Sibylline Books

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The Libri Sibyllini, or Libri Fatales were a collection of oracular utterances that were consulted at momentous crises through the Roman history as a form of divination. Only fragments have survived, the rest being lost or deliberately destroyed.


The oracular text was set out in Greek hexameters, purchased from a sibyl by the last king of Rome, Tarquinius Superbus.

The prophecies of the brothers Marcii were added by the senate to the Sibylline books circa 212 B.C.E.

In 83 B.C.E. Sulla marched on Rome and the temple of Iuppiter Optimus Maximus was burned and reportedly the entirety of the original Sibylline Books as well. [1]

After Sulla, the senate established a commission in 76 B.C.E. to gather prophecies for the new collection of Sibylline Books. The commissioners went to the East but omitted Cumae, home of the Cumaean Sibyl. 1,000 lines came from Samos.


  1. Plutarch Sulla 2.7.6. Dion. Hal. 4.62.5-6.

Takacs, "Vestal Virgins, Sibyls and Matrons"

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