MUSES (Lat. .11t/so, Gk. ;Matra, ousa ; con meted with µavta, mania, madness). In Greek mythology, the inspirers of song and music. In the Homeric epic their personality and number are vague, the poet now invoking but one Muse, now a number; only in a very late passage in the Odyssey are nine mentioned. In the Thcogony of Hesiod the canonical number, nine, and names appear. Originally probably nyinldis of fountains on Mount Olympus, they seem to have been worshiped first in Pieria, whence the cult spread southward and established itself on Mount Helicon at Ascra, and in Thespia.. We also hear of shrines at Delphi and at Athens, both on the Ilissus and on the Museum Hill. which thus obtained its name. There are grounds for believing that, like the Charites and Hum the Muses were originally three, but Bill(' was their number on Helicon, and this became universally accepted, as well as the tradition that they were the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (Memory).
In art the Muses are frequently- represented. On the Francois vase, an Attic work of the early sixth century n.c., they appear at the marriage of Pelens and Thetis, with Calliope playing on a Pan's pipe at the head. Later artists need them freely, especially in connection with Apollo. or
the mythical poets Orpheus aml Thamyris. On the basis by Praxiteles at Mantinea they are repre sented as present at the contest between Apollo and Marsyas. It is to be noted, however, that while there is a tendency to develop definite artistic types for some of the figures, the division of the several branches of poetic art among the Muses and the adoption of fixed attributes to dis tinguish them is a product of a comparatively late period in the Roman Empire. Even the Hesiodic names did not designate the functions of the Muses, and in the popular usage seem to have been but little employed. The functions of the Ilesiodic Muses were thus assigned in the later writers: Clio, history; Calliope, epic poetry; Polyhymnia. the pantomime; Euterpe. music of the flute; Terpsichore, melic poetry and the dance; Erato, the choral lyric; .1elponiene, tragedy; Thalia, comedy; Crania. astronomy. Some variations in this classification are found. Consult: Dciters, ['e'er die Verehrung der Muscn bei den Grieehen (Bonn, NGS) ; Bie, Die Musen in der antiken Kunst (Berlin. 18S7). See also the articles on the individual Muses.