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*Mousai=os), literary.

1. A semimythological personage, to be classed with Olen, Orpheus, and Pamphus. He was regarded as the author of various poetical compositions, especially as connected with the mystic rites of Demeter at Eleusis, over which the legend represented him as presiding in the time of Heracles. (Diod. 4.25.) He was reputed to belong to the family of the Eumolpidae, being the son of Eumolpus and Selene. (Philochor. apud Schol. ad Arist. Ran. 1065; Diog. Laert. Prooem. 3.) In other variations of the myth he was less definitely called a Thracian. According to other legends he was the son of Orpheus, of whom he was generally considered as the imitator and disciple. (Diod. 4.25; Serv. ad Virg. Aen. 6.667.) Others made him the son of Antiphemus, or Antiophemus, and Helena. (Schol. ad Soph. Oed. Col. 1047; Suid. s. v. Μουσαῖος.) In Aristotle (Mirab. p. 711a.) a wife Deioce is given him; while in the elegiac poem of Hermesianax., quoted by Athenaeus (xiii. p. 597), Antiope is mentioned as his wife or mistress. Suidas gives him a son Eumolpus. The scholiast on Aristophanes mentions an inscription said to have been placed on the tomb of Musaeus at Phalerus. Pausanias (1.25.8) mentions a tradition that the Μουσεῖον in Peiraeus bore that name from having been the place where Musaeus was buried.


We find the following poetical compositions, accounted as his among the ancients:--

1. Χρησμοί

Χρησμοί, Oracles. (Aristoph. Frogs 1031; Paus. 10.9.11; Hdt. 8.96.) Onomacritus, in the time of the Peisistratidae, made it his business to collect and arrange the oracles that passed under the name of Musaeus, and was banished by Hipparchus for interpolating in the collection oracles of his own making. (Hdt. 7.6; Paus. 1.22.7.)

2. Ὑποθῆκαι

Ὑποθῆκαιa, or precepts, addressed to his son Eumolpus, and extending to the length of 4000 lines (Suid. l.c.).

3. A hymn to Demeter.

This composition is set down by Pausanias (1.22.7) as the only genuine production of Musaeus extant in his day.

4. Ἐξακέσεις νόσων

Ἐξακέσεις νόσων. (Aristoph. Frogs 1031; Plin. Nat. 21.8. s. 21.)

5. Θεογονία

Θεογονία. (Diog. Laert. Prooem. 3).

6. Τιτανογραφία

Τιτανογραφία. (Schol. ad Apoll. Rlod. iii.).

7. Σφαῖρα

Σφαῖρα. (Diog. Laert. l.c.). What this sphaera was, is not clear.

8. Παραλύσεις, Τελεταὶ

Παραλύσεις, Τελεταὶ and Καθαρμοί. (Schol. ad Arist. l.c. ; Plat. Respubl. ii. p. 364, extr.)

Verses quoted by Aristotle

Aristotle (Aristot. Pol. 8.5, Hist. Anita. 6.6) quotes some verses of Musaeus, but without specifying from what work or collection.

Θεογονία and Σφαῖρα

Some have supposed the Musaeus who is spoken of as the author of the Θεογονία and Σφαῖρα to be a different person front the old bard of that name. But there does not appear to be any evidence to support that view.

Hero and Leander

The poem on the loves of Hero and Leander is by a very much later author.


Nothing remains of the poems attributed to Musaeus but the few quotations in Pausanias, Plato, Clemens Alexandrinus, Philostratus, and Aristotle.

Further Information

Fabric. Bibl. Graec. vol. i. p. 119.

hide References (9 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (9):
    • Aristophanes, Frogs, 1031
    • Aristotle, Politics, 8.1339b
    • Herodotus, Histories, 8.96
    • Herodotus, Histories, 7.6
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 10.9.11
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.25.8
    • Pausanias, Description of Greece, 1.22.7
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 21.8
    • Diodorus, Historical Library, 4.25
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