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Ancilla to the Pre-Socratic Philosophers, by Kathleen Freeman, [1948], at


Musaeus, said to be of Athens, was thought to have lived in pre-Homeric times.

He was regarded as a follower of Orpheus, and titles of poems were attributed to him.

1. (Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius: Musaeus in his 'Titanographia' says that Cadmus set forth from the Delphic shrine led by the heifer).

2. (ib.: Medea sprinkled the drug with a juniper-branch, a tree sacred to Apollo, and led the serpent by means of an incantation).

3. (Aristotle): The eagle lays three (eggs), hatches out two, and neglects the third.

4. Art is ever far better than strength.

5. 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.

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6. (Clement: Eugamon of Cyrene appropriated the work of Musaeus 'On the Thesprotians', and published it as his own).

7. (Clement: 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).

8. ({sc Ps.-Eratosthenes: 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').

9. (Melitê, a deme of the tribe Cecrôpis, was a daughter of Apollo according to Musaeus, not a daughter of Myrmex as Hesiod says).

10. (Triptolemus was the son of Ocean and Earth).

11. (From a poem 'Eumolpia', attributed to Musaeus):

Forthwith the voice of Chthoniê uttered a wise word, and with her Pyrcôn, the servant of glorious Earth-Shaker.

12. (The head of Zeus, when Athena was born, was split by Palamon, not by Hephaestus).

13. (Argos begat four Aethiopian kings by Celainô daughter of Atlas).

14. (In the theogony of Musaeus, Tartarus and Night came first).

15. (There were two generations of Muses).

16. (Zeus, after union with Asteria, gave her to Persês, son of a Titan; to him she bore Hecate).

17. (Shooting stars are borne up from Ocean and generated in the Aether).

18. (The Hyades, nurses of Dionysus, 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).

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19. (The sea starwort, Tripolion: useful for everything, hence men pitch tents and dig it by night).

19a. (Hymns to Dionysus attributed to Orpheus and Musaeus. Orpheus composed them, Musaeus corrected them to a slight extent and copied them down).

20. (Musaeus wrote a 'Hymn to Demeter' for the Lycomidae; this told how Caucon son of Celaenos son of Phlyos took the rites of the Great Goddesses from Eleusis to Andania in Messenia in the reign of Polycaon and his wife Messênê).

20a. (Herodotus, vii. 6: Onomacritus an Athenian soothsayer was banished by Hipparchus for having inserted a line into the writings of Musaeus, namely that the islands off Lemnos would disappear under the sea).

21. (Herodotus, VIII. 96: Battle of Salamis: the west wind carried many of the wrecked ships on to the shore of Attica called Côlias; thus an oracle regarding this sea-battle by Musaeus and others was fulfilled).

22. (Oracle of Musaeus applied by the Athenians to the Battle of Aegospotami):

On the Athenians is coming a severe storm through the baseness of their leaders, but there will be a consolation: they will completely bow the city down, but they will pay the penalty.

Next: 3. Epimenides of Crete