The Nine Muses

The Muses are the daughters of Zeus and the Titaness Mnemosyne, goddess of memory. They preside over the arts and sciences, and inspire all artists, especially poets, philosophers, and musicians.

Muse of Eloquence and Epic or Heroic Poetry. She is the eldest of the Muses, and by Apollo, mother of Orpheus. Her name means "beautiful voice," and her attributes are a stylus and wax tablets.

Muse of Historical and Heroic Poetry. She is credited with introducing the Phoenician alphabet into Greece, and her attribute is usually a parchment scroll or set of tablets.

Muse of Lyric Poetry, particularly Love and Erotic Poetry, and Mimicry. She is usually depicted with a lyre.

Muse of Music and Lyric Poetry, as well as Joy and Pleasure, and Flute Playing. Her name means "rejoicing well" or "delight," and she is thought to have invented the double flute, her only attribute.

Muse of Tragedy. She is usually depicted wearing cothurnus, or boots traditionally worn by tragic actors, and holding a tragic mask in one hand. Sometimes she is also depicted holding a knife or a club in the other hand.

Muse of the Sacred Hymn, Eloquence, and Dance. She is usually depicted as a serious-looking woman, wearing a long cloak and resting one elbow on a pillar, and sometimes with a finger to her mouth.

Muse of Dancing and the Dramatic Chorus. By the river god Achelous, she is the mother of the Sirens. She is often depicted seated, holding a lyre. Her name forms the basis of the word 'terpsichorean' (pertaining to dance).

Muse of Comedy and Pastoral Poetry. Her attributes are a comic mask and shepherd's crook, both of which she is often depicted holding.

Muse of Astronomy and Astrology. She is often depicted wearing a cloak embroidered with stars, and holding a globe in her left hand and a peg in her right hand.

SOURCE: Encyclopedia Mythica