The Muses (mythology)


   In Greek mythology, the Muses were the nine god­desses of the arts and sciences. They were the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne. Among early Greek writers, the number of Muses and their respective offices are given variously, but among later writers nine Muses were recognized. They were Cal­liope, Muse of epic poetry; Clio, of his­tory; Euterpe, of lyric poetry; Melpomene, of tragedy; Terpsichore, of dance and song; Erato, of love poetry; Polyhymnia, of sacred song; Urania, of astronomy, and Thalia, of comedy. The Muses were re­puted to have entered into contests with the Sirens, with the daughters of Pierus, and with the bard Thamyris, in all of which they won victories. The nightingale, the swan, and the grasshopper were sacred to them. The Muses are represented in art as beautiful maidens, dancing in a circle, often with Apollo. They are crowned with roses, palm leaves, and laurel. In Rome a temple and grove were consecrated to the Muses.