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Musaeus was the name of three Greek poets.

The first was a mythical seer and priest, the pupil or son of Orpheus, who was said to have been the founder of priestly poetry in Attica. According to Pausanias (i. 25) he was buried on the Museum hill, south-west of the Acropolis. He composed dedicatory and purificatory hymns and prose treatises, and oracular responses. These were collected and arranged in the time of Peisistratus[?] by Onomacritus[?], who added interpolations. The mystic and oracular verses and customs of Attica, especially of Eleusis, are connected with his name (Herod. vii. 6; viii. 96; ix. 43). A Titanomachia and Theogonia are also attributed to him by G Kinkel, Epicorum graecorum fragmenta, 1878).

The second was an Ephesian attached to the court of the kings of Pergamum, who wrote a Perseis, and poems on Eumenes and Attalus (Suidas s.v.).

The third (called Grammaticus in all the manuscripts) is of uncertain date, but probably belongs to the beginning of the 6th century AD, as his style and metre are evidently modelled after Nonnus. He must have lived before Agathias (530-582) and is possibly to be identified with the friend of Procopius whose poem (340 hexameter lines) on the story of Hero and Leander is by far the most beautiful of the age (editions by F Passow, 1810; GH Schafer, 1825; C Dilthey, 1874). The little love-poem Alpheus and Arethusa (Anthol. pal. ix. 362) is also ascribed to Musaeus.

This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.

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