The 9 Muses

Greek History & Archaeology

According to the myths, the God Zeus took the young woman Mnemosyne to his bed and slept with her for nine consecutive nights. As a result of their encounter, the nine minor goddesses of the Greek pantheon were born, destined to become the personifications of arts, music, visual arts and sciences.

More descriptively, the author Hesiodus in his book Theogony writes: “Mnemosene slept on the mountains of Pieria with the son of Cronus and gave birth to these virgins who make us forget our worries and lessen our pain. For nine nights in a row Zeus would climb on his holy bed and sleep with Mnemosene away from all the eternal Gods. A year later, when the months and seasons had completed their cycle and when many days had passed, Mnemosene gave birth to nine daughters…who were enchanted with music…”.

Mosaic depicting the mythological and literary theme of the nine Muses – National Museum of History and Art, Luxembourg Photo Credit: Carole Raddato

Upon giving birth to her nine daughters, Μnemosyne gave them to the Nymph Eufime and God Apollo who raised them and taught them the arts. Apollo eventually brought them to the Temple of Zeus on Mount Elikonas where they devoted themselves to the inspirational arts.

They were: Clio, Euterpe, Thalia, Melpomeni, Terpsichore, Erato, Polymnia, Ourania and Calliope. The latter is the superior Muse as she inspired Homer as he wrote The Iliad and The Odyssey. She’s considered to be the inspirer of heroic poetic works and writing. Ancient authors always appealed to the Muses at the beginning of their work to help them achieve excellence.

The Muses Melpomene, Erato and Polymnia Photo Credit: pixelsniper

But the Nine Muses as a whole protected a variety of valuable assets for the Greek arts and sciences fields: from history (Clio), love poetry (Erato), poetry of death (Euterpe), tragedies (Melpomene) to the divine hymns (Polyhymnia), dance (Terpsichore), comedy (Thalia) and celestial objects (Urania).

They keep inspiring artists to this day with countless paintings, drawings, designs, poems and statues dedicated to them. Their importance in artistic creation has been acknowledged by all artists of the Renaissance who dedicated their works to them.

The Muse Polyhymnia Photo Credit: carulmare

As representatives of the arts, it’s no surprise that the Nine Muses served as the namesake for a nine-member K-pop group. The group ended its promotions in February after 9 years. Their soft ballad single “Remember” was dedicated to their fans Mine, relaying feelings of love and thanks for the past 9 years.

Cover Photo Credits: Cristina

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