The Muses  

Posted by Stella Clark

The Muses Image
THE MUSES OF GREEK MYTHOLOGY WERE THE DAUGHTERS OF ZEUS AND MNEMOSYNE (MEMORY). IT IS SAID THAT THEY LAY TOGETHER FOR NINE MONTHS, AND ONE YEAR LATER MNEMOSYNE GAVE BIRTH TO THE NINE DAUGHTERS. THESE NINE GREEK GODDESS OF ART AND INSPIRATION HAD A VERY IMPORTANT FUNCTION TO FULFILL--TO INSPIRE POETS AND TO PROMOTE THE ARTS AND SCIENCES. ALL LEARNING WAS UNDER THE PATRONAGE OF THE MUSES AND ANY PLACE DEDICATED TO THEM WAS CALLED A "MOUSEION," WHICH LATER BECAME OUR WORD MUSEUM"." AREAS WHERE SACRED WELLS AND SPRINGS ARE FOUND ARE WHERE THE MUSES WERE MOST VENERATED. THE MUSES REMAIN IMPORTANT TO US TODAY BECAUSE THEY CONTINUE TO CONNECT US TO THOSE ARCHETYPES WHICH ARE STILL EXPERIENCED BY CREATIVE PEOPLE...AND TO ME, THAT INCLUDES ALL OF US BECAUSE EACH OF US IS CREATIVE IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER.

THE MUSES WERE REPRESENTED AS YOUNG MAIDENS WITH FACES--SMILING, GRAVE, THOUGHTFUL--ACCORDING TO THE FUNCTION THEY SERVED. THEY WERE ATTIRED IN LONG, FLOWING ROBES. THEY WERE ABLE TO DANCE WITH TIRELESS FEET AND SANG WITH BRILLIANT VOICES. THE NAMES AND ATTRIBUTES OF THE NINE SISTERS WERE AS FOLLOWS:

CLIO (FAME-GIVER) WAS THE MUSE OF HISTORY. SHE WAS OFTEN DEPICETED WITH A HALF-OPENED SCROLL OR A CHEST OF BOOKS. FROM A UNION WITH PIERUS, THE KING OF MACEDONIA AND BORE A SON, HYACINTHUS, A HANDSOME LAD WHO WAS ONE DAY ACCIDENTALLY SLAIN BY HIS LOVER, APOLLO. FROM HIS BLOOD GREW THE FLOWER THAT BEARS HIS NAME.

ENTERPE (JOY-GIVER) PRESIDED OVER LYRIC POETRY AND MUSIC; HER SYMBOL WAS THE FLUTE. SHE WAS IN CHARGE OF JOY AND PLEASURE AND BROUGHT GREAT JOY AND DELIGHT TO ALL THOSE WHO WERE BLESSED TO HERE HER SING.

THALIA (THE FESTIVE) WAS THE MUSE OF COMEDY. SHE ALSO WORE THE COMIC MASK AND CARRIED A SHEPHERD'S STAFF OR A WREATH OF IVY. SHE IS WORSHIPPED BECAUSE THOSE WHOM SHE SINGS PRAISES OF LASTS FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME.

MELPOMENE (THE SINGER) WAS THE MUSE OF TRAGEDY. SHE IS USUALLY REPRESENTED WEARING THE TRAGIC MASK AND ENVELOPED IN VINE LEAVES. SHE ALSO CARRIED THE CLUB OF HERACLES. HER CHANTING CHARMS AND INSPIRES HER LISTENERS.

TERPSICHORE (SHE WHO LOVES DANCING) WAS THE MUSE OF LYRIC POETRY AND THE DANCE. SHE ALSO RULED OVER CHORAL SONG; HENCE, SHE IS USUALLY REPRESENTED SEATED AND HOLDING THE LYRE. LEGEND HOLDS THAT SHE MATED WITH THE RIVER GOD ACHELOUS AND BORE THE SIRENS.

ERATO (AWAKENER OF DESIRE) WAS THE MUSE OF EROTIC VERSE AND LOVE POETRY. SHE ALSO CARRIES A LYRE. IT IS SAID THAT SHE TURNS THOSE WHO FOLLOW HER INTO MEN WHO ARE DESIRED AND WORTHY OF LOVE.

POLYHYMMIA (MANY HYMNS) WAS THE MUSE OF THE SUBLIME AND SACRED HYMNS; LATER OF THE MIMIC ART AND STORYTELLING. SHE IS USUALLY DEPICTED AS WEARING A VEIL OR IN AN ATTITUDE OF MEDITATION. SHE IS A SERIOUS LOOKING WOMAN WHO SOMETIMES HOLDS A FINGER TO HER MOUTH AS IF IN DEEP THOUGHT.

URANIA (HEAVENLY) WAS THE MUSE OF ASTROLOGY; HER SYMBOLS WERE THE CELESTIAL GLOBE AND COMPASS. SHE IS USUALLY DRESSED IN A DARK CLOAK ON WHICH STARS HAVE BEEN EMBROIDERED, AND SHE LOOKS UPWARDS TOWARDS THE STARS. AMONG HER TALENTS, IT IS SAID THAT SHE COULD FORETELL THE FUTURE BY THE POSITION OF THE STARS.

CALLIOPE (BEAUTIFUL VOICED) WAS THE ELDEST AND MOST DISTINGUISHED OF THE NINE MUSES. SHE WAS THE MUSE OF EPIC POETRY AND ELOQUENCE. HER MATE WAS APOLLO, AND SHE WAS THE MOTHER OF THE GREAT POETS, ORPHEUS AND LINUS. SHE WAS PERHAPS THE MOST MYTHICALLY INVOLVED OF ALL THE MUSES AND WAS THE ARBITRATOR OF THE DISPUTE BETWEEN APHRODITE AND PERSEPHONE OVER ADONIS.

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This entry was posted on 22 March 2008 at Saturday, March 22, 2008 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the .

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