Mnemosyne (Mnemosine, Juno Moneta, Memory)

mnemosineMnemosyne was a Titan goddess of memory and remembrance. She was believed to be the inventress of speech and writings. In Hesiod's Theogony, her daughters, the Muses, are described as the spirits who possessed kings and poets, whom the gods favoured and gave them special powers of authoritative speech and wisdom. Mnemosyne was one of the six daughters of primeval deities Uranus and Gaea in the first generation of Titans. Mnemosyne was also known to be a mother of Muses and represented the memorisation of stories and myths preserved in history before the discovery of writing.


The mother of Muses

Mnemosyne dwelled over the hills of Eleuther (in Pieria, near Mount Olympus) where Zeus came to lie with her for nine nights, away from other immortal gods. Together in those nine nights they gave birth to nine Muses:


Calliope - muse of epic poetry was believed to have possessed Homer and gave him inspiration for the Odyssey and the Iliad. She is often depicted as carrying a book or a writing tablet. She was also the mother of two sons by Apollo, called Linus and Orpheus.

Clio - muse of history. She is usually depicted of holding an open scroll or is seated beside a chest of books.

Erato - muse of love and erotic poetry. Most of the time she is depicted playing a kithara or a lyre, but in some cases she is shown with a wreath of myrtle and roses.

Euterpe - muse of music. She is often depicted sitting on a chair and playing her double flute.

Melpomene - muse of tragedy. However, she was originally a muse of singing and dancing which came from her name or more precisely from greek verb melpĂ´ ("to celebrate with dance and song."). She is usually depicted wearing cothurnus boots(boots worn by tragic actors) and holding a tragic mask in her hand.

Polyhymnia - muse of sacred hymns. She is depicted as serious or meditative, often standing, wearing long cloak and supporting her arm with a part of the cloak.

Terpsichore - muse of dancing. Usually, she is depicted in a sitting position and playing a lyre with her special plectrum. She is also mentioned to be the mother of Sirens.

Thalia - muse of comedy. Most of the time, she is depicted holding a comic mask in her hand and wearing a cloak and a crown made of ivy.

Urania - muse of astronomy. She is depicted with a globe in her hand. Urania was believed to be able of fortelling the future by arrangement of the stars and is often associated with Universal Love and the Holy Spirit.