The Ancient Library

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On this page: Muses



when Egypt had become a province of the empire, it still continued, as an imperial institute and the centre of all learning, especially in mathematics and astronomy [Strabo, p. 794]. Caracalla confiscated the pensions of the learned men attached to it, and the institution itself was completely destroyed during the civil wars under Aurelian in the 3rd century.

Muses. In Greek mythology originally the Nymphs of inspiring springs, then goddesses of song in general, afterwards the repre­sentatives of the various kinds of poetry, arts, and sciences. In Homer, who now speaks of one, and now of many Muses, but

(she that extols), the Muse of history ; with a scroll. (3) euterpe (she that gladdens), the Muse of lyric song ; with the double flute. (4) thalia (she that flourishes), the Muse of comedy and bucolic poetry; with the comic mask, the ivy wreath, and the shepherd's staff. (5) melpomene (she that sings), the Muse of tragedy; with tragic mask, ivy wreath, and occasionally with attributes of individual heroes, e.g. the club, the sword. (6) terpsichore (she that rejoices in the dance), the Muse of dancing ; with the lyre. (7) erato (the lovely one), the Muse of erotic poetry; with a smaller lyre. (8) P6LYMNIA or

THK MUSES. (Sarco iba^us ii the Louvre, Parip.)

without specifying their number or their names, they are considered as goddesses dwelling in Olympus, who at the meals of the gods sing sweetly to the lyre of Apollo, inspire the poet and prompt his song. Hesiod [The.og. 52-, 76-,] calls them the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, born in Plena, and mentions their names, to which we shall at the same time add the province and the attributes afterwards assigned to each (sec cuts). (1) CALLIOPE (she of the fair voice), in Hesiod the noblest of all, the Muse of epic song; among her attributes are a wax-tablet and a pencil. (2) CLIO

POLYHYMNIA (she that is rich in hymns), the Muse of serious sacred songs; usually represented as veiled and pensive. (9) urania (the heavenly), the Muse of astro­nomy; with the celestial globe.

Three older Muses were sometimes dis­tinguished from these. melete (Medita­tion), mneme (Remembrance), AoiDE(Song), whose worship was said_to have been intro­duced by the Aloldse. Otus and Ephialtes, near Mount Helicon. Thracian settlers in the Pierian district at the foot of Olympus and of Helicon in Boeotia are usually mentioned as the original founders of this

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