Last Monday I told you my preference for the origin of the muses was the affair between Zeus and Mnemosyne represented in Greek mythology. Why the affair of mythological gods is so interesting to me, I don’t know.
You probably remember Zeus—he was, after all, the undisputed king (or chieftain) of the mythological gods. He oversaw the universe and assigned the other gods their roles. He was considered the god of lightning and thunder and is often depicted holding a thunderbolt. When, as a writer, an idea strikes me, it often hits like lightning—sometimes even followed by a clap of thunder. Now I know it’s just ‘ol Zeus helping me out!
Zeus was also known for his romantic escapades, many of which resulted in godly offspring. In the Illiad, he is the father of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, beauty and sexuality. (Her mother was the Greek goddess, Dione, if you care.) In Greek mythology Zeus fathered nine muses, each responsible for inspiration and creativity in her domain. They are:
|Muse||Area of Expertise||Muse’s Symbol|
|Calliope||Epic poetry||Writing Tablet|
|Erato||Lyric poetry||Cithara (Greek musical instrument like a lyre)|
|Euterpe||Music||Aulos (another ancient Greek musical instrument)|
|Urania||Astronomy||Globe and Compass|
The Muses’ mother, Mnemosyne, personified memory in Greek mythology. It’s also where the word “mnemonic” originated. (I don’t think I’ve thought about mnemonics since college.) In Hesoid’s Theogony, kings and poets credited their powers of authoritative speech to Mnemosyne and her nine daughters. I personally would like to get a little more of the memory juju.
I’m grateful for many things in my life. Today I’m grateful my mother wasn’t enthralled by Greek Mythology when I was born. I cringe when I think I could have been named Terpsichore or even worse, Urania. It could have happened—when I was in college she named a poor little puppy Medea.
Thoughts for the week
What are your earliest memories about mythology? Has mythology had an impact on your life? I’d love to see your comments about this.