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Headword: Σίβυλλα Χαλδαία
Adler number: sigma,361
Translated headword: Chaldaean Sibyl
Vetting Status: high
She is called Hebrew by some, also Persian, and she is called by the proper name Sambethe from the race of the most blessed Noah; she prophesied about those things said with regard to Alexander [sc. the Great] of Macedon; Nikanor, who wrote a Life of Alexander, mentions her;[1] she also prophesied countless things about the lord Christ and his advent. But the other [Sibyls] agree with her, except that there are 24 books of hers, covering every race and region. As for the fact that her verses are unfinished and unmetrical, the fault is not that of the prophetess but of the shorthand-writers, unable to keep up with the rush of her speech or else uneducated and illiterate; for her remembrance of what she had said faded along with the inspiration. And on account of this the verses appear incomplete and the train of thought clumsy -- even if this happened by divine management, so that her oracles would not be understood by the unworthy masses.
[Note] that there were Sibyls in different places and times and they numbered ten.[2] First then was the Chaldaean Sibyl, also [known as] Persian, who was called Sambethe by name. Second was the Libyan. Third was the Delphian, the one born in Delphi. Fourth was the Italian, born in Italian Kimmeria. Fifth was the Erythraian, who prophesied about the Trojan war. Sixth was the Samian, whose proper name was Phyto; Eratosthenes wrote about her.[3] Seventh was the Cumaean, also [called] Amalthia and also Hierophile. Eighth was the Hellespontian, born in the village of Marmissos near the town of Gergition -- which were once in the territory of the Troad -- in the time of Solon and Cyrus. Ninth was the Phrygian. Tenth was the Tiburtine, Abounaia by name. They say that the Cumaean brought nine books of her own oracles to Tarquinus Priscus, then the king of the Romans; and when he did not approve, she burned two books. [Note] that Sibylla is a Roman word, interpreted as "prophetess", or rather "seer"; hence female seers were called by this one name. Sibyls, therefore, as many have written, were born in different times and places and numbered ten.
Greek Original:
Σίβυλλα Χαλδαία, ἡ καὶ πρός τινων Ἑβραία ὀνομαζομένη, ἡ καὶ Περσίς, ἡ κυρίῳ ὀνόματι καλουμένη Σαμβήθη, ἐκ τοῦ γένους τοῦ μακαριωτάτου Νῶε: ἡ τῶν κατὰ Ἀλέξανδρον τὸν Μακεδόνα λεγομένων προειρηκυῖα: ἧς μνημονεύει Νικάνωρ ὁ τὸν Ἀλεξάνδρου βίον ἱστορήσας: ἡ περὶ τοῦ δεσπότου Χριστοῦ μυρία προθεσπίσασα καὶ τῆς αὐτοῦ παρουσίας. ἀλλὰ καὶ αἱ λοιπαὶ συνᾴδουσιν αὐτῇ, πλὴν ὅτι ταύτης εἰσὶ βιβλία κδ#, περὶ παντὸς ἔθνους καὶ χώρας περιέχοντα. ὅτι δὲ οἱ στίχοι αὐτῆς ἀτελεῖς εὑρίσκονται καὶ ἄμετροι, οὐ τῆς προφήτιδός ἐστιν ἡ αἰτία, ἀλλὰ τῶν ταχυγράφων, οὐ συμφθασάντων τῇ ῥύμῃ τοῦ λόγου ἢ καὶ ἀπαιδεύτων γενομένων καὶ ἀπείρων γραμματικῶν: ἅμα γὰρ τῇ ἐπιπνοίᾳ ἐπέπαυτο ἡ τῶν λεχθέντων μνήμη. καὶ διὰ τοῦτο εὑρίσκονται καὶ οἱ στίχοι ἀτελεῖς καὶ διάνοια σκάζουσα, εἴτε καὶ κατ' οἰκονομίαν θεοῦ τοῦτο γέγονεν, ὡς μὴ γινώσκοιντο ὑπὸ τῶν πολλῶν καὶ ἀναξίων οἱ χρησμοὶ αὐτῆς. ὅτι Σίβυλλαι γεγόνασιν ἐν διαφόροις τόποις καὶ χρόνοις τὸν ἀριθμὸν δέκα. πρώτη οὖν ἡ Χαλδαία ἡ καὶ Περσίς, ἡ κυρίῳ ὀνόματι καλουμένη Σαμβήθη. δευτέρα ἡ Λίβυσσα. τρίτη Δελφίς, ἡ ἐν Δελφοῖς τεχθεῖσα. τετάρτη Ἰταλική, ἡ ἐν Κιμμερίᾳ τῆς Ἰταλίας. πέμπτη Ἐρυθραία, ἡ περὶ τοῦ Τρωϊκοῦ προειρηκυῖα πολέμου. ἕκτη Σαμία, ἡ κυρίῳ ὀνόματι καλουμένη Φυτώ: περὶ ἧς ἔγραψεν Ἐρατοσθένης. ἑβδόμη ἡ Κυμαία, ἡ καὶ Ἀμαλθία, ἡ καὶ Ἱεροφίλη. ὀγδόη Ἑλλησποντία, τεχθεῖσα ἐν κώμῃ Μαρμισσῷ, περὶ τὴν πολίχνην Γεργίτιον, αἳ τῆς ἐνορίας ποτὲ Τρῳάδος ἐτύγχανον, ἐν καιροῖς Σόλωνος καὶ Κύρου. ἐνάτη Φρυγία. δεκάτη ἡ Τιγουρτία, ὀνόματι Ἀβουναία. φασὶ δὲ ὡς ἡ Κυμαία ἐννέα βιβλία χρησμῶν ἰδίων προσεκόμισε Ταρκυνίῳ Πρίσκῳ τῷ τηνικαῦτα βασιλεύοντι τῶν Ῥωμαίων: καὶ τούτου μὴ προσηκαμένου, ἔκαυσε βιβλία β#. ὅτι Σίβυλλα Ῥωμαϊκὴ λέξις ἐστίν, ἑρμηνευομένη προφῆτις, ἤγουν μάντις: ὅθεν ἑνὶ ὀνόματι αἱ θήλειαι μάντιδες ὠνομάσθησαν. Σίβυλλαι τοίνυν, ὡς πολλοὶ ἔγραψαν, γεγόνασιν ἐν διαφόροις τόποις καὶ χρόνοις τὸν ἀριθμὸν ι#.
For the block of Suda entries (mainly from Hesychius of Miletus) on Sibyls see sigma 254 though sigma 362; and generally OCD4 1360-61.
[1] FGrH 146 F1.
[2] This seems to be a modified version of Varro's list of the Sibyls.
[3] FGrH 241 F26b.
Keywords: biography; Christianity; chronology; dialects, grammar, and etymology; geography; historiography; history; meter and music; religion; women
Translated by: Jennifer Benedict on 18 February 2000@23:25:51.
Vetted by:
William Hutton on 19 February 2000@10:33:25.
David Whitehead (modified translation; added notes and keywords; cosmetics) on 16 January 2001@06:34:44.
David Whitehead (added keywords; restorative cosmetics) on 3 October 2002@09:58:47.
David Whitehead (more keywords; cosmetics) on 4 May 2011@05:37:52.
David Whitehead on 24 December 2013@04:54:43.
David Whitehead on 9 August 2014@10:35:22.
David Whitehead (coding) on 25 May 2016@10:45:12.


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