The Muses

The Muses

The Muses were the Greek goddesses of inspiration in literature, science and the arts. They were the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (the personification of memory), and they were also considered water nymphs. Some scholars believed that the Muses were primordial goddesses, daughters of the Titans Uranus and Gaea. Personifications of knowledge and art, some of the arts of the Muses included Music, Science, Geography, Mathematics, Art, and Drama. They were usually invoked at the beginning of various lyrical poems, such as in the Homeric epics; this happened so that the Muses give inspiration or speak through the poet's words.

There were nine Muses according to Hesiod, protecting a different art and being symbolised with a different item; Calliope (epic poetry - writing tablet), Clio (history - scroll), Euterpe (lyric poetry - aulos, a Greek flute), Thalia (comedy and pastoral poetry - comic mask), Melpomene (tragedy - tragic mask), Terpsichore (dance - lyre), Erato (love poetry - cithara, a Greek type of lyre), Polyhymnia (sacred poetry - veil), and Urania (astronomy - globe and compass). On the other hand, Varro mentions that only three Muses exist: Melete (practice), Mneme (memory) and Aoide (song).

According to a myth, King Pierus of Macedon named his nine daughters after the Muses, thinking that they were better skilled than the goddesses themselves. As a result, his daughters, the Pierides, were transformed into magpies.

More: Zeus, Mnemosyne, Uranus, Gaea