Information about Calliope, the Muse of Epic Poetry
Calliope was one of the young, beautiful maidens referred to as the Nine Muses. The nine Muses were the daughters of Zeus, the king of the gods, and Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory. The names of the nine Muses were Clio, Thalia, Erato, Euterpe, Polyhymnia, Calliope, Terpsichore, Urania and Melpomene. Calliope and her sisters were believed to reside above the golden clouds that covered sacred the Greek mountain peaks above the summits of Mounts Olympus, Helicon, Parnassus, and Pindus. They entertained and joined the Olympian gods in their feasts drinking water, milk, and honey, but never wine. The sisters were originally the patron goddesses of poets and musicians but over time their roles extended to include comedy, tragedy, history, poetry, music, dancing, singing, rhetoric, sacred hymns, and harmony. Calliope was the Muse of Epic Poetry.
Calliope, the Muse of Epic Poetry
The ancient Greeks were great writers of epic poetry. Epic poetry consists of a long narrative that reflects the values of the society, usually including the concept of 'good versus evil' and features heroes, villains and often includes the divine intervention of the gods. Examples of this poetic device are the "Iliad," and the "Odyssey". Traditionally, an epic poet would invoke the aid of Calliope to guide and assist him in his work. The invocation took the form of a prayer for divine inspiration from the goddess. These invocations were later included as part of the work at, or near the beginning, of the piece of epic poetry. The invocation in Homer's Iliad refers to the muse as a "heavenly goddess."
"Achilles' wrath, to Greece the direful spring
Of woes unnumber'd, heavenly goddess, sing"
Facts about Calliope, the Muse of Epic Poetry
The following fact file info about this Greek goddess and Muse and details her symbols and attributes.
Calliope was the Muse who represented and was the patron of Epic Poetry
Her name meant 'She of the Beautiful Voice'
She is said to be able to play any musical instrument
She was the daughter of Zeus and Mnemosyne
She was the eldest Muse and held the highest rank
Her symbol is writing tablet but she is also depicted carrying a scroll or a book or as wearing a golden crown
She was said to be the wisest of all the Muses and said to be the inspiration of Homer
Calliope was the mother of Orpheus and Linus
The alternative spelling of her name is Kalliope
Astrology - The Asteroid Muse
In Astrology there are nine asteroids named after each of the nine Greek muses. Kalliope is a large main belt M-type asteroid discovered by J. R. Hind on November 16, 1852. It is named after Calliope, the Greek Muse of epic poetry. It is orbited by a small moon named Linus. The small moon was so called as it was the name of her son.
Calliope in Greek Mythology
The muse and goddess Calliope was not only gifted as an inspiration of Epic Poetry but, like all nymphs possessed the gift of prophecy. The mountain spring on Mount Parnassus was sacred to Calliope and the other Muses. The mountain spring flowed between two high rocks above the city of Delphi, and in ancient times its sacred waters were introduced into a square stone basin, where they were retained for the use of the Pythia, the priests, priestesses and the oracle of Apollo.
The Powers of Calliope and the Muses
Although the Muses were generally believed to be a source of inspiration and of help to mortals they were also vain and arrogant and severely resented any mortals who questioned their supremacy in the arts. The powers of Calliope and her sisters were considerable. As goddesses, they were immortal and any mortals that were blessed by the Muses, could use the beauty of their song, or the grace of their dance, to heal the sick and provide comfort to the heartbroken. They also possessed the magical power of transformation and in one of the ancient myths nine sisters referred to as the Pierides challenged Calliope and the other Muses to a contest. The Muses won and then turned the Pierides into chattering birds.