Erato was a source of inspiration to poets, dramatists and authors, such as Homer, who lived in Ancient Greece.
Information about Erato, the Muse of Lyric and Love Poetry
Erato 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. Erato 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. Erato was the Muse of Lyric and Love Poetry.
Erato, the Muse of Lyric and Love Poetry
The ancient Greeks were great writers of lyric and love poetry. Greek lyric is occasional poetry which was composed for public, or private performance, by a soloist or chorus to mark particular occasions. Greek lyric poems were composed to celebrate athletic and military victories, commemorate the dead and offer religious devotion in the forms of hymns. The most famous lyric poets of Ancient Greece are referredto as the 'Nine Melic Poets' consisting of Alcaeus, Alcman, Anacreon, Bacchylides, Ibycus, Pindar, Sappho, Simonides, and Stesichorus. Traditionally, a lyric or love poet would invoke the aid of Erato, the muse of lyric poetry to guide and assist him in his work. The invocation took the form of a prayer for divine inspiration from the goddess.
Facts about Erato, the Muse of Lyric and Love Poetry
The following fact file of this Greek goddess and Muse and details her symbols and attributes.
- Erato was the Muse who represented and was the patron of Lyric and Love Poetry
- Also the muse of marriage songs
- She was the daughter of Zeus and Mnemosyne
- She was described as beautiful, passionate and erotic
- Her symbol was a Cithara , a type of lyre
- She was also depicted with turtle doves and golden arrows representing love
- Occasionally she was accompanied by the god Eros, who was pictured holding a torch.
Astrology - The Asteroid Muse
In Astrology there are nine asteroids named after each of the nine Greek muses. The discovery of the asteroid is credited to co-discoverers, Oskar Lesser and Wilhelm Forster, who discovered it on September 14, 1860 from the Berlin Observatory. The name was chosen by Johann Franz Encke, director of the observatory, and refers to Erato, the Muse of lyric poetry in Greek mythology.
Erato in Greek Mythology
The muse and goddess Erato was not only gifted as an inspiration of Lyric and Love Poetry but, like all nymphs possessed the gift of prophecy. The mountain spring on Mount Parnassus was sacred to Erato 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 Erato 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 Erato 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 Erato and the other Muses to a contest. The Muses won and then turned the Pierides into chattering birds.