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Muses,in Greek religion and mythology, patron goddesses of the arts, daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne. Originally only three, they were later considered as nine. Calliope was the Muse of epic poetry and eloquence; Euterpe, of music or of lyric poetry; Erato, of the poetry of love; Polyhymnia (or Polymnia), of oratory or sacred poetry; Clio, of history; Melpomene, of tragedy; Thalia, of comedy; Terpsichore, of choral song and dance; Urania, of astronomy. Some say that Apollo was their leader. Early places of their worship were the district of Pieria, in Thessaly, where they were often called Pierides, and Mt. Helicon, in Boeotia. The springs of Castalia, Aganippe, and Hippocrene were sacred to them.
in ancient Greek mythology the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne; goddesses who were patronesses of the realms of human spiritual activity, including poetry, art, and the sciences. It was thought that the Muses inspired poets and artists; hence the frequent invocations to them at the beginning of works of ancient poetry. Centers for the worship of the Muses included Pieria near Mount Olympus, Mount Helicon with the spring at Hippocrene, and Delphi (at the foot of Mount Parnassus) with the Castalian Spring. The association with springs indicates that initially the Muses were worshiped as fertility goddesses.
The names of the nine Muses were first given in Hesiod’s Theogony (seventh century B.C.). However, specific realms of art and science were assigned to them only in late antiquity. It was thought that the Muse Euterpe patronized lyric poetry; Clio, history; Thalia, comedy; Melpomene, tragedy; Terpsichore, dance; Erato, erotic poetry; Polyhymnia, hymns; Urania, astronomy; and Calliope, epic poetry. The Muses were represented in European painting (Botticelli, Tintoretto, Tiepolo), and the names of some of them are used as synonyms for the different arts—for example, Terpsichore is used to mean “ballet.”