Sibyl was the prophetess of classical antiquity
presiding over the Apollonian oracle at Erythrae, a town in Ionia
opposite Chios, which was built by Neleus, the son of Codrus.
Sibyl as a floor mosaic in the Cathedral of Siena
Sibyl comes (via Latin) from the ancient Greek word sibylla,
meaning prophetess. Sibyls would give answers whose value depended
upon good questions — unlike prophets, who typically answered with
responses indirectly related to questions asked.
Presumably there was more than one sibyl at Erythrae. One is recorded
as having been named Herophile,. At least one is said to have been
from Chaldea, a nation in the southern portion of Babylonia, being the
Berossus (who wrote the Chaldean history) and Erymanthe.
Apollodorus of Erythrae, however, says that one who was his own
countrywoman predicted the
Trojan War and prophesied to the Greeks
both that Troy would be destroyed and that
Homer would write
The term acrostic has been applied to the prophecies of the Erythraean
Sibyl, which were written on leaves and arranged so that the initial
letters of the leaves always formed a word.
In Christian iconography the Erythraean
Sibyl is credited with
prophesying the coming of the Redeemer, which prophesy was in the form
of an acrostic whose initial letters spelled out "ΙΗΣΌΎΣ
ΧΡΕΙΣΤΟΣ ΘΕΟΥ ΎΊΟΣ ΣΩΤΗΡ ΣΤΑΎΡΟΣ" ("Jesus
Christ, God's Son, Savior, Cross). Examples were in mediaeval
paintings in Salisbury cathedral, and others are shown in the
illustrations on this page.
^ Giovanni Boccaccio’s Famous Women translated by Virginia Brown
2001; Cambridge and London, Harvard University Press;
ISBN 0-674-01130-9; p. 42
^ Blake, Barry J. (2011). Secret Language. Oxford University Press.
p. 20. ISBN 978-0199691623. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
Erythrae and the Prophetic Acrostic of Christ",
full-of-grace-and-truth.blogspot.com, January 23, 2010.
^ Modern Gothic by Alexander Murray: Times Literary Supplement 24
October 2008 page 8.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to
Sibyl of Erythre.
Lactantius, Divinae institutiones I.6.8, 14
Augustine, De civitate dei xviii.23