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02/12/2007
Musaeus

Aikaterinh Balla
Source: C.E.T.I.
© Region of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace
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According to the mythical tradition, Musaeus was the son of Antiphemus, or Antiophemus and Selene, who entrusted the raising of her son to the nymphs. Later versions of the myth mention that Musaeus was the son of Metion and Sterope. The Eleusinian Deiope was his wife and, according to the Eleusinian myths, she was the mother of Eumolpus who was also believed to be the son of Musaeus, according to these myths. It is said that when Musaeus grew old, he used to go to the Athenian hill of Museon, in the Sanctuary of the Muses and sang the hymns composed by either him or his tutor, Orpheus. He was buried at this place after his death.

Another version of the myth mentions that Musaeus was the son of the Thracian ïëðïõ and places his tomb at Faliro, on account of a written elegy found there. Musaeus was dedicated to his music, just like Orpheus, and he cultivated it, not only for its aesthetic value but also for its magic power that used to cure diseases. His poems were hymns or oracles with verses written in dactylic hexameter, a form of meter of his own invention. Pausanias had read a hymn of Musaeus dedicated to Demeter as well one of his poetic compositions named “Eumolpian epic poems” or “Eumolpia”.

Apart from poetry, other oracles of Musaeus in poetic form circulated already from the time of the Peisistratids. It is said that Onomacritus, called by Herodotus as “seer and adapter of the oracles of Musaeus”, following an order of Hipparchus or Hippias, composed a version of the oracles, though interpolating the oracles with texts of his own making, as his contemporary poet Lassos from Ermione proved. After that, the Peisistratids removed Onomacritus from the court.

Musaeus, like Eumolpus according to other myths, is considered to be the founder of the Eleusinian Mysteries and a great religious teacher. It is often mentioned that Heracles, during his initiation in the Eleusinian Mysteries and before his descend to Hades in search of Cerberus, he found Musaeus who was a hierophant.