In Greek mythology, the nine Muses are goddesses of the various arts such as music, dance, and poetry and are blessed not only with wonderful artistic talents themselves but also with great beauty, grace, and allure. Their gifts of song, dance, and joy helped the gods and mankind to forget their troubles and inspired musicians and writers to reach ever greater... [continue reading]
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A Roman 2nd century CE sculpture of Calliope, the Muse of epic poetry. The sculpture is a copy of a 2nd century BCE Hellenistic sculpture which was itself a copy of a 4th century BCE Greek original. (Vatican Museums, Rome).
A Roman sculpture of unknown date depicting Clio the Muse of history. (Vatican Museums, Rome).
A 1st century CE Roman sculpture of Erato, the Muse of lyric poetry, playing the lyre. (Vatican Museums, Rome).
Greek mythology, as in other ancient cultures, was used as a means to explain the environment in which humankind lived, the natural phenomena they witnessed and the passing of time through the days, months, and seasons. Myths were also intricately connected to religion in the Greek world and explained the origin and lives of the gods, where humanity... [continue reading]
published on 26 April 2012
Hesiod and the Muse,1891,oil on canvas by Gustave Moreau
The Greek poet Hesiod (c. 700 BCE) is most famous for his works Theogony and Works and Days. In this passage from Theogony, Hesiod relates the birth of the gods from cosmic Chaos and follows the lineage through the great Zeus, King of the Olympian gods, worshipped by Hesiod’s contemporaries: (ll. 1-25) From the Heliconian Muses let us begin... [continue reading]
A 1st century CE Roman sculpture of Melpomene, the Muse of tragedy. She holds a sword and the tragic mask of Hercules. (Vatican Museums, Rome).
Orpheus is a figure from ancient Greek mythology, most famous for his virtuoso ability in playing the lyre or kithara. His music could charm the wild animals of the forest and even streams would pause and trees bend a little closer to hear his sublime singing. He was also a poet and a prophet and is widely referenced in all forms of ancient Greek art... [continue reading]
A Roman sculpture of Terpsichore, the Muse of Dance, playing a lyre, 1st century CE. (Vatican Museums, Rome).
published on 14 December 2012
A statue of Terpsichore, the Greek Muse of Dance. A 2nd century CE copy from a Greek original (The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg).