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Musaeus (Greek Μουσαῖος) was the name of four Greek poets.

The first Musaeus was a semi-mythological poet, which ancient sources regarded as the author of several poetic compositions. Diodorus Siculus [1] places him at the time of Heracles and states that he was son or pupil of Orpheus. [2] The Suda also describes him as a student of Orpheus "but rather older [than Orpheus]." The Suda also describes him as "an Eleusinian from Athens, son of Antiphemos, son of Euphemos, son of Ekphantos, son of Kerkyon... and his wife Helena.[3] Other accounts add other details. Aristotle gives him a wife and Athenaeus names her Antiope.[4] The Suda, again, gives him a son (Eumolpos, Εὐμόλπῳ) to whom he supposedly wrote four books of advice. Pausanias claims that the Museum on the hill right opposite the Acropolis in Athens is "where legend says Musaeus used to sing, and, dying of old age, was buried".[5] Several ancient sources mention Musaeus as the author of several compositions, but of those nothing remained except for short quotations in Aristotle, Plato, Clement of Alexandria, Philostratus and Pausanias.

A second poet by that name, of which the Suda is our only source, is described as a poet of Thebes, son of on of Thamyras and Philammon who lived "lived long before the Trojan War" and wrote melics and songs.[6]

Our knowledge about the third Musaeus is also mainly driven from the Suda[7] which describes him as a native of Ephesus, an epic poet who wrote a poem named Περσηί̈ς in 10 books and a poem dedicated to Eumenes and Attalus (Εὐμένη καὶ Ἄτταλον), the Attalid rulers of Pergamon from 263-241 BC and 241-197 BC, respectively. This places his life time during the second century BC. The Suda also describes him as "moving in the Pergamene circles". It is not entirely clear what the Suda means by this, but perhaps this referred to some connections with the rulers of Pergamon.

A fourth poet is named Musaeus Grammaticus, to which the love poem about Hero and Leander, discovered during the 13th Century AD, is ascribed. According to most scholars, the attribution of this poem to an ancient Athenian bard is unjustified and the poem was probably composed no earlier than the 5th century AD.


  1. Diodorus Siculus, Historical Library 4:25.1
  2. See, Robert MacGahey, The Orphic Moment, SUNY Press, 1994, p. 17 who cites him as being the son and on other accounts the father of Orpheus.
  3. Suda, mu, 1294, mu, 1297
  4. Athenaeus, Deipnosophists 13.71
  5. Pausanias, Description of Greece 1:25.8
  6. Suda, mu, 1295
  7. Suda, mu, 1296