MUSE: The source of an artist’s inspiration.
According to Greek mythology, there were nine “Muses,” depicted as young, beautiful maidens who presided over song, dance, music, poetry, and the sciences. It’s said they entertained the gods on Mount Olympus and were a source of inspiration to poets, dramatists, and authors. The god Apollo, in his role as the god of music, poetry, and dance, was sometimes said to be their leader. Zeus, king of the gods, is reported to be their father, and their mother as Mnemosyne, goddess of memory.
The names of the Muses were: Clio, Thalia, Erato, Euterpe, Polyhymnia, Calliope, Terpsichore, Urania and Melpomene. Following are their attributes and symbols:
- Clio represented history and her symbol was scrolls.
- Thalia represented comedy and pastoral poetry and her symbol was the comic mask.
- Erato represented lyric and love poetry and her symbol was the Cithara, an ancient Greek musical instrument in the lyre family.
- Euterpe represented music (or the flute) and her symbol was the Aulos, an ancient Greek musical instrument in the flute family.
- Polyhymnia represented singing, mime, and sacred dance and her symbol was a veil.
- Calliope represented epic poetry and her symbol was a writing tablet.
- Terpsichore represented dance and choral song and her symbol was a lyre.
- Urania represented astronomy and her symbol was a globe and compass.
- Melpomene represented tragedy and her symbol was a tragic mask.
The word museum derives from the Muses.
I hope you will join me as we “chase the muses” to see where they lead us.
(More information on the Nine Muses can be found here.)