Orpheus lived probably in Thrace, in pre-Homeric times. Aristotle believed that he never existed; but to other ancient writers he was a real person, though living in remote antiquity.
Nothing is known of any ancient Orphic writings. It was believed that Orpheus taught, but left no writings, and that the epic poetry attributed to him was written in the sixth century by Onomacritus.
The Orphic literature current in the time of the Neo-Platonists (third century A.D.) is now thought to be a collection of writings of different periods and varying outlook, dating from the sixth century B.C. to the beginning of the Christian era.