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By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on

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The αἱ μοῦσαι (Muses) were goddesses on whom creatives, thinkers and philosophers depended for their inspiration. Hesiod attests that they are the offspring of the Titan Mνημοσύνη Mnemosyne and Zeus, but he does differentiate them beyond their names. That culture, creativity, stories arose from memory reflects society's pre-literate roots; and the very nature of thought itself. However, they later developed distinct identities (provided below in their usual forms).

Mount Helikon in Boiotia was sacred to the Muses, and it was here that they came to Hesiod and gave him the gift of song. They liked to dance around Hippokrene, the 'Horse's Spring', created when the winged horse Pegasus kicked the ground with his hoof. Its water was said to bring poetic inspiration to all who drank from it. March 2008, p 36

Καλλιόπη Kalliope
Lovely voice
Epic poetry.
Κλειώ Kleio
Eὐτέρπη Euterpe
Playings of the aulos (double pipe).
Θάλεια Thaleia
Good cheer
Μελπομένη Melpomene
Singer, melodious
Tragedy, perhaps reflecting the use of choruses.
Τερψιχόρη Terpsichore
Delight + dance
Choral lyric and dancing.
Ἐρατώ Erato
Lyric poetry.
Πολυύμνια Polyhymnia
Many songs
Hymns and later, Roman pantomime.
Οὐρανία Ourania
Heavenly one