sibyl

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sibyl a woman in ancient times supposed to utter the oracles and prophecies of a god; in later times the number of sibyls was usually given as ten, living at different times and places in Asia, Africa, Greece, and Italy. Among them were the Erythraean Sibyl, who was said to have prophesied to Hecuba, and the Cumaean Sibyl, said in Virgil's Aeneid to have been visited by Aeneas.

It was the Cumaean Sibyl who was said to have offered nine books of oracles to Tarquin the Proud (see Tarquinius), the last king of Rome; when he repeatedly refused to pay the price she asked, she burned six of the nine Sibylline books before his eyes.

She was also said to have asked the god Apollo for longevity, which was granted, but to have forgotten at the same time to ask for eternal youth; a character in Petronius's Satyricon says that he has seen her in her extreme old age.
Sibylline books books containing the prophecies of the Cumaean Sibyl, three of which she supposedly sold to Tarquinus Superbus, king of ancient Rome, at the price of the original nine.

sibyl

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sib·yl / ˈsibəl/ • n. a woman in ancient times supposed to utter the oracles and prophecies of a god. ∎ poetic/lit. a woman able to foretell the future.DERIVATIVES: sib·yl·line / ˈsibəˌlīn; -ˌlēn/ adj.

Sibyl

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Sibyl

General term for a prophetess. The original Sibyl was believed to have lived in Asia Minor in the seventh century B.C.E. , but three centuries later various sibyls were claimed in different parts. Sibylline prophecies in hexameters ascribed to Sibyl were current in classical Greece and were referred to by Aristophanes and Plato.

Sibyl

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Sibyl Prophetess of Greek and Roman mythology. The Sibyl of Cumae offered nine books of her prophecies to Tarquinius Superbus of Rome. He refused her price, so she began burning the books until he bought the remaining three for the price she had asked for all nine. They were consulted in times of national emergency.

Sibyl

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Sibyl woman possessing powers of divination. XIII. — OF. Sibile (mod. Sibylle) or medL. Sibilla, L. Sibylla, Sibulla — Gr. Sibulla.
So Sibylline XVI. — L.; see -INE1.