The Muses (Mousai)
Birth of the Muses
There are two accounts regarding the birth of
the Muses. One is that they were daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne
(personification of Memory), and the other is that they were
born in the very earliest times as daughters of Ouranos and
Gaia. Some authors are suggesting that there were two generations
of Muses, the ancient Muses who were daughters of Heaven, and
their late-born companions who were daughters of Zeus.
They first appear in the works of Homer and Hesiod
as goddesses. Goddesses on whom the epic poet relies for his
inspiration, memory and knowledge. Hesiod sayed that they delight
the hearth of Zeus on Mt Olympos by singing of things past,
present and future.
The nine Muses
The nine Muses according to standard tradition:
Kleio (Clio in Latin) - the Muse of history.
Euterpe - (She that gladdens) the Muse of flute-playing.
Thaleia - (Good Cheer) the Muse of comedy.
Melpomene - (She who sings) the Muse of tragedy.
Terpsichore - (Delighting in the Dance) the Muse
of choral lyric and dancing.
Erato - (the Lovely or Desirable) the Muse of
lyric poetry (often erotic in content).
Polhymnia - (Many Songs) the Muse who concerned
herself with hymns to the Gods, or later: pantomime.
Ourania - (the Heavenly) the Muse of astronomy.
Kalliope - the Muse of epic poetry.
The above are merely examples of the standard
view, since individual Muses are credited with different functions
in different sources.
the Routledge Handbook of Greek Mythology 2004