Having encountered one of them in recent days, I’m curious as to who or what I’m involved with:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Muses (Ancient
Greek αá¼± μοá¿¦σαι, hai
perhaps from the o-grade of the Proto-Indo-European root *men-
in Greek mythology, poetry, and literature are the goddesses
or spirits who inspire the creation of literature and the arts. They
were considered the source of the knowledge, related orally for
centuries in the ancient culture, that was contained in poetic lyrics
Writers similarly disagree also concerning the number of the Muses;
for some say that they are three, and others that they are nine, but the
number nine has prevailed since it rests upon the authority of the most
distinguished men, such as Homer and Hesiod and others like them.
Three ancient Muses were also reported in Plutarch‘s
Quaestiones Conviviviales (9.I4.2-4).
The Roman scholar Varro relates that there are only
three Muses: one who is born from the movement of water, another who
makes sound by striking the air, and a third, who is embodied only in
the human voice. However the Classical understanding of the muses
tripled their triad, set at nine goddesses, who embody the arts and
inspire creation with their graces through remembered and improvised song and stage, writing, traditional
music, and dance.
In one myth, King Pierus, king of Macedon, had nine daughters he named after the
nine Muses, believing that their skills were a great match to the Muses.
He thus challenged the Muses to a match, resulting in his daughters,
the Pierides, being turned into chattering magpies
for their presumption.
Sometimes they are referred to as water nymphs,
associated with the springs of Helicon
and with Pieris.
It was said that the winged horse Pegasus
touched his hooves to the ground on Helicon, causing four sacred springs
to burst forth, from which the muses were born. Athena
later tamed the horse and presented him to the muses.
The Olympian myths set Apollo as their leader, Apollon MousagetÄ“s.
Not only are the Muses explicitly used in modern English to refer to an artistic inspiration, as when one cites
one’s own artistic muse, but they also are implicit in words and
phrases such as "amuse", "museum" (Latinised from
mouseion—a place where the muses were worshipped), "music", and "musing
According to Hesiod‘s Theogony
(seventh century BC), they were daughters of Zeus, the
second generation king of the gods, and the offspring of Mnemosyne,
goddess of memory. For Alcman and Mimnermus,
they were even more primordial, springing from the
early deities, Uranus and Gaia. Gaia is Mother Earth, an early
mother goddess who was worshipped at Delphi
from prehistoric times, long before the site was rededicated to Apollo,
possibly indicating a transfer to association with him after that time. Pausanias records a tradition of two
generations of Muses; the first being daughters of Uranus and Gaia, the second of Zeus and Mnemosyne.
Another, rarer genealogy is that they are daughters of Harmonia (the
daughter of Aphrodite and Ares) which
contradicts the myth in which they were dancing at the wedding of Harmonia and Cadmus.
This later inconsistency is an example of how clues to the true dating,
or chronology, of myths may be determined by the appearance of figures
and concepts in Greek myths.