The Greek muses , According to Greek mythology, are the feminine divinities that inspired the philosophers and poets, reason why they preside over the arts and the sciences.
According to this belief the muses were deities but with less power than the goddesses.
The scholars of that time classified the muses as the greatest source of inspiration that existed, had great value to society and illuminated the creation in the various branches of art, music, science, poetry, among others.
At first there was no consensus about the exact number of muses. For example, according to the Greek historian of S.II Pausanias, first the muses were three: Aedea (song and voice), Meletea (meditation) and Mnemea (memory).
Although the number of Greek muses may vary depending on the source and the authors, it has generally come to the acceptance that there are nine, born (according to the myth) of nine consecutive nights of love between Zeus and Mnemósine, one of The titanides.
The nine Muses
The nine muses had the following names and attributes:
- Calliope: muse of epic poetry.
- Clio: muse of history.
- Euterpe: muse of music.
- Erato: muse of lyrical art or lyrical poetry.
- Melpomene: muse of tragedy.
- Polymnia: muse of rhetoric.
- Talía: muse of comedy.
- Terpsichore: muse of dance.
- Urania: muse of astrology and astronomy.
Its name means"the one of the beautiful voice". She was the greatest and most distinguished, was the first muse to be born, represents epic poetry and eloquence. It protects poetic works, rhetorical arts, music and writing.
She is often depicted with a laurel wreath, a writing board, a book, and occasionally a trumpet.
According to several legends, Calliope is represented like the mother of the singers Orfeo and Linus.
The stories tell that she accompanied the kings and princes to help them impose justice and serenity.
One of the most famous authors of ancient Greece, in the genre of epic poetry, is Homer, who wrote The Iliad Y The odyssey .
Homer and other authors always vociferate throughout their works that the muses are the ones that grant them the power to realize them and that they are only the instrument that they use to let flow the wonderful and powerful lyrical art.
Without them, authors would not have the ability to perform such works. For this reason they give credits to the muses in each one of their books granting them a dedication and invocation. Some of these invocations say the following:
- Homer, Iliad, 1, 1-7
"Anger chants, O goddess, of the Pélida Achilles,
Cursed, who caused the Achaeans countless pains,
Precipitated many brave lives to Hades
Of heroes and they made them prey for dogs
And for all the birds-and thus fulfilled the plan of Zeus-,
Since they first separated after having fought
The Atrida, sovereign of men, and Achilles, of the caste of Zeus"
- Homer, Iliad, 2, 484-489
"Tell me now, Muses, owners of Olympic abodes,
For you are goddesses, you are present and you know everything,
While we only hear fame and we know nothing,
Who were the princes and the chiefs of the Danaans."
- Homer, Odyssey, 1, 1-3
"Musa, tell me of the skilful man who in his long loss,
After having destroyed the sacred quarterdeck of Troy,
He knew the cities and the genius of innumerable people."
- Hesiod, Theogony, 104-115.
"Hail, daughters of Zeus! Grant me the spell of your song. Celebrate the sacred stock of the eternal immortals, those born from Gea and from the starry Uranus, those born from the dark night and those who raised the brave Pontus. (...) And this, Musas, inspire me, who from the beginning dwelt in the Olympic mansions, and tell me what came first."
- Hesiod, Theogony, 1020-1021.
"And now, celebrate the tribe of women, Olympic Muses of sweet words, daughters of Zeus bearer of the aegis."
- Virgil, Aeneid, 1: 8-10.
"Tell me the causes, Musa; Why he offends his divine power,
Why resentment the queen of the gods
Forced a man, famed for his surrender
To the divinity, to run so many trances, to face so many risks."
- Virgilio, Aeneid, 9, 77.
"What god,"said Musas,"has deflected from the Teucros such an atrocious fire?"
It is the second of the nine muses, its name means"to be famous"or"to celebrate". She was the muse of history and writing. Protector of history and guitar.
In ancient Greece the word"history"was derived from"kleos", which means heroic acts, at that time there were three types of dramatic performances: comedies, tragedies and satire that were based on legends of real people belonging to history.
Clío enjoyed telling stories of the past and according to some myths, she was the one who introduced the Phoenician alphabet to Greece.
Historians always sought Clio's approval to make sure everything was in order and in keeping with what had actually happened. Documenting history is a fundamental aspect of life because it helps future generations understand how the world was and how it became what it is today.
Usually represented with a roll of parchment, sometimes she used a laurel wreath as well as some of her sisters and is also the mother of Jacinto, companion of Apollo.
It was the muse of music, lyric poetry, songs and poetic melancholy. It was the third of the nine muses and its name means"the one that delights".
He is credited with the invention of the double flute, an instrument with which he is usually artistically represented and by which he can easily be recognized.
The double flute was extremely popular in ancient Greece and was used by shepherds and farmers. It was also used in sporting events, being a common instrument in festivals in honor of Dionysus, the god of wine. Often these festivals could be a bit wild and uncontrolled.
Due to the use in the eccentric festivals of Dionisio, the high society of Athens began to relate the use of the double flute with scandals and immorality.
For this reason they preferred to use the harp, they claimed that it was much more dignifying and elegant. They also claimed that anyone could learn to play the aulos (double flute) or even perform this instrument.
As Euterpe was the muse of music, she made sure that absolutely everyone who shared the same love for music could get the inspiration to continue with her passion.
She was loved and respected by all music lovers, even by those who preferred other instruments. They could turn their backs on the double flute, but no music lover could turn Euterpe around.
The muse of lyric poetry, including love, eroticism and songs. Her name meant"desired."
Artistically represented by the lyre, a viola and a swan, other times it can be seen holding an arrow and this is because it is connected with Eros, the Greek god of love and passion.
It was the favorite muse of many poets and this may be due to the fact that love and eroticism have often been the favorite subject of mankind for thousands of years.
He came and invoked this muse when he wanted to express the passionate feelings they had for being loved.
Muse of tragedy and tragic theater. Her name means"singer"and is represented artistically with a knife in her hand and a tragic mask in the other. The word"tragedy"has its origin in the Greek words"goat"and"song".
Tragedies were commonly staged during the festivals of Dionysius (wine king) and satires were associated with him and as this was half man, half goat.
Muse of rhetoric, sacred music, sacred songs and hymns and eloquence; Represented with a finger on the mouth (symbolizing silence and discretion) with a thoughtful, meditative, serious attitude and with an elbow supported in the column. His name means"one of many hymns".
Some credit her for being the muse of meditation and was invoked by individuals who sought to make a difference in society.
He could make the meaning of life understand and make the person come into contact with his spiritual and religious side. It was to those who came who developed a deeper understanding of geometry and agriculture.
Musa of the dance, choral poetry and dramatic choirs, her name means"the one that delights with the dance"and is represented artistically seated, probably resting of the dance, with a musical instrument of rope in the hands, be it a lyre or a viola .
She is often referred to as the mother of the sirens. Mastering the art of dancing was a matter of extreme importance in ancient Greece and, as a general rule, men and women should not dance together, instead they should do so in circles grouped according to sex.
The wealthy families hired private dance instructors for their children, and even military recruits were to be trained in this area because, according to the philosopher Plato, those who did not master the art of dancing had no education.
Muse of art, comedy and bucolic (pastoral) poetry, usually depicted with comedy mask in one hand and on the other the shepherd's cane or a trumpet.
At that time, comedies were as popular as today but with the difference that only men were allowed to act, so masks were of vital importance.
This muse truly gave happiness to people, was fun and joyful. Currently, its name continues being popular.
Muse of astrologers, astronomy, exact sciences and didactic poetry. Represented with a compass or a sphere in one hand and a spike in the other, dressed in a mantle covered with stars with their eyes always towards the sky.
It is associated with the mythical aspect of life, was an expert in interpretations of stars and could predict the future.
As an expert in astronomy, she knew the position of all stars and all planets.
- There are reports of two residences being attributed to the Muses: one of them on Mount Parnassus, which was consecrated by Apollo, at the foot of this hill was the source of Castalia and the artists came to purify themselves before entering the temple Of God. Its other residence was a sanctuary that was located on the Helicon, the highest mountain of Beocia, where the source Hipocrene is located.
- It is not until about 401 BC. When Plato and other Neoplatonists claim that there are nine intermediaries between the gods and the poet, artist or intellectual creator.
- Zeus is the father of Greek muses, considered as"the father of gods and men", god of zeal and thunder that according to Greek mythology was the king of the gods and governed them as a father to a family.
- Mnemosyne, the mother of the Greek muses, was a Titanid (female of"titan", race of powerful gods who ruled the golden age) goddess of memory. In other words, it was the personification of memory. Daughter of Gea and Uranus.
- The success of different authors, politicians, artists and others, according to Greek mythology was due to one or more muses guiding them to obtain the triumph.
- Any respectable learning institute should have an altar to honor the muses, in fact, the word"museum"comes from the Greeks and means"temple of the muses".
There are other words whose etymological origin is related to the word"muses"are:
- Mosaic: it comes from the nine muses and means that it belongs to the muses.
- Music: is the word figure"art and muse"and in general terms means the art of the muses.
- Boldrini, Agustina (2014). "The Greek Muses". Taken from lavoz.com.ar.
- Cartwright, Mark (2012). "Muse". Taken from ancient.eu/muse.
- Doyle Burns, Phyllis (2016). "Muses: Nine Goddesses from Greek Mythology". Taken from owlcation.com.
- Santiago, María (2012). "The Greek Muses". Taken from redhistory.com.
- McKechnie, Brian (2013). "The Nine Muses of Greek Mythology". Taken from owlcation.com.