1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Onomacritus

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ONOMACRITUS (c. 530–480 B.C.), seer, priest and poet of Attica. His importance lies in his connexion with the religious movements in Attica during the 6th century B.C. He had great influence on the development of the Orphic religion and mysteries, and was said to have composed a poem on initiatory rites. The works of Musaeus, the legendary founder of Orphism in Attica, are said to have been reduced to order (if not actually written) by him (Clem. Alex. Stromata, i. p. 143 [397]; Pausanias i. 22, 7). He was in high favour at the court of the Peisistratidae tiU he was banished by Hipparchus for making additions of his own in an oracle of Musaeus. When the Peisistratidae were themselves expelled and were living in Persia, he furnished them with oracles encouraging Xerxes to invade Greece and restore the tyrants in Athens (Herodotus vii. 6). He is also said to have been employed by Peisistratus in editing the Homeric poems, and to have introduced interpolations of his own {e.g. a passage in the episode of the visit of Odysseus to the world below). According to Pausanias (viii. 31. 3; 37. 5; ix. 35, 5) he was also the author of poems on mythological subjects.

See F. W. Ritschl, " Onomakritos von Athen, " in his Opusctila, i. (1866), and p. 35 of the same volume; U. von Wilamowitz-MoUendorff, " Homerische Untersuchungen" (pp. 199-226 on the Orphic interpolation in Odyssey, X 566-631), in Kiessling-Mollendorff, Philologische Untersuchungen, Heft 7 (1884).