Aristophanes, The Frogs 1030-33
For consider how useful our noble-minded poets have been from the beginning. Orpheus revealed to us the mysteries and abstinence from murder, Mousaios taught us cures from illnesses and oracles.
Athenaios, Deipnosophistai 597a
Such was she whom the dear son of Oeagros, armed only with the lyre, brought back from Haides, even the Thracian Agriope. Aye, he sailed to that evil and inexorable place where Charon drags into the common barque the souls of the departed; and over the lake he shouts afar, as it pours its flood from out the tall reeds. Yet Orpheus, though girded for the journey all alone, dared to sound his lyre beside the wave, and he won over gods of every shape; even the lawless Kokytos he saw, raging beneath his banks; and he flinched not before the gaze of the hound most dread, his voice baying forth angry fire, with fire his cruel eye gleaming, an eye that on triple heads bore terror. Whence, by his song, Orpheus persuaded the mighty lords that Agriope should recover the gentle breath of life. Nor did the son of the Moon, Mousaios, master of the Graces, cause Antiope to go without her due of honour. And she, beside Eleusis’ strand, expounded to the initiates the loud, sacred voice of mystic oracles, as she duly escorted the priest through the Rarian plain to honour Demeter. And she is known even in Hades.
Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis 1.21.131
To be sure, Onomacritus the Athenian, whose work the poems ascribed to Orpheus are said to be, lived during the reign of the Peisistratids around the time of the fiftieth Olympiad, but Orpheus, who sailed with Heracles, was the teacher of Musaeus. For Amphion preceded the Trojan War by two generations, and Demodocus and Phemius were famous kitharodes after the capture of Troy, the former among the Phaeacians, the latter among the suitors. They say that the oracles ascribed to Musaeus are really by Onomacritus, that the Krater of Orpheus is by Zopyrus of Heraclea, and the Katabasis to Hades is the work of Prodicus the Samian. But Ion of Chios in the Triagmoi says that Pythagoras, too, attributed some of his own works to Orpheus. But Epigenes, in his On the Poetry Ascribed to Orpheus, says that the Katabasis to Hades and the Sacred Discourse are the work of Cercops the Pythagorean and the Robe and Physika, of Brontinus. […] Hesiod in his Melampous writes, ‘It is sweet to learn all the things which the immortals have fixed for mortals as a clear sign of things unhappy and things good.’ These lines are taken word for word from Musaeus. And Eugamon of Cyrene appropriated the work of Musaeus On the Thesprotians, and published it as his own.
Diodoros Sikeliotes, Library of History 1.96
But now that we have examined these matters we must enumerate what Greeks, who have won fame for their wisdom and learning, visited Egypt in ancient times in order to become acquainted with its customs and learning. For the priests of Egypt recount from the records of their sacred books that they were visited in early times by Orpheus, Musaeus, Melampos, and Daidalos, also by the poet Homer and Lycurgos of Sparta, later by Solon of Athens and the philosopher Plato, and that there came also Pythagoras of Samos and the mathematician Eudoxos, as well as Demokritos of Abdera and Oinopides of Khios. As evidence for the visits of all these men they point in some cases to their statues and in others to places or buildings which bear their names, and they offer proofs from the branch of learning which each one of these men pursued, arguing that all the things for which they were admired among the Greeks were borrowed from Egypt.
Diogenes Laertios, Lives of Eminent Philosophers 1.3
These authors forget that the achievements which they attribute to the barbarians belong to the Greeks, with whom not merely philosophy but the human race itself began. For instance, Musaeus is claimed by Athens, Linus by Thebes. It is said that the former, the son of Eumolpus, was the first to compose a genealogy of the gods and to construct a sphere, and that he maintained that all things proceed from unity and are resolved again into unity. He died at Phalerum, and this is his epitaph:
“Musaeus, to his sire Eumolpus dear,
In Phalerean soil lies buried here.”
and the Eumolpidae at Athens get their name from the father of Musaeus.
Eratosthenes, fragment from Katasterismoi
Musaeus tells how Zeus at birth was handed over by Rhea to Themis, and by Themis to Amalthea, who gave him to the Goat, the daughter of the Sun, to rear in the caves of Crete. When he grew up and went to war with the Titans, he used the skin of the Goat as his shield because it was invulnerable and bore a Gorgon’s face in the middle. He set the Goat in the sky as a constellation, while he himself acquired the epithet Aigiochos, goat-skin holder’
Euripides, Rhesos 941-948
And yet we sister Muses do special honour to thy city, thy land we chiefly haunt; yea, and Orpheus, own cousin of the dead whom thou hast slain, did for thee unfold those dark mysteries with their torch processions. Musaeus, too, thy holy citizen, of all men most advanced in lore, him did Phoebus with us sisters train.
Eusebius, Preparation 9.27
And Artapanos says, in his book Peri Ioudaion, that after the death of Abraham, and of his son Mempsasthenoth, and likewise of the king of Egypt, his son Palmanothes succeeded to the sovereignty. This king behaved badly to the Jews; and first he built Kessa, and founded the temple therein, and then built the temple in Heliopolis. He begat a daughter Merris, whom he betrothed to a certain Chenephres, king of the regions above Memphis (for there were at that time many kings in Egypt); and she being barren took a supposititious child from one of the Jews, and called him Mouses (Moses): but by the Greeks he was called, when grown to manhood, Mousaios. And this Mouses, they said, was the teacher of Orpheus; and when grown up he taught mankind many useful things. For he was the inventor of ships, and machines for laying stones, and Egyptian arms, and engines for drawing water and for war, and invented philosophy. Further he divided the State into thirty-six Nomes, and appointed the god to be worshipped by each Nome, and the sacred writing for the priests, and their gods were cats, and dogs, and ibises: he also apportioned an especial district for the priests. All these things he did for the sake of keeping the sovereignty firm and safe for Chenepbres. For previously the multitudes, being under no order, now expelled and now set up kings, often the same persons, but sometimes others. For these reasons then Mouses was beloved by the multitudes, and being deemed by the priests worthy to be honoured like a god, was named Hermes, because of his interpretation of the hieroglyphs.
Herodotos, The Histories 7.6
They had come up to Sardis with Onomakritos, an Athenian diviner who had set in order the oracles of Mousaios. They had reconciled their previous hostility with him; Onomakritos had been banished from Athens by Pisistratos’ son Hipparchos, when he was caught by Lasos of Hermione in the act of interpolating into the writings of Mousaios an oracle showing that the islands off Lemnos would disappear into the sea. Because of this Hipparchos banished him, though they had previously been close friends. Now he had arrived at Susa with the Pisistratidae, and whenever he came into the king’s presence they used lofty words concerning him and he recited from his oracles; all that portended disaster to the Persian he left unspoken, choosing and reciting such prophecies as were most favorable, telling how the Hellespont must be bridged by a man of Persia and describing the expedition. So he brought his oracles to bear, while the Pisistratidae and Aleuadae gave their opinions.
Herodotos, The Histories 8.96
When the battle was broken off, the Hellenes towed to Salamis as many of the wrecks as were still there and kept ready for another battle, supposing that the king could still make use of his surviving ships. A west wind had caught many of the wrecks and carried them to the shore in Attica called Colias. Thus not only was all the rest of the oracle fulfilled which Bacis and Musaeus had spoken about this battle, but also what had been said many years before this in an oracle by Lysistratus, an Athenian soothsayer, concerning the wrecks carried to shore there. Its meaning had eluded all the Hellenes: “The Colian women will cook with oars. But this was to happen after the king had marched away.”
Hippolytus Romanus, Philosophoumena 5
The entire system of their doctrine, however, is derived from the ancient theologians Mousaios, Linos and Orpheus, who elucidates especially the ceremonies of initiation, as well as the mysteries themselves. For their doctrine concerning the womb is also the tenet of Orpheus; and the idea of the navel, which is harmony, is to be found with the same symbolism attached to it in the Bacchanalian orgies of Orpheus. But prior to the observance of the mystic rites of Keleos and Triptolemos and Demeter and Bakchos in Eleusis, these orgies have been celebrated and handed down to men in Phliom of Attica.
Mousaios, fragments preserved in Artistotle
The eagle lays three eggs, hatches out two, and neglects the third.
Art is ever far better than strength.
In the same way the life-giving earth sends up the leaves: some it withers away on the ash-trees, others it sends forth. So too the generation and race of mankind also circle round.
Mousaios, fragments from other others
The head of Zeus, when Athena was born, was split by Palaimon, not by Hephaistos.
Argos begat four Aethiopian kings by Celainô daughter of Atlas.
In the theogony of Musaeus, Tartarus and Night came first.
There were two generations of Muses.
Zeus, after union with Asteria, gave her to Persês, son of a Titan; to him she bore Hecate.
Shooting stars are borne up from Ocean and generated in the Aether.
The Hyades, nurses of Dionysos, are five in number; they are so-called because of their lamentation for their brother Hyas, killed while hunting. They are the daughters of Aethra and Ocean, and sisters of the seven Pleiades.
The sea starwort, Tripolion: useful for everything, hence men pitch tents and dig it by night.
Hymns to Dionysos attributed to Orpheus and Musaeus. Orpheus composed them, Musaeus corrected them to a slight extent and copied them down.
From when Orpheus ____ made known his own poetry, the rape of Kore and the search of Demeter and the seed created by her and the multitude of those receiving the corn, 1135 years when Erechtheus was king of Athens. From when Eumolpus _____ instituted the mysteries in Eleusis and made known the works of the father of Mousaios, ______, when Erechtheus son of Pandion [was king of Athens].
Pauasnias, Description of Greece 1.14.3
Some extant verses of Musaeus, if indeed they are to be included among his works, say that Triptolemus was the son of Oceanus and Earth; while those ascribed to Orpheus (though in my opinion the received authorship is again incorrect) say that Eubuleus and Triptolemus were sons of Dysaules, and that because they gave Demeter information about her daughter the sowing of seed was her reward to them.
Pauasnias, Description of Greece 1.22.7
Included among the paintings—I omit the boy carrying the water-jars and the wrestler of Timaenetus—is Musaeus. I have read verse in which Musaeus receives from the North Wind the gift of flight, but, in my opinion, Onomacritus wrote them, and there are no certainly genuine works of Musaeus except a hymn to Demeter written for the Lycomidae.
Pauasnias, Description of Greece 1.25.8
After freeing the Athenians from tyrants Demetrius the son of Antigonus did not restore the Peiraeus to them immediately after the flight of Lachares, but subsequently overcame them and brought a garrison even into the upper city, fortifying the place called the Museum. This is a hill right opposite the Acropolis within the old city boundaries, where legend says Musaeus used to retire thither to meditate and compose his religious hymns, and at which place he was afterwards buried. Even later on a monument was erected here to a Syrian.
Pausanias, Description of Greece 8.37.5
Those about the sanctuary say that the Mistress was brought up by Anytos, who was one of the Titans, as they are called. The first to introduce Titans into poetry was Homer, representing them as gods down in what is called Tartaros; the lines are in the passage about Hera’s oath. From Homer the name of the Titans was taken by Onomakritos, who in the orgies he composed for Dionysos made the Titans the authors of the god’s sufferings.
Pauasnias, Description of Greece 10.5.6
There is extant among the Greeks an hexameter poem, the name of which is Eumolpia, and it is assigned to Musaeus, son of Antiophemus. In it the poet states that the oracle belonged to Poseidon and Earth in common; that Earth gave her oracles herself, but Poseidon used Pyrcon as his mouthpiece in giving responses. The verses are these:—
“Forthwith the voice of the Earth-goddess uttered a wise word,
And with her Pyrcon, servant of the renowned Earth-shaker.”
They say that afterwards Earth gave her share to Themis, who gave it to Apollo as a gift.
Pauasnias, Description of Greece 10.7.2
The oldest contest and the one for which they first offered prizes was, according to tradition, the singing of a hymn to the god. The man who sang and won the prize was Chrysothemis of Crete, whose father Carmanor is said to have cleansed Apollo. After Chrysothemis, says tradition, Philammon won with a song, and after him his son Thamyris. But they say that Orpheus, a proud man and conceited about his mysteries, and Musaeus, who copied Orpheus in everything, refused to submit to the competition in musical skill.
Pauasnias, Description of Greece 10.9.11
The Athenians refuse to confess that their defeat at Aegospotami was fairly inflicted, maintaining that they were betrayed by Tydeus and Adeimantus, their generals, who had been bribed, they say, with money by Lysander. As a proof of this assertion they quote the following oracle of the Sibyl:—
“And then on the Athenians will be laid grievous troubles
By Zeus the high-thunderer, whose might is the greatest,
On the war-ships battle and fighting,
As they are destroyed by treacherous tricks, through the baseness of the captains.”
The other evidence that they quote is taken from the oracles of Musaeus:—
“For on the Athenians comes a wild rain
Through the baseness of their leaders, but some consolation will there be
For the defeat; they shall not escape the notice of the city, but shall pay the penalty.”
Plato, Apology 40e-41b
But on the other hand, if death is, as it were, a change of habitation from here to some other place, and if what we are told is true, that all the dead are there, what greater blessing could there be, judges? For if a man when he reaches the other world, after leaving behind these who claim to be judges, shall find those who are really judges who are said to sit in judgment there, Minos and Rhadamanthus, and Aeacus and Triptolemus, and all the other demigods who were just men in their lives, would the change of habitation be undesirable? Or again, what would any of you give to meet with Orpheus and Musaeus and Hesiod and Homer? I am willing to die many times over, if these things are true; for I personally should find the life there wonderful, when I met Palamedes or Ajax, the son of Telamon, or any other men of old who lost their lives through an unjust judgement, and compared my experience with theirs. I think that would not be unpleasant.
Plato, Protagoras 316c-d
You do right, Socrates, he said, to he so thoughtful on my behalf. For when one goes as a stranger into great cities, and there tries to persuade the best of the young men to drop their other connexions, either with their own folk or with foreigners, both old and young, and to join one’s own circle, with the promise of improving them by this connexion with oneself, such a proceeding requires great caution; since very considerable jealousies are apt to ensue, and numerous enmities and intrigues. Now I tell you that sophistry is an ancient art, and those men of ancient times who practised it, fearing the odium it involved, disguised it in a decent dress, sometimes of poetry, as in the case of Homer, Hesiod, and Simonides sometimes of mystic rites and soothsayings, as did Orpheus, Musaeus and their sects; and sometimes too, I have observed, of athletics, as with Iccus of Tarentum.
Plato, Republic 2.364a–365b
But the most astounding of all these arguments concerns what they have to say about the gods and virtue. They say that the gods, too, assign misfortune and a bad life to many good people, and the opposite fate to their opposites. Begging priests and prophets frequent the doors of the rich and persuade them that they possess a god-given power founded on sacrifices and incantations. If the rich person or any of his ancestors has committed an injustice, they can fix it with pleasant things and feasts. Moreover, if he wishes to injure some enemy, then, at little expense, he’ll be able to harm just and unjust alike, for by means of spells and enchantments they can persuade the gods to serve them. And they present a hubbub of books by Musaeus and Orpheus, offspring as they say of Selene and the Muses, according to which they arrange their rites, convincing not only individuals but also cities that liberation and purification from injustice is possible, both during life and after death, by means of sacrifices and enjoyable games to the deceased which free us from the evils of the beyond, whereas something horrible awaits those who have not celebrated sacrifices.
Plato, The Republic 363c
Still more heroic are the blessings which Musaeus and his son bestow upon the righteous from the gods. They conduct them into Hades, and lay them on couches, and establish a kind of symposium of saints, and set garlands on their heads, and make them live for ever in a state of intoxication, esteeming the fairest reward of virtue to be an eternity of drunkenness.
Pliny the Elder, Natural History 21.84
Those persons, according to Musæus and Hesiod, who are desirous of gaining honour and glory, should rub the body all over with polium, and handle and cultivate it as much as possible. They say, too, that it should be kept about the person as an antidote to poison, and that to keep serpents away it should be strewed beneath the bed, burnt, or else carried on the person; decoctions of it in wine, either fresh-gathered or dried, should be used too as a liniment for the body. Medical men prescribe it in vinegar for affections of the spleen, and in wine for the jaundice; a decoction of it in wine is recommended also for incipient dropsy; and in this way too, it is employed as a liniment for wounds. This plant has the effect of bringing away the after-birth and the dead fœtus, and of dispelling pains in various parts of the body: it empties the bladder also, and is employed in liniments for defluxions of the eyes. In- deed, there is no plant known that better deserves to form an ingredient in the medicament known to us as the “alexipharmacon:”2 though there are some who say that it is injurious to the stomach and is apt to stuff the head, and that it produces abortion—assertions which others, again, totally deny.
Pliny the Elder, Natural History 25.5
Homer, that great parent of the learning and traditions of antiquity, while extolling the fame of Circe in many other respects, assigns to Egypt the glory of having first discovered the properties of plants, and that; too at a time when the portion of that country which is now watered by the river Nilus was not in existence, having been formed at a more recent period by the alluvion of that river. At all events, he states that numerous Egyptian plants were sent to the Helena of his story, by the wife of the king of that country, together with the celebrated nepenthes, which ensured oblivion of all sorrows and forgetfulness of the past, a potion which Helena was to administer to all mortals. The first person, however, of whom the remembrance has come down to us, as having treated with any degree of exactness on the subject of plants, is Orpheus; and next to him Musæus and Hesiod, of whose admiration of the plant called polium we have already made some mention on previous occasions. Orpheus and Hesiod too we find speaking in high terms of the efficacy of fumigations.
Scholiast on Apollonios Rhodios’ Argonautika 3
Musaeus in his Titanographia says that Kadmos set forth from the Delphic shrine led by the heifer.
Scholiast on Apollonios Rhodios’ Argonautika 3.467
According to the Orphic hymns Hecate was a daughter of Deo; according to Bacchylides, a daughter of Night; according to Mousaios, a daughter of Zeus and Asteria; and according to Pherecydes, a daughter of Aristaeus. Musaeus in his Titanographia says that Cadmus set forth from the Delphic shrine led by the heifer. He also says that Medea sprinkled the drug with a juniper-branch, a tree sacred to Apollo, and led the serpent by means of an incantation.
Strabo, Geography 10.3.17
From its melody and rhythm and instruments, all Thracian music has been considered to be Asiatic. And this is clear, first, from the places where the Muses have been worshipped, for Pieria and Olympus and Pimpla and Leibethrum were in ancient times Thracian places and mountains, though they are now held by the Macedonians; and again, Helicon was consecrated to the Muses by the Thracians who settled in Boeotia, the same who consecrated the cave of the nymphs called Leibethrides. And again, those who devoted their attention to the music of early times are called Thracians, I mean Orpheus, Musaeus, and Thamyris; and Eumolpus, too, got his name from there. And those writers who have consecrated the whole of Asia, as far as India, to Dionysos, derive the greater part of music from there. And one writer says, “striking the Asiatic cithara”; another calls flutes “Berecyntian” and “Phrygian”; and some of the instruments have been called by barbarian names, “nablas,” “sambyce,” “barbitos,” “magadis,” and several others.
Suidas, s.v. Eumolpos
Eleusinian, that is to say Athenian, he was son of Musaeus the poet, and according to some, a pupil of Orpheus and an epic poet among those before Homer. He was also a winner in the Pythian games; for the poets competed there in the lyre. This man wrote poems about the mystic rites of Demeter and her arrival to Celeus, and the transmission of the mysteries to his daughters, in three thousand verses altogether. He also wrote On Cheiromancy in prose, one book.
Suidas, s.v. Eumolpidai
A clan in Athens descended from the Thracian, who devised the initiation; or from the son of Mousaios, who was fifth in descent from the second. The Eumolpidai and the Kerykes cursed Alkibiades. And it is also written “then he set at naught the holy things of the Eumolpidai and the Kerykes and the other families who were holy and dear to the gods, choosing a wisdom infamous and effeminate.”
Suidas s.v. Leokorion
A heroon in the middle of the Kerameikos. For Leos son of Orpheus had a son named Kulanthos, and three daughters named Phasithea, Theope, and Euboule, whom the Athenians honored with the heroon after they had been sacrificed for the sake of the country while still virgins.
Suidas s.v. Mousaios
An Eleusinian from Athens, son of Antiphemos, son of Euphemos, son of Ekphantos, son of Kerkyon — he whom Theseus conquered — and his wife Helen; epic poet, student of Orpheus, but rather older; for he flourished during the time of the second Kekrops and wrote Advice to his son Eumolpos in 4000 verses; and a great deal else.
Also, the first philosopher among Hellenes. Lysias in the speech – if genuine – Reply to the indictment of Mixidemos writes: “and he has two [slave-]boys in attendance, one of whom he calls Mousaios, the other Hesiod”. That the man on trial gave the slaves these names purposely is clear. But concerning the original Mousaios, some have said that the man came from Thrace, others that he is a native Athenian, from Eleusis.
The Testament of Orpheus
I speak to those who lawfully may hear:
all others, ye profane, now close the doors.
But you, Mousaios, offspring
of the light-carrying Moon, listen
– I will tell you the truth.
Vergil, Aeneid 6.637-683
Musaeus, midmost of a numerous throng,
Who towered o’er his peers a shoulder higher:
“O spirits blest! O venerable bard!
Declare what dwelling or what region holds
Anchises, for whose sake we twain essayed
Yon passage over the wide streams of hell.”
And briefly thus the hero made reply:
“No fixed abode is ours. In shadowy groves
We make our home, or meadows fresh and fair,
With streams whose flowery banks our couches be.
But you, if thitherward your wishes turn,
Climb yonder hill, where I your path may show.”
So saying, he strode forth and led them on,
Till from that vantage they had prospect fair
Of a wide, shining land; thence wending down,
They left the height they trod;
for far below
Father Anchises in a pleasant vale
Stood pondering, while his eyes and thought surveyed
A host of prisoned spirits, who there abode
Awaiting entrance to terrestrial air.