The Ancient Roman Practice of Consulting the Sibylline Books for Prophecy

TLDR The ancient Romans relied on the Sibylline books, a collection of prophecies, to seek guidance during times of crisis. These books influenced various aspects of Roman society and were consulted for matters such as plagues, famines, fires, floods, and invasions.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 The ancient Romans consulted the Sybiline books for advice during times of crisis.
01:31 The ancient Romans used various methods, such as interpreting bird flight and examining animal entrails, to determine the will of the gods and predict the future.
02:58 An old woman offered to sell the king of Rome nine books of prophecies, burning three of them when he refused, until he eventually bought the remaining three.
04:15 The Sibylline books were placed in a vault in a temple and could only be consulted in times of crisis, and their control eventually passed to the Senate, with the number of guardians expanding over time, until they were destroyed in 408 by the Roman general Flavius Stilcio.
05:27 The Sibylline books were consulted in times of crisis, such as plagues, famines, fires, floods, and invasions, and contained prescriptions for appeasing the gods and preventing bad fortunes, as seen in the Second Punic War when the Romans buried alive two Greeks and two Gauls in the forum.
06:49 The Sibylline books influenced the construction of a temple to Flora and the establishment of the Festival of Floralia, and may have played a role in the assassination of Julius Caesar.
08:04 The emperor Tiberius refused to consult the Sibylline books during a flood in 15 AD, showing how different ancient Roman society was from ours in terms of making policy decisions based on prophecy.
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