Musæus

, celebrated by ancient writers as a philosopher, astronomer, and poet, was, according to Plato and Diodorus Siculus, an Athenian, the son of Orpheus, and chief of the Eleusinian mysteries, instituted at Athens in honour of Ceres; or, according to others, he was only the disciple of Orpheus. He is allowed to have been one of the first poets who versified the oracles. He is placed in | the Arundelian marbles, Epoch 15, 1426 B.C. at which time his hymns are there said to have been received in the celebration of the Eleusinian mysteries. Laertius tells us, that Musæus not only composed a theogony, but formed the first sphere but he was probably misled by the title of a poem said to have been written by Mnsaeus, “de Sphaera.” The doctrine which he taught was, that all things are produced fiom one, and shall be resolved into the same; an Orphic doctrine, which is the first principle of the system of emanation, and the foundation of all the ancient theogonies. He is celebrated by Virgil in the character of Hierophant, or priest of Ceres, among the most illustrious mortals who have merited a place in Elysium, and is made the conductor of Æneus to the recess, where he meets the shade of his fatber Anchises.

A hill near the citadel of Athens was called Musæum, according to Pausamas, from Musæus, who used to retire thither to meditate, and compose his religious hymns, and at which place he was afterwards buried. The works which went under his name, like those of Orpheus, were by many attributed to Onomacritus. Nothing remains of this poet now, nor were any of his writings exta-nt in the time of Pansanias, except a hymn to Ceres, which he made for theLycomedes. There is another Musæus, called the grammarian, author of a Greek poem on “The Loves of Hero and Leander.” He is supposed to have lived as late as the fourth century, since he is not referred to by any of the older scholiasts, and some of his verses appear borrowed from the Dionysiacs of Nonnius. Nothing is known of him personally, yet his work is in a pure and elegant style, with much delicacy of sentiment. It has been frequently reprinted, both in collections and separately, and has been translated into various languages. 1

1

Vossius. Brucker. Burnpy’s Hist, of Music, and in Rees’s Cyclopædia. —Saxii Onomast.