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Subject Sybils and Oracles...
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Original Message Does anyone have any information at all about these subjects? such as who is the oldest ever recorded Sybil?

I did find this...but I know there has to be other information out there...

The most fascinating of all Sibyls lived in Cumae (now called Cuma), the first Greek colony founded in Italy, located about twenty miles West of Naples in "the volcanic region near Vesuvius, where the whole country is cleft with chasms from which sulphurous flames arise, while the ground is shaken with pent-up vapors, and mysterious sounds issue from the bowels of the earth." 4 The Sibyl who was also known as Amalthaea made her home in a grotto in this tempestuous land -- a grotto that can be visited even today -- and there she would write her prognostications on leaves and spread them at one of the hundred mouths to her cave, allowing them to be picked up and read -- or scattered by the winds to be seen no more, whichever came first, as Virgil tells us in his Aeneid:

Arriv'd at Cumae, when you view the flood
Of black Avernus, and the sounding wood,
The mad prophetic Sibyl you shall find,
Dark in a cave, and on a rock reclin'd.
She sings the fates, and, in her frantic fits,
The notes and names, inscrib'd, to leafs commits.
What she commits to leafs, in order laid,
Before the cavern's entrance are display'd:
Unmov'd they lie; but, if a blast of wind
Without, or vapors issue from behind,
The leafs are borne aloft in liquid air,
And she resumes no more her museful care,
Nor gathers from the rocks her scatter'd verse,
Nor sets in order what the winds disperse.
Thus, many not succeeding, most upbraid
The madness of the visionary maid,
And with loud curses leave the mystic shade.


In the Aeneid, too, she gives Aeneas a tour of the infernal regions which are entered into in the land she inhabited (this story is the reason for Dante's having chosen Virgil as his guide in "The Divine Comedy"). After this tour of the underworld, they ascend again, and the Sibyl tells the story of how she came to be hundreds of years old. From chapter 25 of Bullfinch's book:

As Aeneas and the Sibyl pursued their way back to earth, he said to her, "Whether thou be a goddess or a mortal beloved by the gods, by me thou shalt always be held in reverence. When I reach the upper air, I will cause a temple to be built to thy honor, and will myself bring offerings."

"I am no goddess," said the Sibyl; "I have no claim to sacrifice or offering. I am mortal; yet if I could have accepted the love of Apollo, I might have been immortal. He promised me the fulfilment of my wish, if I would consent to be his. I took a handful of sand, and holding it forth, said, 'Grant me to see as many birthdays as there are sand-grains in my hand.'

"Unluckily I forgot to ask for enduring youth. This also he would have granted, could I have accepted his love, but offended at my refusal, he allowed me to grow old. My youth and youthful strength fled long ago. I have lived seven hundred years, and to equal the number of the sand-grains, I have still to see three hundred springs and three hundred harvests. My body shrinks up as years increase, and in time, I shall be lost to sight, but my voice will remain, and future ages will respect my sayings."
An ancient woman doomed to live a thousand years, but without youth, shrinking with age each year until nothing is left of her but her voice -- a voice which some say is kept in a jar in the cave, and that others say one can still hear there in her Cumaean grotto.

[link to www.fisheaters.com]


hf
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