Information about Urania, the Muse of Astronomy
Urania 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. Urania 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. Urania was the Muse of Astronomy.
Urania, the Muse of Astronomy
According to the traditions and beliefs of the Ancient Greeks astronomers would invoke the aid of Urania was the Muse of Astronomy to guide and assist him in his work. The invocation took the form of a prayer for divine inspiration from the goddess. Many of the ideas of Ancient Greek astronomy were based upon theology and astronomers were also philosophers. The Ancient Greeks were concerned with what was happening and when, without addressing the reasons, other than vague attributions to the gods. Many of their energies were spent on predicting events like eclipses. Pythagoras (c.580–500 B.C.) is credited with proposing the idea of a spherical Earth and Moon and Aristotle believed that the Sun moved around Earth. Another ancient Greek astronomer, and the first notable Greek philosopher, was Thales, who lived at the beginning of the 6th Century BC and was credited with inventing trigonometry. Fabulae and the Poetica Astronomica were written by Hyginus. Astronomy was possibly written by Hesiod. The symbols of Urania are the globe and the compass and she is often depicted with stars and staring at the Heavens.
Facts about Urania, the Muse of Astronomy
The following fact file about this Greek goddess and Muse and details her symbols and attributes.
Urania was the Muse who represented and was the patron of Astronomy and the constellations
She was the daughter of Zeus and Mnemosyne
She was the philosophical Muse
She possessed the gift of prophecy by reading the stars
Her name derives from the Greek word for 'heavenly'
She was the youngest Muse
Her symbols are the globe and the compass and she is usually depicted with in a cloak embroidered with stars, staring at the Heavens
The alternative spelling of her name is Ourania
Astrology - The Asteroid Muse
In Astrology there are nine asteroids named after each of the nine Greek muses. Urania is a large main belt asteroid that was discovered by J. R. Hind on July 22, 1854 in London, it was named after the Greek Muse of astronomy.
Urania in Greek Mythology
The muse and goddess Urania was not only gifted as an inspiration of Astronomy but, like all nymphs possessed the gift of prophecy. The mountain spring on Mount Parnassus was sacred to Urania 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 Urania 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 Urania 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 Urania and the other Muses to a contest. The Muses won and then turned the Pierides into chattering birds.