Greek Mythology/Minor Gods/Muses

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The Muses were the patron goddesses of the arts, including what are now considered the sciences. In most tellings, they daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne. Some say that Apollo was their leader. In the earliest myths, there were three unspecialized Muses, but they were later worshipped as nine and assigned genres. Their specialties were most commonly given as:

  • Calliope - epic poetry
  • Clio - history
  • Erato - love poetry
  • Euterpe - music or lyric poetry
  • Melpomene - tragedy
  • Polyhymnia (or Polymnia) - sacred poetry
  • Terpsichore - choral song and dance
  • Thalia - comedy
  • Urania - astronomy

They were especially identified with Pieria in Thessaly, where they were often called Pierides, and Mt. Helicon in Boeotia. Museums were temples dedicated to the Muses and their learning.