Nine by number, the muses were the daughters of the Titan Mnemosyne and Zeus. They were the goddesses of all arts and sciences, and gave the artists and scientists their inspiration.
Calliope – epic poetry
Euterpe – lyric poetry and song accompanied by flute
Erato – love poetry
Polyhymnia – sacred poetry and dance
Melpomene – tragedy
Thalia – comedy
Clio – history
Terpsichore – dance and choral songs
Urania – astronomy
The muses would entertain the gods on Mount Olympus together with the Graces. They won over theSirens in a song competition and got their feathers as a price. In art, the muses were often depicted with these feathers in their hair.
They were worshipped all over Greece, for example on Mt. Helicon in Boeotia, the schools of philosophy (e.g. Pythagoras, Plato and Aristotle) and the gymnasiums. The Institution of Research in Alexandria was put under the protection of the Muses by Ptolemy II and was called Museion.
According to a legend, Hesiod met the Muses while herding his animals on M. Helicon. They told him to narrate “the present, the past and what is to come”.
From the muses are the words music, bemused, museum and amused derived. The Romans called them Camenae.