The nine muses of Greek Mythology – All you need to know

In Akropolis Village our villas have been named after four muses: Erato, Thalia, Kleio and Ourania.

What do you know about all nine muses of Greek mythology?

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The nine muses were daughters of Zeus and Mnimosene (Mnimi which means Memory in Greek). Originally they were Nymphs of the mountain and the waters. They were then worshiped as goddesses and were patrons of the arts, literature and science. They lived in Pieria Mountains and were closely connected to Zeus. Their teacher was Apollo, who conducted their choir.

In the 3rd century BC, games were held in their honor, the “Museia” (“Museums”). These games were strictly about music and  poetry. The prize for the winners was a wreath. After all museums were the places dedicated to muses and the arts they represented.

Let’s talk about each muse separately.

1. Kleio (Clio)

Muse of history. Her name is derived by kleō which means “narrate” or “make someone famous” in ancient Greek and kleōs means “glory”.  In most illustrations we see her with a book or plates or a roll of parchment with her stories written on it and a trumpet or lyre to recite them. In some of them she has an hourglass next to her, which symbolizes the time flow. It is said that she used it to narrate her stories in the correct time order. Most of the times we see her wearing a red mantle and a bay leaf wreath on the head. She fell in love with Adonis, with whom Aphrodite was in love too. That’s why Aphrodite punished her and made her love Pierrot. It is said that Kleio invented the guitar.

2. Kalliopi (Calliope)

Muse of epic and heroic poetry and rhetoric. Her name means “beautiful in sight” in Greek. It is a compound word by kalli which means “good” and opi (opsi) which means “sight”. She was the eldest of the muses and the kindest of all according to Hesiod. She was invoked by vocalists and minstrels for inspiration. She is depicted young, beautiful, with bay leaf branches in one hand and two books in the other. There are theories that even though she was a virgin she had three sons. Many consider that Homer was her son too.

3. Efterpi (Euterpe)

Muse of music. Her name means “please someone”. She is depicted with a bay leaf wreath on her head, holding or playing a musical flute or double flute. She belonged to the escort of Dionysus.

4. Terpsichore

Although she is the muse of dance she is depicted mostly sitting and holding a lyre. That is the reason that later she was considered the muse of lyric music. Her name means “the one who pleases with her dance” in Greek. It is a compound word by terpo which means “please” and choro which means “dance”.

5. Erato

Muse of love, hymenaeum and marriage. Her name comes from the Greek word eros which means “love”. It is considered she invented love poems. She is depicted with a rose wreath on her head, almost naked, holding a lyre. There are some paintings god Eros is sitting next to her. Her beauty is resembled with the one of goddess Aphrodite.

6. Melpomene

Muse of drama. Melpo, the first compound of her name, mean “melody” and the second compound comes from menos which means “anger”. She was mother of Sirens, who allured sailors with their songs and drowned them. It is considered that she invented barbiton, an ancient instrument (variation of lyre). She also belonged to the escort of Dionysus. She is depicted either wearing of holding the tragic mask of theater, holding a knife or a rod and looking angry. Mortals invoked her to help them weather the storm.

7. Thalia

Muse of comedy. Thallo means “bloom” in ancient Greek. It is considered that she discovered geometry, architecture and agriculture. She is depicted holding the comedy mask of theater on the one hand and an ivy wreath on the other.

8. Polymnia

Muse of divine hymns and grammar. Apart from being the muse of divine hymns, in the last years of the Roman Empire, she was also considered the muse of theatrical art. She is always depicted serious and contemplative, looking at the sky, with the finger of the right hand extended. She is mostly wearing a long mantel, veil and bay leaf wreath with pearls on her head. Later on, due to her name, it was considered that she helped with learning and memorize. That is why some people confuse her with her mother Mnemosyne.

9. Ourania (Urania)

Muse of astronomy and astrology and protector of the celestial bodies. She appears in modern depictions with a crown of stars on her head, a diabetes in one hand and a celestial sphere in the other. There she recorded the galaxies, the suns, the planets and the stars. She was also thought to have psychic abilities. It is said that although living in the celestial dome, in the summers she would descend to the Bardousia Mountains.

Make your holidays memorable in one of our beautiful villas during your stay in Karpathos.  And learn more about the history of the island in the article History of Karpathos island – the short version.

Don’t forget to make your reservation at Akropolis Village on time.

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