Information about Thalia, the Muse of Comedy and Pastoral Poetry
Thalia 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. Thalia 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. Thalia was the Muse of Comedy and Pastoral Poetry.
Thalia, the Muse of Comedy
According to the traditions and beliefs of the Ancient Greeks a dramatist writing a comedy play would invoke the aid of Thalia to guide and assist him in his work. The invocation took the form of a prayer for divine inspiration from the goddess. The theatre was an important and primary form of entertainment for the Ancient Greeks. Plays were often combined with music and dance. There were three genres of drama: comedy, tragedy and satyr plays. In Tragedies one or more major characters always suffered a disastrous end. Satyr plays made fun of mortal legends and of real people. In comedy plays, whose patron was Thalia, there was always had a happy ending. Plays in ancient Greece consisted of three major parts: the prologue, the chorus and the scenes. The play began with a prologue, which was a simple, introductory speech. Then, there was the entrance of the chorus. Finally, there were major scenes of the play. In Greek drama and plays the chorus, or the singers, told the story, not the actors. Actors used gestures and masks to act out their parts and changed roles by changing masks. The two masks, the laughing face and the the weeping face, associated with drama represented the division between comedy and tragedy. The masks were the symbols of the Muses named Thalia and Melpomene. Thalia was the Muse of comedy (the laughing face), while Melpomene was the Muse of tragedy (the weeping face). The actors in tragedies wore boots called cothurni that elevated them above the other actors. The actors in comedic roles only wore a thin soled shoe called a sock. Thalia, as the muse of comedy was associated with the mask of comedy and the comedic "socks".
Facts about Thalia, the Muse of Comedy and Pastoral Poetry
The following fact file about this Greek goddess and Muse and details her symbols and attributes.
Thalia was the Muse who represented and was the patron of Comedy and Pastoral Poetry
She was the daughter of Zeus and Mnemosyne
She had a joyful and exuberant personality
Her symbol was a comic mask but she is also depicted with a bugle and a trumpet or occasionally a shepherd’s staff
Thalia and Apollo were the parents of 6 sons, the Corybantes, who were armed and crested dancers.
Astrology - The Asteroid Muse
In Astrology there are nine asteroids named after each of the nine Greek muses. Thalia is a large main belt asteroid discovered by J. R. Hind on December 15, 1852 at the private observatory of W. Bishop which was located in Hyde Park, London. Mr Bishop named the asteroid after Thalia, the Muse of comedy and pastoral poetry in Greek mythology.
Thalia in Greek Mythology
The muse and goddess Thalia was not only gifted as an inspiration of Comedy and Pastoral Poetry but, like all nymphs possessed the gift of prophecy. The mountain spring on Mount Parnassus was sacred to Thalia 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 Thalia 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 Thalia 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 Thalia and the other Muses to a contest. The Muses won and then turned the Pierides into chattering birds.