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In Greek mythology, the Muses (Greek Μουσαι, Mousai) are nine Greek goddesses of the arts and sciences. According to Hesiod's Theogony, they are the daughters of Zeus, king of the gods, and Mnemosyne, goddess of memory. The Muses inspired artists, musicians and poets. They were associated with the Roman Camenae.

They were sometimes called Aganippids because of their association with a fountain called Aganippe. Other fountains, called Hippocrene and Pirene were also important to the Muses. The Muses were also occasionally referred to as Corycides or Corycian nymphs after a cave on Mt. Parnassos called the Corycian Cave.

The Muses judged the contest between Apollo and Marsyas. They also buried the dead body of Orpheus, son of Calliope and nephew of the other eight. They blinded Thamyris for his hubris in challenging them to a contest.

The Muses were especially venerated in Boeotia, near Helicon, and in Delphi and the Parnassus, where Apollo became known as the leader of the Muses.

The canonical nine Muses are:

There were three original Muses: Aoide (or Aoede), Melete and Mneme.

The poet Sappho of Lesbos was also paid the very great compliment of being called "the tenth Muse".


The word muse is used figuratively to denote someone who inspires an artist.



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