The Oracle of Baalbek – The Tiburtine Sibyl in Greek Dress

The Oracle of Baalbek – The Tiburtine Sibyl in Greek Dress
By: Paul J. Alexander
Year: 1967

Tiburtine Sibyl Book Cover

(Download PDF here)

“Professor Alexander here publishes for the first time the Greek text of the Sibylline prophecy long known in medieval Latin versions. Three Greek versions have been identified, and are collated in this critical edition. The editor goes on to argue the chronology of the original version (now lost), and of the version edited here, which he dates to the early sixth century A.D. He next discusses the content and its historical information. This is a very interesting piece of historical detection, followed up with great acumen and cogency.”

This prophecy of the Tiburtine Sibyl from Wikipedia:
“An apocalyptic pseudo-prophecy exists among the Sibylline Oracles, which was attributed to the Tiburtine Sibyl. Its earliest version may date from the fourth century, but in the form that it survives today it was written in the early eleventh century, and has been influenced by the Apocalypse of Pseudo-Methodius”

It is through the early manuscripts that we might have the first post-biblical reference to the “Last Roman Emperor” or Great Monarch”, possibly influencing the Pseudo-Methodius Prophecy:

“Then will arise a king of the Greeks whose name is Constans. He will be king of the Romans and the Greeks. He will be tall of stature, of handsome appearance with shining face, and well put together in all parts of his body…”

This Emperor’s reign is characterized by great wealth, victory over the foes of Christianity, an end of paganism and the conversion of the Jews. The Emperor having vanquished Gog and Magog,

“After this he will come to Jerusalem, and having put off the diadem from his head and laid aside the whole imperial garb, he will hand over the empire of the Christians to God the Father and to Jesus Christ his Son.”

The Oracle of Baalbek has many similarities to the “Anonymou Paraphrasis” text attributed to St. Leo the Wise, emperor of Byzantium. The relevant portion of the Oracle of Baalbek states:

“(…) And after these events there will rise another King coming from the west side of the city of Epidamnos. And the name of this King is concealed among the nations; and his name is similar to the last day, and it is written from the 18th letter. And when he will receive his empire his name will become Anastatius. This king is bald headed, handsome, his front is like silver, his right hand s long, he is brave, terrible, magnanimous, and free. (…) In his day the Persians will rise up and will destroy the cities of the East (…) and the reign of this king will be 31 years”

As we know “Anastasios” in Greek means “Resurrection”. Certainly presents a strange similarity to the later Byzantine prophecies describing some sort of resurrected “sleeping emperor” who would be restored to the throne.

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