What does "sybil" mean?

1 Answer | Add Yours

booboosmoosh's profile pic

booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

[eNotes editors are only permitted to answer one question per posting. If you have additional questions, please post them separately.]

A sybil, in Roman mythology, was a woman who was referred to as a "prophetess," or one that could tell the future. In fact, "sybil," comes from the Latin word "sibylla," which means "prophetess." The Cumaean Sibyl is perhaps the most well-known of all the sibyls.

The ageless Cumaean Sibyl was the priestess presiding over the Apollonian oracle at Cumae, a Greek colony located near Naples, Italy.

Virgil's stories of the Cumaean Sibyl were so popular with the Romans that the previous prophetess in Greek mythology, the Erythraean Sibyl, was displaced.

The Cumaean Sibyl was a very popular source of inspiration for many famous artists, including Michelangelo, who painted her image on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican in Rome.

The Cumaean Sibyl prophesied by “singing the fates” and writing on oak leaves.

She also led visitor through the underworld, also known as Hades, including Aeneas from Virgil's Aeneid.

 

We’ve answered 318,911 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question