Sibyls and Sibylline Prophecy in Classical Antiquity, first published in 1988, is an authoritative account of a subject rarely treated in recent decades and difficult to access for non-specialists.
A considerable number of books of prophecies went under the generic title of Sibylline Oracles, which rulers consulted in times of crisis, the most famous literary example being the Cumaean Sibyl’s advice to Aeneas. But in fact the Sibyls were unusual from other oracles in several respects; most characteristically, they composed discursive verses for distribution to the world at large, as opposed to specific answers to individual inquirers. They thus came to be associated with the interpretation of recent history as much as the discernment of prognoses for the future.
In his pursuit of the often elusive Sibyls the author ranges from Heraclitus to Eusebius, from Archaic Asia Minor to Christian Rome, illuminating religion, poetry and politics in the ancient world.
Table of Contents
Preface; List of Abbreviations 1. The Characteristics of Sibylline Oracles 2. The Ancient Scholarly Sources for the Identity of Sibyls 3. Archaic Sibyls of Eastern Greece 4. Cumae 5. The Sibyl in the Classical Period 6. The Sibyl in the Hellenistic Period 7. The Sibyl in Pagan Rome 8. The Sibyl in Christian Literature; Appendices: I. The Theologoi II. The Libri Sibyllini III. Ecstatic Prophecy in the Near East; Bibliography; Index