 

World shall serve and wear the Yoke of the 

Italians ; and O Carthage ! every one of thy 

Towers shall fall to the ground. O miserable 

Laodicea ! an Earthquake shall utterly overturn 

thee, but shall set thee up again a large City, and 

thou miserable Corinth shalt see thyself taken. 

O Lycia ! who aboundest in fragrant ointments, 

the trembling Earth has never yet cast thee down. 

But thou shall fall with a noise to the Earth, and 

desire to fly into another Country as a stranger. 



O Armenia! the Italians shall by force subdue thee, 
who also shall destroy the Great Temple of God.* 
" But when they through a foolish Confidence 
shall cast away all care of Righteousness, and 
commit a horrible Murder on the Prineans (or 
about the Temple), then a great King, like a close 
perfidious Fugitive, shall fly from Italy over the 
River Euphrates, and this will be when he has 
committed a horrible wicked murder upon his own 
Mother : and when he has committed many other 
Crimes by his wicked hands, then many shall be 
slain about the holy ground of Rome ; while he 
flies beyond the bounds of his Empire. The 
terror of the Romans shall come into Syria, who 
shall burn about the Temple, and slay multitudes 
of Men in that war, and destroy the large Country 
of Judea ; and then an Earthquake shall destroy 
Salamos and Paphos, when black water shall 
disturb the famous Cyprus." f 

* The time of these desolations being not distinctly set 
down here, it is hard to determine about the completion of 
all these oracles, though some of them have been evidently 

t This oracle seems plainly to belong to Nero, and the 
first persecution : only it implies that he was not slain in 
Italy, as the report was, but went over to the Parthians, of 
which the Roman History affords some suspicion ; as to 
Salamos and Paphos, this prediction agrees well to their 
destruction by an earthquake in the days of Vespasian. 


" But when Fire shall rise out of Clefts in the 
Italian Earth, and shall rise upwards to Heaven, 
it shall burn many cities, and kill many men. 
And the fuliginous Ashes in great quantity shall 
fill the Air, and drops shall fall from Heaven like 
Minium ; then shall be known the anger of God, 
because they shall destroy the innocent stock of 
Righteous men.""^ 

" Then shall come into the West great warlike 
Contentions ; a great and Roman Runagate shall 
lift up his spear, and pass Euphrates with many 
myriads of men. Unhappy Antioch ; they shall 
no longer call thee a City, because of thy folly 
thou shalt fall by the Italian's spears, and then 
Scytus shall be destroyed by a Plague and cruel 
war." t 

** Alas ! alas ! O miserable Cyprus ! the 
waves of the broad sea shall destroy thee, when 
thou art tossed by violent storms ; but great 

* This oracle agrees very well with the terrible eruption 
of Vesuvius, a.d. 79, of which the Histories give a full 
account. Plutarch observes it as a completion of the Sibyl's 

t This oracle seems to belong to the wars with the 
barbarous nations, when they began to make irruptions 
into the West to Trajan's conquest beyond Euphrates ; to 
the terrible earthquake at Antioch when he was there ; 
and at last to the holy war, when Antioch was again taken 
by the Latins, about the end of the eleventh century. 


riches shall come into Asia, when Rome shall 
repay twice as much of the Riches which she had 
laid up in a large Treasury. A grievous Famine 
shall destroy the Cities of the Carians, which are 
beautifully built with Towers on the Banks of 
Maander, when Maander shall hide its black 
water. But when Righteousness, Faith, and 
Justice are destroyed by men who give them- 
selves to wicked enterprises, and they shall be 
guilty of foul injuries, and many other ill things, 
and none shall vindicate or esteem the Just, but 
they shall delight in Injustice, and shall unjustly 
destroy all of them in their rage, polluting their 
hands with much slaughter ; then they shall 
know that God is no longer patient, but in time 
will judge and destroy all the generations of 
mankind by a great Conflagration. Ah, foolish 
men ! repent of these things, and do not provoke 
the great God to anger of all kinds ; but lay 
aside your weapons, your torments, your murders, 
and injustice, and with your body in perpetually 
flowing Rivers, and stretching your hand 
towards the sky, ask pardon for your actions 
past, and make amends for your impiety, which 
has been great, by a pious life ; and then God 
will repent and not destroy you, but cease from 
His anger again, if you all will follow after piety. 


which is truly honourable in your soul. But if 

you will not be persuaded by me, O men of an 

evil heart ! but love unrighteousness and receive 

these advices with a perverse mind, a fire shall 

come into the world, and these signs shall appear 

in it, swords, and the sound of a Trumpet when 

the sun rises, and all the world shall hear a 

bellowing and vehement Noise, and the Earth 

shall burn. And after the fire hath destroyed all 

mankind, and all Cities, and Rivers, and Seas 

shall be burnt up, then all things shall become 

soot and ashes ; but when all things shall be soot 

and ashes, and God shall extinguish this immense 

fire which He had kindled, out of those bones 

and ashes God shall again form man. And when 

He hath made them as they were before, then 

shall the Judgment be ; in which God shall act 

justly, judging the world again, and those men 

who have lived wickedly, the earth shall cover 

them, but they who are righteous shall live again 

on the Earth, God giving the pious spirit and 

life and sufficient provisions ; and then all men 

shall see themselves. Most happy is that man 

who shall be in being at that time.'"^ 

* This famous oracle is very plain, for the conflagration, 
resurrection, and renovation of things, is in perfect agree- 
ment with the Scripture Prophecies, and is at large quoted 
in the Apostolical Constitution. 


Book V. 

'* But why does my sagacious mind suggest 
these things ? O miserable Asia ! I now fully 
lament thee, and the nations of the lonians, 
Carians, and rich Lydians. Alas ! alas ! for 
Sardis ; alas ! alas ! for the beloved Isles ; alas ! 
alas ! for the beautiful City of Laodicea : because 
ye shall be destroyed by Earthquakes, and 
reduced to ashes : in dark Asia and rich Lydia 
the Temple of Diana, fixed at Ephesus, shall fall 
into the sea, by a great Hiatus in the Earth- 
quakes, and thereby be utterly ruined, when the 
storms drown the ships : then Ephesus being 
overthrown, shall lament on the shore ; and seek 
her Temple, which shall be no longer inhabited. 
And then God, who is immortal, and lives in 
Heaven, being angry shall send from Heaven a 
fiery storm against the impious, and at that time 
there shall be summer instead of winter ; and this 
shall happen afterwards to men ; for the Omni- 
potent Thunderer shall destroy all the impudent 
by Thunder, Lightning, and fiery Thunder-bolts, 
which shall destroy them who are perverse and 
wicked, and extirpate them all so that there will 
remain more dead upon the Earth than there is 
sand : and Smyrna shall come lamenting their 


own Lycurgus to the fates of Ephesus, and shall 
perish worse than it. 

*' But foolish Cuma, with its inspired waters, 
shall be cast down by the hands of the Gods, of 
unjust and wicked men : no more shall thy chariot 
ascend into the sky, but thou shalt remain dead 
at the Cuman Waters, and then those who 
remain shall suffer affliction together, when thou 
shalt have a sign, and shall know for what 
sufferest, for the People of Cuma are obstinate 
and an impudent Tribe. Afterwards, when they 
shall have a Soil naughty and full of Ashes, 
Lesbos shall be destroyed for ever at Eridanus. 

"Alas! alas! for thee Corcyra ! a beautiful 
city ! leave off thy Luxury. And thou. Land of 
Hierapolis, abounding in Riches, thou shalt have 
the Country which thou hast desired : but it 
shall be a mournful one, thou shalt be thrown 
down near the banks of the River Thermodon ; 
and stony Tripolis near the River Maander ; and 
shalt be filled with the night waves on thy shore. 
The will and providence of God shall destroy 
thee utterly : The neighbouring Country that 
desires to have Phoebus [somewhat is here 

** A fiery whirlwind from Heaven shall destroy 
Miletus the delicate : because it received the 


deceitful Oracle of Phoebus, and the wise counsels 
of men and their prudent advice." ^ 

** O Father of all ! spare the pleasant and 
fruitful land, great Judea, that we may deliver 
Thy Laws (for this land God first enriched by 
His bounty) : that it may appear to all men to 
be the first of all other in Thy favour, and that it 
ihay attend to what God hath promised. 

** O Isis, the unfortunate Goddess ! thou 
shalt continue at the waters of Nile alone, mad 
and raging upon the sands of Acheron, and thou 
shalt no more be remembered through all the 

" And thou Serapis, placed on a Rock, shalt run 
much, and lie a Monument of Ruin in miserable 
Egypt ; and they in Egypt which desired thee 
shall all lament thee grievously, even all that 
have an immortal soul in them ; and as many as 
praise God shall know that thou art nothing. 

" And one of the Priests clothed in Linen shall 

* These desolations are not here fixed as to time, and so 
it is difficult to say much about their completion ; only 
that of Cuma and Puteoli in its neighbourhood is taken 
notice of by Plutarch, as remarkably fulfilled in his day, or 
not long before, which seems to be as a judgment on it for 
its idolatry, and the heathen oracles there encouraged, 
which is here the case of Miletus also, where Apollo had 
an oracle. 


say, come let us build a true and beautiful 
Temple for God, come let us change the wicked 
Laws of our Ancestors, by which they without 
consideration celebrated Pomps and Feast Days in 
honour of Gods of Stone and Earth ; let us turn 
our Hearts to praise the Immortal God, who is 
the Father of all, and the Eternal Governor of 
all, the most true, the King, the Father and 
preserver of Souls, the great God, that always 
exists : and then there shall be a great pure 
Temple in Egypt, and the people who serve God 
shall bring their sacrifices to it, and God will 
enable them to live for ever. But when the 
Ethiopians shall leave the insolent Tribes of the 
Triballi, and shall rest there, and plow Egypt as 
their own, then they shall begin their wickedness, 
that all things that are to come to pass may be 
done, for they shall overturn the great Temple 
in the land of Egypt. Then God shall pour 
forth his grievous vengeance on them, so as to 
destroy all the wicked and unrighteous, and there 
shall be no more long-suffering in that country, 
because they did not observe the Laws which 
God gave them." ^ 

* This oracle seems to belong to the conversion of 
Egypt to Christianity at first, and to his overthrow by Gog, 
till God executes His vengeance upon him at last also. 


The oracle which was formerly omitted at the 
beginning of the Third Book. 

Afterwards from the Sebastians (or Samari- 
tans) ^ 

" Belial shall also come, and do many- 
wonders in the sight of men : he shall raise an 
appearance of a high Mountain ; and of the Sea, 
once of the great fiery Sun, and of the great 
splendid Moon, and of the dead rising ; but these 
wonders shall be deceitful, and not complete 
Miracles. He shall delude many men by them, 
both the faithful and elect Hebrews, and also 
wicked men of the Gentiles, who did not hear the 
Word of God. But when the threats of the 
great God shall come, and the flaming River, 
like a torrent, shall fall on the Earth, it shall 
burn Belial, and all proud men who have believed 
in him." t 

'' And then the World shall be ruled by the 
hand of a Woman, believing her in all things. 

'' But when a widow shall govern all the world, 
and cast her gold and silver into the great Sea, 
and throw also her brass and iron, such as short- 

* P- 75- 

t This oracle, if genuine, but which I much doubt, 
seems plainly to belong to Simon Magus, and those 
primitive antichrists or heretics which succeeded him. 


lived Men use, into the Sea, then all the elements 
of the World shall become old, like a widow. 
When God, who lives above, shall roll up the 
heavens, as a book is rolled up : all the various 
parts of heaven shall fall on the Earth and Sea : 
then a Cataract of pernicious fire shall continually 
flow down, and burn the Earth, the Sea, and the 
Heavens, and the days ; and shall melt all the Crea- 
tion into one lump, and shall collect it into a pure 
mass. There shall then be no more the smiling 
globes of the stars, nor nights, nor mornings, nor 
many days of care, nor Spring, nor summer, nor 
Winter, nor autumn, and then the Judgment of 
the great God shall be revealed in the great age, 
when all these things are done." ^ 

[Omitted page lo. The beginning is 

** Oh the navigable Waters, and all the Earth, 
where the Sun rises and sets ! All things shall 
obey Him who comes into the World again ; for 
the first world experienced His power." t 

* This oracle seems plainly to belong to Anti- 
christian Rome, which is styled the great Whore in the 
Apocalypse, and is afterwards described as reduced to a 
state of Widowhood, before the end of the World is here 
plainly described also. 

t This oracle clearly relates to Christ's Second Coming 
at, or after, the destruction of Antichrist. 


l^N.B. — Those four verses seem to be genuine, 
and a real branch, if not the very beginning of a 
new Book, to which the Proem ought to be 
prefixed ; for so it is noted in Opsopoeus's Edition, 
that after the defect, the Book began, or went 
on, with this oracle, in some MSS.] 

" But if the Gods beget children, and still con- 
tinue immortal, there will be more gods than 
men, nor will there be room for mortal men to 
stand upon." 


(N.B. — The pages here are those of Opsopoeu^s Edition of these 

Heraclitus said that the Sibyl spake with 
the voice of one that was distracted : but that 
she spake things that were serious, without 
ornament, and without deceit ; and that, by- 
God's assistance, she continued to speak for a 
thousand years together.* 

Upon Aristophanes's mentioning the Sibyl, 
his Scholiast says : " There were three Sibyls ; the 
first of whom, as she says in her own verses, 
was the sister of Apollo ; the second was the 
Erythrean ; and the third was the Sardinian 
Sibyl." t 

* Plut. Cur Pyth. non redd. Orac. p. 64. 
t In Avibus, p. 103. 



In Plato's Theages, Socrates and Theages 
are introduced speaking thus: '' Soc. Tell me 
what name are we to give to Bacis, and the 
Sibyl, and our Countryman Amphilytus ? Theag. 
Pray what name, Socrates, can we give them, 
but that of Poetic Prophets."^ 

Plato, in his Phsedrus, speaks thus : '' We are 
partakers of the greatest benefits by the means 
of enthusiastic Fury, which is bestowed on us 
by the Divine bounty. For both the Prophet- 
esses which is at Delphi, and the Priestesses at 
Dodona, when they were subject to that Fury, 
have been the instruments of a great deal of good 
to Greece, both publicly and privately, but when 
they were void of it, have done little or nothing 
for its advantage. And if we should make 
mention of the Sibyl and of all others who have 
had the Divine Faculty of Prophesying, and 
have rightly foretold a great many events to 
many persons, we should be too tedious : and 
say no more than what is universally known 
already." t 

Aristotle in his book says that at Cuma in 
Italy there is to be seen the subterranean Cavern 
of the Sibyl, who gave oracles ; who, they say, 

* P. 56. t P. 56. 


continued a Virgin to an exceeding old age. 
She was of Erythra, but was said by some of 
the Italians to be of Cuma, and by some that 
she was named Melanghrena. 

(See another passage of his in the same 

Cicero observes, that whereas the faculties 
of the mind are affected in two cases without 
reason and understanding, merely by their own 
free and unconfined motion, the one in an 
enthusiastic fury, the other in sleep, the Romans 
supposing that the divination of Enthusiasm was 
chiefly discovered in the Sibylline verses, chose 
ten persons out of the City, and appointed them 
to be their interpreters.! 

And again he says : ** Those act without art 
who are able to foretell future events, not by 
Reason or conjecture, drawn from signs and 
observations, but from an emotion of the mind, 
and a free and unrestrained impetus ; which not 
seldom happens in dreams, and sometimes in 
such as predict futurities in our enthusiastic 
rage ; as was the case of Bacchis of Boetia ; of 
Epimenides of Crete, and of the Erythrean 
Sibyl." t 

* P. 59. t P. 119. + P. 119. 


And again : *'An influence from the Earth 
inspired the Prophetess at Delphi, but an 
influence from nature inspired the Sibyl." "^ 

Lactantius gives us a very particular account 
from Varro, inlthese words : *' M. Varro, who was 
not inferior in learning to any of the Latins, or 
indeed of the Greeks also that ever lived, when in 
those Books concerning Divine Matters, which 
he dedicated to Caius Caesar, who was then 
Pontifex Maximus, he had made mention of the 
Quindecimviri, he says that the Sibylline Books 
did not belong to one Sibyl, but were therefore 
called by one name of Sibylline, because that all 
Female Prophetesses were by the Ancients 
named Sibyls, either from the real name of her 
of Delphi, or from their publishing the Directions 
of the Gods ; for in the iEolic dialect they 
called the Gods not so but otherwise, and 
called their directions as if the word Sibyl 
signified the direction of the gods." t 

Varro added : ''Now the Sibyls were in numbers 
ten, and he enumerated them all in agreement 
with the testimonies of those Authors who wrote 
of them distinctly. That the first of them was a 
Persian, of whom mention is made by Nicanor, 
who wrote a History of Alexander, King of 

* P. 120. t Pp. 129, 132. 


Macedonia ; that the second was a Libyan, of 
whom mention is made by Euripides in his 
Prologue to Lamico. That the third was of 
Delphi, whom Chrysippus speaks of in that book 
which he composed concerning Divination. 
That the fourth was a Cimmerian in Italy, who 
is named by Nevius in his Books of the Punic 
War, and by Piso in his Annals. That the 
fifth was the Erythraean!; of whom Apollodorus 
of Erythrae affirms that she was of the same 
City with him ; that she foretold to the Greeks, 
when they went to Iroz, that Iroz should be 
destroyed, and that Homer should write lies. 
That the sixth was the Samian of whom 
Erastosthenes wrote that he found some account 
of her in the ancient Annals of Samos. That the 
seventh was the Cuman, whose name was 
Amathea, but who was named Demophile, or 
Hierophile by others ; and that she it was who 
brought the nine books to Tarquinius Priscus, 
the King, and asked three hundred Philippics 
for them : that the King was so dissatisfied at 
the greatness of the price, that he laughed at 
the madness of the woman ; that she thereupon 
burnt three of the books in the King's presence, 
and yet asked the full price for the remainder. 
Whereupon the King looked on her as madder 


than before. She then burnt three more ; but 
still asked the same full price, upon which the 
King was so affected, that he gave her the whole 
three hundred Philippics for the remaining 
Books. The number of which was augmented 
afterward, upon the rebuilding of the Capitol ; 
because those verses, what Sibyl soever was 
their Author, were collected out of all the Cities 
both of Italy and Greece, especially those of 
Erythrse, and were brought to Rome. That 
the eighth was the Hellespontic, born in the 
district of Troy at a village called Marpessus, near 
the Town of Gergithium ; who, as Heraclides of 
Pontus writes, lived in the days of Solon and 
Cyrus. That the ninth was the Phrygian, who 
gave out her predictions in Ancyra. That the 
tenth was the Tiburtine whose name was 
Albunea, and who is worshipped as a Goddess 
near the banks of the River Anien ; at the 
downfall of whose waters her Image is said to 
have been found, with a book in her hand (and 
whose sacred ornaments the Senate transferred 
into the Capitol). The verses of all these Sibyls 
iare abroad, and in People's hands ; excepting 
I those of the Cumaen, whose books are concealed 
\ by the Romans. Nor is it thought lawful for 
j any to look upon them, but for the Quindecimviri. 


Every Sibyl has also a book of her own ; which 
because they are ascribed in general to the Sibyl, 
are believed to belong to one Woman. They 
are withal confused, so that one cannot distinguish 
them, nor tell to which every book distinctly 
belongs, excepting in the case of the Erythraen 
who has herself inserted her true name in the 
beginning of her book, though she owns she was 
born at Babylon. Moreover we also shall, with- 
out distinction, quote the Sibyl in general, when- 
ever we shall have occasion to make use of any 
of their testimonies. Now all these Sibyls 
declare there is but one God ; and especially the 
Erythraen, who is esteemed the most famous and 
noble Sibyl of all the rest ; as appears by this, 
that Fenestella, a most diligent writer, speaking 
of the Quindecimviri, says : ' When the Capitol 
was rebuilt, C. Curio, the Consul, referred it to 
the Senate, that legates might be sent to the 
Erythrae and seek out the verses of the Sibyl 
and bring them to Rome ; that accordingly, 
P. Gabinius, M. Octacilius, and L. Valerius were 
sent, and brought with them to Rome about one 
thousand verses, which had been transcribed by 
private persons. Which is the same account we 
have above had from Varro.' " 

And elsewhere Lactantius informs us, that 


not a few, and those great authors, have affirmed 
that the Sibyls were many in number ; as 
Aristonicus and Appollodorus of Erythrae among 
the Greeks, Varro and Fenestella among the 
Latins. All these take notice that the Erythraen 
was the chief for fame and reputation. Nay, 
Apollodorus values himself upon it that she was 
of the same City and people with him. And 
Fenestella relates withal that Legates were sent 
to Erythrai by the Senate in order to fetch the 
Sibyl's verses to Rome ; and that the Consuls 
Curio and Octavius took care they should be 
laid up in that Capitol, which by the care of 
Q. Catulus was then rebuilt.""* 

'' When Thebes was taken, the Victors having 
secured Daphne, the daughter of Tiresias, they 
devoted her to God, in compliance with a certain 
Vow they had made, and as the principal of their 
Spoils. When she was at Delphi, she who was 
already Mistress of her Father's Skill of Divina- 
tion equally with himself, augmented that Skill ; 
and being of wonderful natural abilities, she 
wrote all sorts of Oracles, and those of a different 
nature. From whom they say that Homer the 
Poet stole many of her Verses, and adorned his 
own Poem with them. Now because she was 
* Pp. 132, 133. 


frequently inspired, and delivered Oracles they 
say she was called Sibyl ; because in that 
language to be a Sibyl, and to be inspired, is 
all one.""^ 

** When you shall have sailed thither, and 
shall arrive at Cuma, at the Divine Lakes, and 
the sounding woods of Avernum, you will see the 
enthusiastic Prophetess, who at the bottom of 
the grotto sings the Fates of Mankind, and 
commits her marks and words to loose leaves, 
and then digests them into Order, and leaves 
them by themselves in the grotto ; where they 
remain immovable, every one in its place, with- 
out admitting any disorder. But as soon as the 
doors are opened, and the least breath of wind 
strikes upon them, and thereby the tender leaves 
are disordered, she never troubles herself to catch 
hold of them as they fly about the cave, to restore 
them to their situation, nor join them into a 
regular Poem. So the Enquirers go their way 
without success, and are greatly dissatisfied with 
this Sibyl's Seat." t 

*' But the pious ^neas goes to those Towers 
over which great Apollo presides, and to the vast 
and remote cave of the tremendous Sibyl, into 
whom Apollo of Delos inspires vast abilities of 

* Diodor. Sic. p. 60. f Virgil, pp. 121, 122. 


mind, and discovers future events. There is on 
the Enbaun Coast a vast Cave cut out of the 
Rock, into which open a hundred mouths, whence 
do proceed as many voices ; which are the answers 
of the Sibyl, ^neas was come to the entrance 
when the Virgin Prophetess said, ' 'Tis time to 
pray for revelations : the Divinity, the Divinity is 
present.' As she spake the words, at the very 
entrance, her countenance and colour changed, 
and her hair was disordered ; her breast heaved, 
and her violent passions swelled her : she seemed 
bigger than ordinary, and her voice appeared to 
be different from that of Mortals, upon this her 
immediate seizure by the Divinity. This Cumaen 
Sibyl did in this language sing after a terrible 
manner what was very intricate out of her retired 
cell, and groaned in her cave, involving true 
events in obscure words." — See Ovid, in p. 123. 
'' Sicilian Muses, let us sing of events still 
greater. All are not satisfied with low subjects ; 
and if we sing pastorals, let it be done in such a 
way as may be worthy of a Consul. The last 
age of the Cumaen verses is now coming : a 
great series of ages is now beginning anew. The 
Virgin herself is now returning : the reign of 
Saturn is now renewing : a new offspring is now 
sending down from Heaven. But do you, chaste 


Lucina, favour the birth of this child at whose 
fiativity the Iron Age will end, and the Golden 
Age will commence over all the world. Your 
Apollo now reigns. And certainly this honour 
of the Age, O Pollio, will take its rise under 
your Consulship : and thence will the famous 
months begin their Progress. Under this con- 
duct our wicked practices, if the footstep of any 
such shall remain still, shall be blotted out ; and 
the world cleared from the apprehensions which 
are caused by them. He shall be admitted to 
the life of the Gods, and converse with Heroes, 
and shall be seen by them, and shall rule the 
peaceable world with his Father's virtues. The 
Earth shall produce for you, O child, her smaller 
first-fruits, without toil. The she-goats will 
come home to you of themselves, with breasts 
full of milk : nor will the flocks have reason to 
fear the Lions. In your cradle you shall have 
flowers for your solace : the serpent shall be 
destroyed with the poisonous weeds, and the 
Assyrian sweet-smelling Flower shall grow and 
become common. However, as soon as you 
shall be able to read of the praiseworthy actions 
of the Heroes, and of the acts of your Father, and 
to know what virtue is, the Fields shall gradually 
ripen, the red grapes shall hang upon the very 


thorns ; and the hard Oak shall sweat Honey- 
dews. Yet will there be some remains of the 
old fraud, enough to induce men still to go to 
Sea in Ships, and to fortify Towns with walls, 
and to plough the field into Furrows. There 
will be then another Pilot, and another ship to 
carry warlike Heroes : there will also be other 
wars, and another Achilles shall be sent to Troy. 
But then when you are arrived at a confirmed 
Age the Pilot shall leave the sea ; nor shall 
merchant ships pass from one Country to 
another. Every Country shall bring forth all 
sorts of fruit ; there shall be no occasion of 
Harrows for the soil, or of pruning hooks for the 
vineyards ; the robust Countryman shall have no 
occasion to Yoke his Oxen any longer. Nor 
shall Wool stand in need of any adulteration of 
its native colour : the Rams in the fields shall 
change the colour of their Fleeces, sometimes 
into scarlet, and sometimes into safron, and the 
purple shall spread itself over the Lambs as they 
are feeding. The unanimous and inflexible 
Parcse have decreed it. Let such Ages as these 
run on : Do you then, O ! dearest offspring of 
the Divinity, and son of Jupiter, now the time is 
so near, enter upon your most honourable state. 
Look how the present world, composed of the 


high Heaven, the Earth and the Sea is tottering 
with its own vast unwieldy bulk ! Look, how all 
things rejoice upon the prospect of this new Age ! 
Oh that the last period of my Age and of my 
breath might hold out long enough to celebrate 
your actions ! " etc.^ 

** I do but repeat," says Dionysius of Hallicar- 
nassus, after his account of the Capitoline Sibyls 
before alleged, pp. 7, 11, 12, 23, 24, ''what 
Terentius Varro has given an account of in his 
Treatise of Divine Matters." (Note that I omit 
here some Testimonies already alleged, p. 
464, etc.) t 

'* Moreover the entire coast which is now 
called Italy was devoted to that God, and called 
Saturnia by the inhabitants, as one may observe 
in certain of the Sibylline Books, and in other 
oracles derived from the Gods." J 

That ^neas and the Trojans came to Italy, 
all the Roman authors assure us ; and so do the 
Solemnities used in their Sacrifices, and Festivals, 
as also the Sibylline and Pythic Oracles ; and 
many other indications there are of the same, 
which no one ought to overlook, or suppose to 
be figured for its credit only. (See five more 
passages out of this Dionysius, pp. 468, 469, 470 ; 
* Iclog. IV. t P. 467. I P. 467. 


six out of Plutarch, pp. 471-475, relating to the 
Capitoline Sibyl; out of Livy, pp. 479, etc.)"^ 

Suidas says, that Herophila, who is the 
same with the Erythraen Sibyl, the daughter of 
Theodorus, writes in Epic verse three books of 
Divination, and came to Rome in the time of the 
Consuls, as some say ; as others, in the time of 
Tarquin ; pretending to give oracles by them. 
But when she was despised, she burnt two of the 
books which she had brought with her. How- 
ever, one that remained was preserved ; which 
was purchased by the Romans at a great price, t 

In the time of the Expedition of the Argo- 
nauts, the Erythraen Sibyl gave oracles among 
the Greeks, at which time Tros, the father of 
Illus and Ganymedes, reigned in Phrigia, p. 495. 
See there another testimony of Suidas belonging 
to the Capitoline Sibyl. I 

Strabo says that Sibyl, one of the inspired 
and prophetic women among the Ancients, was 
of Erythrea ; and there was another such 
Prophetess as she of the same City in the days 
of Alexander who was called Athenais. § 

And elsewhere, I have, says he, spoken so 
largely about Ammon, that I shall add but a little 
more ; and it is this, that Divination in general 
* Pp. 467, 468. t P. 494. t P. 494- § P- 93- 


and Oracles were among the Ancients in greater 
honour ; whereas they are now in small Reputa- 
tion. The Romans being satisfied with the 
Sibylline Oracles, the Tuscan Auguries, and 
those by entrails. Birds, and by signs from 
Heaven that the Erythraen Athenais spake 
about Nobility, that she was like the Ancient 
Erythraen Sibyl.^ 

Pliny says : '* There was a Divine Power, and 
a certain most noble Society with the Gods in 
the Sibyl among women ; among men, in 
Melampus for the Greeks, and in Marcius for 
the Romans, t 

''And elsewhere, indeed I don't wonder that 
there are statues of the Sibyl by the Forum, 
although they be three in number : one which they 
say Pacuvius Taurus, the ^Edile of the People, 
and two which M. Mossala restored." + 

Solinus says: "AtCuma is Sibyl's Chapel, 
her I mean, who was at Rome in the fiftieth 
Olympiad, and whose book was consulted by our 
Pontifices till the days of Cornelius Sylla : for 
then it was consumed by Fire, together with 
the Capitol, while the two other Books were 
burnt by herself, because Tarquinius Superbus 
offered her a smaller price than she required for 
* Pp. 63, 64. t P. 126. + P. 126. 


them. Her Sepulchre remains still in Sicily. 
Bocchus supposes that the Delphic Sibyl 
prophesied before the war of Troy, and he 
makes it plain that Homer inserted many of her 
verses into his work. Several years after her 
followed Heriphile Erythrea, and was called 
Sibyl from the resemblance there was between 
them in Science. She it was who, among other 
remarkable things, gave notice long before the 
thing happened : that the People of Lesbos 
should lose the dominion of the Sea. So the 
Series of Chronology proves that the Cuman 
Sibyl comes after them in the third place." ^ 

Juvenal says, " I commend him for his 
intention of settling at Cuma, which is now thin 
of inhabitants ; and that he will thereby become 
one of the Sibyl's Citizens." t 

'' And elsewhere, what I have just now pro- 
posed is not a bare opinion. 'Tis certainly true, 
I would have you receive it as you would do a 
leaf of the Sibyls." + 

Plutarch says : '' I made the same answer 
about the Sibylline Oracles. For as we stood 
over against that Stone which was near the 
Court, upon which, as the Report goes, the first 
Sibyl, who came from Helicon, and had been 
* Pp. 126, 137. t P. 127. I P. 127. 


brought up by the Muses, sat ; (tho' some say 
she came to Malcon ; and that she was the 
daughter of Lamia, who was herself the daughter 
of Neptune). Serapion made mention of the 
verses in which she sung of herself, as tho' she 
would not cease to divine even when she were 
dead ; but that she would walk about in the 
Moon ; and become that which we call the Face 
of the Moon, and that she would, as a spirit, 
intermix herself with the air and become famous 
for predictions there ; that she would transform 
herself from a body, and become Herbs and such 
like vegetable matter, for the feeding of the 
sacred animals, such as should be of various 
colours and shapes and qualities as to their 
entrails, from whence would arise the foretelling 
of future events to men. Upon this Boethus did 
more openly laugh at such things. But Zous 
replied, Altho' this be very like to a Fable, yet," 
etc., etc. (as before, pp. 57, 58)."^ 

*' And again, the Sibyls and the Bacchides cast 
out such uncertain Predictions at random, in a 
careless manner, and scattered about expressions 
and descriptions as they came into their heads, of 
all sorts of calamities and events ; some of which 
when they came to pass by chance, were yet 
* Pp. 64, etc» 


falsities when they were spoken, although perhaps 
they by good fortune really happened afterwards. 
When Boethus had argued thus, Serapion replied, 
Your assertion is true, with regard to such 
events as are spoken of indefinitely and without 
distinction ; such as these, when victory is 
promised to a General and he overcomes ; or 
when a City is besieged it is foretold that it will 
be taken, and it is taken. But when the event is 
not only mentioned, but the manner how, and 
the time when, and the occasion whereby, and the 
assistance by whom the event will happen that is 
foretold, this is not a conjectural guess at what 
perhaps may be, but the foretelling of an event 
that will certainly come — we may observe that 
several proper names are hidden by some other 
appellation : thus, Herophile, the Erythraen, who 
was a Prophetess, was called Sibyl. "^ 

Elian says : " There were Four Sibyls, the 
Erythraen, the Samian, the Egyptian, and the 
Sardinian. Some say there were six others of 
them, and that they amounted to ten in all ; 
among which were the Cumaen and the Judean."t 

Pausanias says : "There is a prominent stone 
at Delphi, upon which the inhabitants say a 
Woman, by name Herophile, by appellation 
* Pp. 68, 69, 70, 71. t Pp. 68, 69, 70, 71. 


anciently called Sibyl, stood and chanted her 
oracles. I have observed that she was as ancient 
as any other Sibyl whomsoever. The Greeks 
affirm she was the daughter of Jupiter and Lamia, 
who was herself the daughter of Neptune ; and 
that she was the first woman who delivered 
Oracles and Verses ; and they say she was named 
Sibyl by the Africans. But that this Herophile, 
who was later than the other, appears however to 
have herself been before the War of Troy. She 
also signified beforehand in her predictions that 
Helena should be educated at Sparta for the 
destruction of Asia and Europe ; and that Troy 
should be taken on her account by the Greeks. 
The people of Delos make mention of the Hymns 
of this woman upon Apollo. She calls herself in 
her Poem not only Herophile, but Diana also ; 
nay, sometimes she says she is the Wife, some- 
times the sister and sometimes the daughter, of 
Apollo. And all this she does in her Enthusiastic 
Fury and under inspiration, etc. Now the 
people of Alexandra say that she was the Temple- 
keeper of Apollo Smintheus, that she was rightly 
expounding the Dream of Hecuba in her oracles, 
which we know was fulfilled. This very Sibyl 
lived the greatest part of her life at Samos, but 
came to Clarus, a City of the Colophonians, as 


also to Delos and Delphi : to which last place 
when she came, she stood and chanted upon this 
stone," etc."^ 

Stephanus says thus : *' Georgis, a City of 
Troy, from whence sprang the Georgithian Sibyl, 
that gave oracles ; who is engraved, and the Sphinx 
with her, on the coins of the Georgithians, as 
Phlegon affirms in his first Olympiad. They say, 
farther, that Sibyl's sepulchre is in the Temple of 
Apollo. Merve, a City of Troy, whence came the 
Erythraen Sibyl, for the colour of the City was 
red as the word Erythrae implies. 

Eustachius, upon Homer, affirms that Arrian 
said that Dardanus, coming from Samothracia, 
married Neso and Bateano, the daughters of the 
King ; that by Neso he had Sibyl the Prophetess 
for his daughter, from whom all the other 
Prophetic women were called Sibyls ; not as 
being related to her by blood, but as enjoying the 
name from the resemblance there was between 
their Divine inspirations, t 

Hermias, upon Plato, says : There are such 
very strange things said of the Sibyls, that one 
is ready to look upon them to be fables. 
However, the Sibyls were not a few ; all of them 
embracing the same way of a Prophetic life ; and 
* P. 72, etc. t Pp. 72, 103. 


for some particular reason it was, probably, that 
they all chose the appellation of Sibyls. As it 
was the case of Hermes Trismegistus, who is said 
to have come into Egypt three times, to remember 
himself again, and that he was called Hermes as 
far as the third time. It is also reported that 
there were several Orphei among the Thracians. 
'Tis therefore not improbable that all these 
women chose to have these appellations on 
account of some communion or remembrance, 
since this very Sibyl of Erythra of which we are 
discoursing was at first called Eriphyle. They 
say that when she first came out, she foretold by 
every one's name what should befall them, and 
delivered it in verse, and that after some time she 
recovered her human form again. 

Suidas has so many and such variety of 
accounts of the Sibyls, from the several elder 
authors he transcribed from, and is so large, 
that I omit them. (See from pp. 104 to 114.) 

Cedrenus notes that (besides the Queen of 
Sheba, whom he reckons among the Sibyls) the 
Cuma Sibyl was famous under Amaziah the son 
of Joath, the Samonean under Josias, and the 
Samian under Darius the son of Abbyagas. ^ 

Agiathas says that it was the common tradi- 
^ P. 115, 116. 



tion that the Sibyl foretold to ^neas the son of 
Anchises, when he applied himself to her, all 
the things which should afterwards befall him. 

Jamblicus aims to give an account of the 
manner of the Delphic Sibyl's delivering her 
Heathen Oracles, pp. ii8, 119; but as his testi- 
mony being very late, adds very little to our 
purpose, I omit it here. 

Strabo, quoting two verses now in our Sibyl- 
line Oracles, pp. 60-61, priuSy prefaces it both times 
thus : '' There is an oracle that is said to have been 
given as follows."^ Oeog., lib. i, p. 91 ; lib. 12, 
p. 810. 

Josephus, the Jew, quotes the genuine Sibyl 
in these words : ''Of this Tower (of Babel) and 
of the confusion of Languages among Men, Sibyl 
also makes mention, saying thus : * When all men 
were of one language, some of them built a very 
high Tower, as if they would thereby ascend up 
to Heaven, but the Gods sent Storms of Wind 
and overturned the Tower, and gave every one 
his peculiar language ; and for this reason it was 
that the City was called Babylon.' " Only it is 
remarkable that in this, and only this, quotation 
we have the word gods in the plural, and that in 
this, and only in this, quotation, we have the 
^ P. 118. 


Sibylline text set down in prose : the occasions of 
either of which things I shall not here inquire 
into, because I see no foundation for any satis- 
faction about them."^ 

The Apostolical Constitutions quote the 
Sibyl thus : " If the Gentiles laugh at us, and 
disbelieve our Scriptures, let at least their own 
Prophetess Sibyla oblige them to believe, who 
says thus to them in express words : ' But when 
all things shall be soot and ashes,' etc., as before, 
p. 67. 'If, therefore, this Prophetess confesses 
the Resurrection, and does not deny the restora- 
tion of all things, and distinguishes the godly 
from the ungodly, 'tis in vain for them to deny 
our doctrine.' " t 

The author of the Questions and Answers to 
the Orthodoxy, among the works of Justin, quotes 
this, or a parallel place in Clement elsewhere, but 
now lost in these words : '' That the end of the 
present constitution of things is that Judgment 
upon the wicked which is to be by Fire, 
the Scriptures of the Prophets and Apostles 
affirm, as does also that of the Sibyl, according 
to the quotation of Clement in his Epistle 

* Antiq. lib. i, c. 5, p. 12, etc. Euseb. praep. Evang. 
lib. 9, c. 15, p. 416. 
t Lib. 5, § 7. 


to the Corinthians, Quest. 74, pp. 435 and 


'' Hermas brings in an angel, saying to him, 
Who do you think that ancient woman was who 
gave you the Httle book? I said, the Sibyl! 
He replied, you are mistaken, it is not she! 
Who is it then, sir? said I. He said, the Church 
of God ! " 

St Paul himself is introduced in that very old 
book called ... as the passage is preserved in 
Clement of Alexandria, addressing himself thus 
to the Heathen: "Take, moreover, into your 
hands the Greek books : consider the Sibyl, how 
she declares one God, and foretells future 

Justin Martyr says thus, in his Cohortation 
to the Greeks, Edit. Hutchins, § 15, pp. 79, 80, 
81 : "It is necessary to put you in mind what it 
is that that very ancient woman, the Sibyl, whom 
Plato and Aristophanes, and many others 
mention as one that delivered oracles in verse, 
teaches you in those oracles concerning only one 
God. Her words are these : " [then follow three 
of his quotations already noted, pp. 44, 52 ; 
and afterwards more largely, thus — Cohortat.t 
§§ 39, 40, 41, 42, pp. 124-129]. "You may 

* Clem. Stram. VI., p. 636. f Pp. 83, 95. 


early learn the true worship of God in part from 
the ancient Sibyl, who, from a certain powerful 
inspiration teaches you by her oracles even such 
things as seem very near to the doctrine of the 
Prophets themselves. Now, they say that she 
came from Babylon, and was the daughter of 
Berosus, who wrote the Chaldean History, but 
that, on some occasion or other, she came to 
Campania, and did there deliver her oracles in a 
certain city called Cuma, six miles from Baiae, 
the place of the Campanian baths. We our- 
selves saw a certain place, when we were in that 
city, where we found a vast room hewn out of 
one rock of stone. It was a surprising sight, 
and well worthy of the highest admiration. 
Here it was, according to the tradition of the 
inhabitants, which came down to them from their 
ancestors, that she delivered her oracles. They 
showed us three cisterns hewn out of the same 
stone, wherein, when they were filled with water, 
they told us that she bathed, after which she 
put on her garment, and went into the inmost 
apartment of the whole room, which itself also 
was hewn out of the same stone, and that she sat 
in the middle of the apartment on a high seat or 
throne, and in this manner delivered her oracles. 
Now there are many of the several sorts of 


writers who make mention of this Sibyl as of a 
Prophetess, even Plato himself in his Phaedrus. 
Nay, I believe that it was upon Plato's lighting 
upon her oracles, that he gives the Deliverers of 
Oracles the character of Divine Persons : as find- 
ing the events which she had anciently foretold 
to have been really fulfilled afterwards. And on 
this account it was, that in that discourse which 
he wrote to Meno, he commended the deliverers 
of oracles in these words : ' She may very well 
call those whom we now name givers of oracles. 
Divine Persons. Those also that are inspired, 
that have an Enthusiastic Impetus, and are over- 
ruled by the Divinity, may be also called 
divine ; while they rightly discover many and 
great things, without being conscious of what 
they say.' This was said with a clear and open 
reference to the oracles of the Sibyls. For it 
was not with her as with the Poets, who had 
the ability of correcting their Poems after they 
were written, and of nicely polishing them to the 
exactness of poetic measures ; but she completed 
her Prophecies during the time of her inspiration : 
but when the inspiration was over, the remem- 
brance of what she said and did was gone. 
And from hence it is that the Sibylline Oracles 
do not observe all the measures of Epic verses. 


For we ourselves, when we were in that city, 
were showed by those that went about with us 
and pointed to us the several places wherein she 
delivered her prophetic verses, that there was 
still remaining a Coffin made of brass, wherein 
her relics were preserved. And among other 
things, they informed us, that they had heard 
from their ancestors, that those who received the 
oracles from her, did often, through unskilfulness, 
make mistakes as to the accuracy of the numbers ; 
and they affirmed that this was the occasion why 
some of the verses were so imperfect : viz., that 
the Prophetess herself, after the impulse and 
inspiration was over, did not remember what she 
had said, and that the Notaries fell short of the 
accuracy of the verses on account of their 
unskilfulness. Wherefore, it is evident that it 
was on this account that Plato, when he had 
regard to these Oracles of the Sibyl, said, as 
before, concerning such Prophetesses, I mean in 
this passage : * While they rightly discover many 
and great things, without being conscious of 
what they say.' But then, because (I speak it 
to you Greeks) the business of true religion is 
not placed in poetical measures, nor in that 
learning which is in such great esteem among 
you, let us now, for the future, lay aside the 


nicety of Measures and of expression ; and let 
us, without farther wrangling about those things, 
attend to the things themselves which she says ; 
and do you own how great the advantages are 
which you may receive by her, when she does so 
plainly and clearly foretell the advent of our 
Saviour, Jesus Christ, who, being that Word of 
God, whose Power is undivided from Him, took 
upon Him that human nature which was formed 
after the image and likeness of God, and recalled 
to our mind that Religion which was planted 
among our early Progenitors ; which the later 
generations of men derived from them had 
forsaken, at the suggestion of the wicked Daemon, 
and so had turned them to the worship of those 
which were no Gods. If, therefore, O you 
Grecians, you don't prefer some false imagination 
about your fictitious Gods, before you own 
Salvation, be advised of this exceeding ancient 
Sibyl, whose books have, by good fortune, been 
preserved over all the world, when she instructs 
you from her powerful inspiration by her oracles, 
that those that are called Gods are not so, but 
has plainly and clearly foretold what concerns 
the (then) future Advent of our Saviour, Jesus 
Christ, and the several things which were to be 
done by Him. For this knowledge will be a 


necessary Preparative to the Understanding of 
the Predictions of the holy Prophets." 

And in his famous first Apology, Edit. Grab. 
§ 27, pp. ;^S, 39, he has these words : ** Moreover, 
both Sibyl and Hystaspes affirmed that corrup- 
tible things were to be consumed by Fire. (See 
before, p. 66, and again § 59, pp. Sy, 88.) By the 
power of the wicked Demons it has come to pass, 
that the Penalty of Death has been decreed 
against those that read the books of Hystaspes 
or of Sibyl or of the Prophets, that they might 
affright men that light of them from the know- 
ledge of what is good ; but may retain them in a 
state of Slavery to themselves : which yet at last 
they have not been able to do, for we do not only 
procure those Books for our own perusal, but as 
you see we offer them to your consideration also, 
as sensible their contents must be agreeable to all 

Athenagoras Legat says. Edit. De Chair. 
§ 26, pp. 119, 120: ** The Sibyl of whom Plato 
makes mention says, ' And then the tenth 
generation of Mankind,' " etc. — pp. 10, \\, prius, 

Theophilus of Antioch reckons the Sibyl 
among the Prophets for the Greeks, as he does 
those in Scripture for the Jews, — Ad Autolyc. 
L. II, p. Z%, 


And elsewhere he quotes a famous passage 
out of them with this introduction: "The Sibyl 
declared that confusion of Languages, when she 
foretold the Punishment that would come upon 
the world, in these words : ** But when the 
Threats of the Great God," etc., pp. lo, ii, prius. 
And a little after, pp. 112, 113, 114, when he sets 
down at large the proem which, indeed, so far as 
it is extant, seems chiefly owing to this citation 
as not appearing in the ordinary MSS. of the 
Sibylline Oracles themselves, he prefaces to it in 
this manner, ''And besides the Jewish Prophets, 
the Sibyl, who was a Prophetess among the 
Greeks, and the other Gentile Nations, in the 
very beginning of her Prophecy upbraids Man- 
kind in these words : ' O ! Mortal, Carnal and 
vile men,' " etc., etc., pp. 2, -^.prius. And after all 
concludes : " Now it is plain that these things are 
true, profitable, right, and amiable among all 

And soon after, p. 116, he says: ''These 
threatenings for the last day, both Sibyl and the 
other Prophets have delivered."^ 

Clement of Alexandria, in his Protepticon, 
p. 17, when he had cited those verses of the 
Sibyl in the Proem, " You walk in pride and 
■* Lib. II, p. 107. 


madness," etc., etc., pp. 4, ^, prius, adds, " This is 
the advice of the Prophetic, as well as the 
Poetic Sibyl." And a little after he says, pp. 14, 
15, '* I will produce the Prophetess Sibylla to 
inform you " : and then he cites those verses, 
'* Which is not Interpreter of Phoebus," etc., pp. 52, 
^-^^ prius, and those, '*0 Isis ! the unfortunate 
goddess," etc., pp. 70, 71, prius, and those that 
follow almost immediately, **And thou Serapis," 
etc., pp. 72, "JZ^prius ; and then adds, '* But if you 
will not hear the Prophetess," etc. And a little 
after, p. 21, ''Whence came the son of Gryllus to 
say so ? Was it from that Prophetess of the 
Hebrews who gave this oracle 1 For what 
Flesh can behold," etc., pp. 2, i, prius. 

And still later in the same book, pp. 22, 23, 
** Let us therefore hear the Prophetess, the first 
Sibyl, chanting out her Song of Salvation. 
Behold he is manifest to all," etc — pp. 4, 5, etc., 
prius ; and then he adds : *' It was divinely done 
of her to resemble Error to Darkness, and the 
Knowledge of God to the Sun and the Light." 

The same Clement, in the first book of his 
Stromata, gives us this account of the Sibyls, 
p. 131 :— 

'' Heraclitus says, that the Sibyl appeared to 
act not by a human but by a divine Power. 


They farther say, that there is shewed a certain 
stone at Delphi, near the Senate House, upon 
which stone it is reported that the first Sibyl sat 
when she was come from Helicon, where she had 
been brought up by the Muses. But some say 
that she came from Malea, and was the daughter 
of Lamia by Sidon. Nay, Serapion says in his 
Poem, that the Sibyl did not leave off delivering 
Oracles when she was dead ; and that it is a 
Power derived from her that after her Decease 
went into the Air, and became the Power of 
divination by Omens and Sooth-sayings : that 
her body was turned into Earth, and grew up, 
as you may suppose, into Herbs ; and they write, 
that all the brute beasts which are upon the 
place, and feed upon the same, do exactly foretell 
future events to men by their Entrails ; while he 
imagines that her soul is that Face which appears 
in the Moon. And so much concerning the 
Sibyl."* (See pp. 89, 90, prius.) 

And in the same book afterwards, p. 139: 
*• Nor," says he, ** was Moses alone ancienter than 
Orpheus, but even the Sibyl was so. The 
Reports, which are not a few, contain things also 
concerning her Denomination, and concerning 
those Oracles which are ascribed to her, that 
* P. 96. 


she was of Phrygia, and was called Diana, and 
that when she came to Delphi, she chanted these 
verses, O Delphi ! the worshippers of potent 
Apollo ! I am come to deliver you the Oracles 
of the great Jupiter, as being angry with my near 
relation Apollo. There is also another Sibyl 
called Herophile, both of whom are made mention 
of by Heraclides Ponticus, in his Book of Oracles. 
I omit the Egyptian, and the Italian which last 
inhabited the Carmontal at Rome ; whose son 
was Evander, he who built the Temple of Pan, 
which was called Lupercal.""^ 

And afterwards in the same Book, p. 144, 
he says, '* With the whole multitude of the Sibyls, 
the Samian, the Colophonian, the Cumaean, the 
Erythrean," etc. 

Tertullian says thus of the Sibyl ; Ad Nation, 
lib. II, c. 12, pp. 75, 76: ''The Sibyl was 
Ancienter than all the Heathen Learning ; that 
Sibyl, I mean, who, as a true Prophetess, fore- 
told real Events ; and whose words you have put 
into the mouths of your Prophets for the 
Daemons ; this woman declares the Stock and 
Acts of Saturn in Hexameter, to this purpose : 
In the tenth generation of men, after the Deluge 
which happened to their forefathers, reigned 

* P. 99. 


Saturn and Titan and Jampetus (Japetus), the 
most potent sons of the Earth and Heaven." 

Note. — The testimonies of Origen, Lac- 
tantius, and Constantine the Emperor, have 
been already considered, and need not be here 
set down. The genuine ones of Eusebius are no 
more than his setting down that out of Josephus, 
and one out of Clement of Alexandria. For as 
for that of Constantine already mentioned, which 
so many ascribe to Eusebius, it no other way 
belongs to him than the other parts of the 
Emperor's writings which occur in his History, 
or than any other oration occurring in any other 
history belongs to the historian who sets it 

Note also, that these few Sibylline verses 
quoted by Lactantius, are wanting in our present 
copies ; and that no other verses, cited by the 
ancient authors that could well belong to the 
genuine Sibyls seem to be wholly wanting in our 
present copies. 

''When the Fire comes, there shall be dark- 
ness in the black night." 

" Hear me, O ! ye mortals ! an Eternal King 
shall reign." 


Soli Deo 077inis laus et gloria. 


Agiathas, i6i 

Ambrose, St, 1 8, 36, 88 

Anthony, St, 14 

Antoninus, St, of Florence, 25, 81 

Apollodorus of Erythrae, 145, 148 

Aristonicus, 148 

Aristophanes, 141 

Aristotle, 142 

Arnobius, 14, 89 

Athenagoras, 36, 39, 80, 169 

Augustine, St, i, 13, 14, 25, 31, 36, 

44, 45, 52, 63, 86, 88, 89, 92 
Aurelian, 32, 33 

Baronius, Cardinal, 36 
Bede, Venerable, 36 
Bellarmine, Cardinal, 36 
Bernardino de Busto, 15, 87 
Betuleius, Xistus, 89 
Boccacio, John, 85 
Bocchus, 156 
Boethus, 157, 158 
Bozio, Thomas, 25 

Canisius, Father, 20, 23, 26, 89, 90 

Catulus, Quintus, 148 

Cedrenus, 161 

Cesariente, 89 

Chrysippus, 145 

Cicero, 9, 28, 40, 54, 90, 143 

Claudianus, 4 

Clement, St, Pope, 36 

Clement, St, of Alexandria, 36, 40, 

83, 85, 163, 170, 171 
Constantine the Great, 31, 41, 46, 



Covarrubias, 88 

David, King, 18 
Diodorus Siculus, 12, 84 
Dionysius of Hallicamassus, 153 

Elianus, 86, 158 

Ennius, poet, 29, 30 

Erastosthenes, 59, 145 

Euripides, 57, 145 

Eusebius of Caesarea, 36, 79, 80, 87 

Eustachius, 160 

Fenestela, 89, 147, 148 
Firmianus, Lactantius, 2, 25 
Flaccianus, Pro-consul, 45 
Flavius Vopiscus, 84 
Fulgentius, St, 12 

Genebrakdo, Gilbert, i, 90 
Gonzaga, Father Fray Francisco, 17 

Heraclides of Pontus, 146, 171 

Heraclitus, 141 

Hermias, 160 

Herodotus, 127 

Homer, 25, 87 

Horozco, John de, 88 

Hydaspes, 39 

IsAIAS, prophecy of, 67 
Isidore, St, of Seville, 36 

Jamblicus, 162 

Jerome, St, 36, 49, 83, 85, 86, 87, 89 

John Damascene, St, 36 


Josephus, 35, 162 

Julian the Apostate, 84 

Justin Martyr, St, 36, 37, 83, 88, 

163, 164 
Justin, St, 14, 79 
Juvenal, 91, 156 

Lactantius, 31, 36, 40, 46, 47, 
49, 78, 79, 80, 84, 86, 89, 91, 144, 

Lucan, 92 

Marcianus Capella, 86 
Metaphrastes, Simeon, 48 

Nevius, 145 
Nicanor, I, 144 
Nicephorus, 22 

Onuphrius, 36 
Optat, St, 36 
Orosius, Paul, 13 

Palladius, 36 

Panuino, Onufrio, 92 

Pausanias, 158 

Pineda, 17 

Piso, 145 

Plato, 142, 166, 167, 169 

Plato, quoted by Justin Martyr, 37 

Pliny, 9, 86, 155 

Plutarch, 131, 136, 156 

Prosper, St, 36 

Serapion, 157, 158, 172 
Servius, Honoratus, 14, 84 
Sibyls — 

Agripina, also called Egypcia, 

Agrippa, and Sanbera, 21, 62 
Cumana, also called Amalthea, 
Heropila, and Demophile, 8, 

Cumea, also called Italica,Cimeria, 

Cimmeria, 58 

Sibyls — 

Delphica, also called Themis, 

Anthemis, and Sybila, 6, 57 
Erithrea, also called Heriphile 
and Babylonica, 24, 40, 41, 43, 
45, 46, 47, 49, 54, 63, 66, 84, 
88, 89, 91 
Europa, 10, 61 
Hellespontica, 23, 60 
Libica, also called Bybissa or 

Elisa, 5, 57 
Persica, also called Chaldea and 

Helrea, i, 56 
Phrygia, 20, 60 
Sambetha, i 
Samia, also called Heriphila, 22, 

49, 59 
Tiburtina, proper name Albumea 
or Italica, 16, 61 
Simon Magus, 139 
Sixtus of Siena, Pope, 5, 36 
Solinus, 155 
Solymus, 115 
Sozomeno, 22 
Stephanus, 160 
Strabo, 87, 92, 154, 162 
Suetonius, 33, 34, 35 
Suydas, 22, 85, 155, 161 

Tacitus, 33, 34, 35 

Tertullian, 36, 80, 173 

Theodore, St, 91 

Theophilus of Antioch, 36, 39, 40, 

66, 80, 169 
Thomas Aquinas, St, 36, 88 

Varro, Marcus, lo, 40, 45, 49, 54, 

84,85,87,91, 144, 153 
Virgil, 14, 15, 30,48, 54, 59 
Vital, Cardinal, 18 
Vuadigno, Father Fray Lucas, 17 
Vervost, 80 

Zacharias, prophet, 1 1 
Zosimus, 41 







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