Muse

For other uses see Muse (disambiguation).

In Greek mythology, the Muses (Greek Μουσαι, Mousai) are nine archaic goddesses who embody the right evocation of myth, inspired through remembered and improvised song and traditional music and dances. They were water nymphs, associated with the springs of Helicon and Pieris. The Olympian system set Apollo as their leader, Apollon Mousagetes.

According to Hesiod's Theogony, they are the daughters of Zeus, king of the gods, and Mnemosyne, goddess of memory. For Alcman and Mimnermus, they were even more primordial, springing from Uranus and Gaia.

Compare the Roman inspiring nymphs of springs, the Camenae.

Muses in myth

According to Pausanias there were three original Muses: Aoide ("song", "voice"), Melete ("practice" or "occasion") and Mneme ("memory") (Paus. 9.29.1). Together, they form the complete picture of the preconditions of poetic art in cult practice.

The canonical nine Muses are:

  • Euterpe (music)
  • Calliope (epic poetry)
  • Clio (history)
  • Erato (lyric poetry)
  • Melpomene (tragedy)
  • Polyhymnia (sacred poetry)
  • Terpsichore (dancing)
  • Thalia (comedy)
  • Urania (astronomy)

Together, they form a complete picture of the subjects proper to poetic art in the archaic period. However, the association of specific muses with specific art forms is a later innovation, and has been called pedantic.

In Roman, Renaissance and Neoclassical art, Muses depicted in sculptures or paintings are often distinguished by certain props or poses, as emblems. Euterpe (music) carries a flute; Calliope (epic poetry) carries a writing tablet; Clio (history) carries a scroll and books; Erato (lyric poetry) is often seen with a lyre and a crown of roses; Melpomene (tragedy) is often seen with a tragic mask; Polyhymnia (sacred poetry) is often seen with a pensive expression; Terpsichore (dancing) is often seen dancing and carrying a lyre; Thalia (comedy) is often seen with a comic mask; and Urania (astronomy) carries a staff pointed at a celestial globe.

Function in Society

Greek mousa is a common noun as well as a type of goddess: it literally means "song" or "poem". In Pindar, to "carry a mousa" is "to sing a song". The word is probably derived from the Indo-European root *men-, which is also the source of Greek Mnemosyne, Latin Minerva, and English "mind", "mental" and "memory".

The Muses were therefore both the embodiments and sponsors of performed metrical speech: mousike, whence "music", was the art of the Muses. In the archaic period, before the widespread availability of books, this included nearly all of learning: the first Greek book on astronomy, by Thales, was set in dactylic hexameter, as were many works of pre-Socratic philosophy; both Plato and the Pythagoreans explicitly included philosophy as a sub-species of mousike (Strabo 10.3.10). Herodotus, whose primary medium of delivery was public recitation, named each one of the nine books of his Histories after a different Muse.

For poet and lawgiver Solon (fragment 13), the Muses were the key to the good life, since they brought both prosperity and friendship. Solon sought to perpetuate his political reforms by establishing recitations of his poetry—complete with invocations to his practical-minded Muses—by Athenian boys at festivals every year.

The Muses judged the contest between Apollo and Marsyas. They also gathered the pieces of the dead body of Orpheus, son of Calliope, and buried them. They blinded Thamyris for his hubris in challenging them to a contest.

Function in literature

The muses are typically invoked at or near the beginning of an epic poem or story. They have served as aid to an author, or as the true speaker for which an author is only a mouthpiece. Originally the invocation of the Muse was an indication that the speaker was working inside the poetic tradition, according to the established formulae.

Two classic examples: Homer, Book I of The Odyssey:

"Tell me, O Muse, of that ingenious hero
who travelled far and wide
after he had sacked the famous town of Troy."

... And Dante Alighieri, in Canto II of The Inferno:

O Muses, o high genious, aid me now!
O memory that noted what I saw,
Now shall your true nobility be seen!

Cults of the Muses

When Pythagoras arrived at Croton, his first advice to the Crotoniates was to build a shrine of the Muses at the center of the city, to promote civic harmony and learning.

Local cults of the Muses were often associated with springs or fountains. They were sometimes called Aganippids because of their association with a fountain called Aganippe. Other fountains, called Hippocrene and Pirene were also important to the Muses. The Muses were also occasionally referred to as Corycides or Corycian nymphs after a cave on Mount Parnassos called the Corycian Cave.

The Muses were especially venerated in Boeotia, near Helicon, and in Delphi and the Parnassus, where Apollo became known as Mousagetes "Muse-leader".

Muse-worship was also often associated with the hero-cults of poets: the tombs of Archilochus on Thasos and Hesiod and Thamyris (whom they blinded) in Boeotia all played host to festivals in which poetic recitations were accompanied by sacrifices to the Muses.

The Library of Alexandria and its circle of scholars were formed around a mousaion ("museum" or shrine of the Muses) close by the tomb of Alexander the Great.

Many Enlightenment figures sought to re-establish a "Cult of the Muses" in the 18th century. A popular Masonic lodge in pre-Revolutionary Paris was called Neuf Soeurs ("nine sisters", i.e. nine Muses), and was attended by Voltaire and Benjamin Franklin. One side-effect of this movement was the use of the word "museum" (originally, "cult place of the Muses") to refer to a place for the public display of knowledge.

The classical tradition

The poet Sappho of Lesbos was also paid the very great compliment of being called "the tenth Muse".

The word muse is used figuratively to denote someone who inspires an artist.


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The word muse is used figuratively to denote someone who inspires an artist. The following groups have played on the bill of One Minute Silence' headlining tours:. The poet Sappho of Lesbos was also paid the very great compliment of being called "the tenth Muse". The band have played in support of:. One side-effect of this movement was the use of the word "museum" (originally, "cult place of the Muses") to refer to a place for the public display of knowledge. However, in a statement released in October 2003, the band announced their split:. nine Muses), and was attended by Voltaire and Benjamin Franklin. More recently Yap has been following his spoken word career, succeeding on breaking onto Radio 4's "Spoken Word".

A popular Masonic lodge in pre-Revolutionary Paris was called Neuf Soeurs ("nine sisters", i.e. The group's following comes largely from their energetic live shows -- they have been voted Best British Live Act in Kerrang!. Many Enlightenment figures sought to re-establish a "Cult of the Muses" in the 18th century. Between these releases, One Minute Silence had toured extensively, though the latest tour had to be cancelled. The Library of Alexandria and its circle of scholars were formed around a mousaion ("museum" or shrine of the Muses) close by the tomb of Alexander the Great. There are still the thunderous live songs like "We Bounce" and "I Wear My Skin". Muse-worship was also often associated with the hero-cults of poets: the tombs of Archilochus on Thasos and Hesiod and Thamyris (whom they blinded) in Boeotia all played host to festivals in which poetic recitations were accompanied by sacrifices to the Muses. Yap's rapping gave way to much more singing on tracks like "Price Of The King's Ticket".

The Muses were especially venerated in Boeotia, near Helicon, and in Delphi and the Parnassus, where Apollo became known as Mousagetes "Muse-leader". One Lie Fits All showed a new direction for band. The Muses were also occasionally referred to as Corycides or Corycian nymphs after a cave on Mount Parnassos called the Corycian Cave. According to oneminutesilence.com (http://www.oneminutesilence.com), "[t]his name continues the pattern of manipulating well known marketing slogans in order to present a political statement."[2] (http://www.oneminutesilence.com/newalbum.html). Other fountains, called Hippocrene and Pirene were also important to the Muses. A single, "We Bounce", was released on March 31st 2003, with a third album, titled One Lie Fits All, following on July 7 2003. They were sometimes called Aganippids because of their association with a fountain called Aganippe. From live performances and both live and studio recordings, the new material was obviously a further progression; the group was experimenting with various time signatures, such as 7/4, and was using more melody and a greater variation in song structure.

Local cults of the Muses were often associated with springs or fountains. After circulating a three track demo and signing a deal with Taste Media, the band started recording sessions for their third album in the autumn of 2002. When Pythagoras arrived at Croton, his first advice to the Crotoniates was to build a shrine of the Muses at the center of the city, to promote civic harmony and learning. Buy Now... sounded more like a metal album. And Dante Alighieri, in Canto II of The Inferno:. This, their second album, represented a noticeable step in the band's musical progression: the record's production quality and style differed from their debut, for which they had used a hip-hop producer. .. Saved Later followed in 2000 after an amicable split with Ignatiou, who was replaced by Massimo, known as Massy.

Two classic examples: Homer, Book I of The Odyssey:. Buy Now.. Originally the invocation of the Muse was an indication that the speaker was working inside the poetic tradition, according to the established formulae. The band signed a record deal with Big Cat Records in 1997, and released Available In All Colours the following year. They have served as aid to an author, or as the true speaker for which an author is only a mouthpiece. The band felt that that respect was often "misplaced".[1] (http://www.oneminutesilence.com/omsfaq.html#1). The muses are typically invoked at or near the beginning of an epic poem or story. That name, originally intended to be that of a song, was chosen to parody the practice of having a one minute silence as a mark of respect when someone considered "important or well respected" dies.

They blinded Thamyris for his hubris in challenging them to a contest. The band was forced to change its name because of an American group who shared it, and so they became One Minute Silence. They also gathered the pieces of the dead body of Orpheus, son of Calliope, and buried them. After working with various rhythm sections, they settled with Glen Diani on bass and Eddie Stratton on drums. The Muses judged the contest between Apollo and Marsyas. The band came together in the early 1990s as Irish vocalist Brian Barry got together with guitarist Chris Ignatiou under the name "Near Death Experience". Solon sought to perpetuate his political reforms by establishing recitations of his poetry—complete with invocations to his practical-minded Muses—by Athenian boys at festivals every year. Although they claimed not to be a "political band" -- they are simply "political people" who are also musicians, they say -- the group's lyrics have a political message which can be interpreted as generally anti-capitalist and anarchist.

For poet and lawgiver Solon (fragment 13), the Muses were the key to the good life, since they brought both prosperity and friendship. The band announced its split after eight years in a press release dated October 21, 2003. Herodotus, whose primary medium of delivery was public recitation, named each one of the nine books of his Histories after a different Muse. The band consisted of vocalist Brian 'Yap' Barry, guitarist Massimo Fiocco, drummer Eddie Stratton and bassist Glen Diani. In the archaic period, before the widespread availability of books, this included nearly all of learning: the first Greek book on astronomy, by Thales, was set in dactylic hexameter, as were many works of pre-Socratic philosophy; both Plato and the Pythagoreans explicitly included philosophy as a sub-species of mousike (Strabo 10.3.10). One Minute Silence were a four-piece band that combined influences from metal, hardcore punk and rap. The Muses were therefore both the embodiments and sponsors of performed metrical speech: mousike, whence "music", was the art of the Muses. One Lie Fits All, 2003 album, Taste Media.

The word is probably derived from the Indo-European root *men-, which is also the source of Greek Mnemosyne, Latin Minerva, and English "mind", "mental" and "memory". "We Bounce", 2003 single, Taste Media. In Pindar, to "carry a mousa" is "to sing a song". Revolution EP, 2003, Taste Media. Greek mousa is a common noun as well as a type of goddess: it literally means "song" or "poem". "Fish Out Of Water", 2001 single, V2 Records. In Roman, Renaissance and Neoclassical art, Muses depicted in sculptures or paintings are often distinguished by certain props or poses, as emblems. Euterpe (music) carries a flute; Calliope (epic poetry) carries a writing tablet; Clio (history) carries a scroll and books; Erato (lyric poetry) is often seen with a lyre and a crown of roses; Melpomene (tragedy) is often seen with a tragic mask; Polyhymnia (sacred poetry) is often seen with a pensive expression; Terpsichore (dancing) is often seen dancing and carrying a lyre; Thalia (comedy) is often seen with a comic mask; and Urania (astronomy) carries a staff pointed at a celestial globe. Saved Later, 2000 album, V2 Records

    .

    However, the association of specific muses with specific art forms is a later innovation, and has been called pedantic. Buy Now.. Together, they form a complete picture of the subjects proper to poetic art in the archaic period. "Stuck Between A Rock And A White Face", single, Big Cat Records. The canonical nine Muses are:. Available in All Colours, 1998 album, Big Cat Records

      . Together, they form the complete picture of the preconditions of poetic art in cult practice. Mudvayne.

      9.29.1). Will Haven. According to Pausanias there were three original Muses: Aoide ("song", "voice"), Melete ("practice" or "occasion") and Mneme ("memory") (Paus. Sugar Coma. Compare the Roman inspiring nymphs of springs, the Camenae. Slipknot. For Alcman and Mimnermus, they were even more primordial, springing from Uranus and Gaia. Sevendust.

      According to Hesiod's Theogony, they are the daughters of Zeus, king of the gods, and Mnemosyne, goddess of memory. Pitchshifter. The Olympian system set Apollo as their leader, Apollon Mousagetes.. tour, with Far). They were water nymphs, associated with the springs of Helicon and Pieris. Incubus (1997 S.C.I.E.N.C.E. In Greek mythology, the Muses (Greek Μουσαι, Mousai) are nine archaic goddesses who embody the right evocation of myth, inspired through remembered and improvised song and traditional music and dances. Deftones.

      Urania (astronomy). Biohazard. Thalia (comedy). Anthrax (US tour). Terpsichore (dancing). Polyhymnia (sacred poetry).

      Melpomene (tragedy). Erato (lyric poetry). Clio (history). Calliope (epic poetry).

      Euterpe (music).

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