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3 muses

“3 muses” digital illustrations

The Muses are the inspirational goddesses of literature, science, and the arts in Greek mythology. They were considered the source of the knowledge embodied in the poetry, lyric songs, and myths that were related orally for centuries in these ancient cultures. They were later adopted by the Romans as a part of their pantheon.

In current English usage, “muse” can refer in general to a person who inspires an artist, musician, or writer.

The classical understanding of the muses tripled their triad, and established a set of nine goddesses, who embody the arts and inspire creation with their graces through remembered and improvised song and mime, writing, traditional music, and dance. It was not until Hellenistic times that the following systematic set of functions was assigned to them, and even then there was some variation in both their names and their attributes: Calliope (epic poetry), Clio (history), Euterpe (flutes and lyric poetry), Thalia (comedy and pastoral poetry), Melpomene (tragedy), Terpsichore (dance), Erato (love poetry), Polyhymnia (sacred poetry), Urania (astronomy).

According to Pausanias in the later second century AD, there were three original Muses, worshiped on Mount Helicon in Boeotia: Aoidḗ (“song” or “tune”), Melétē (“practice” or “occasion”), and Mnḗmē (“memory”). Together, these three form the complete picture of the preconditions of poetic art in cult practice. In Delphi three Muses were worshiped as well, but with other names: Nḗtē, Mésē, and Hýpatē, which are assigned as the names of the three cords of the ancient musical instrument, the lyre. Alternatively they later were called Kēphisṓ, Apollōnís, and Borysthenís, which names characterize them as daughters of Apollo. In later tradition, a set of four Muses were recognized: Thelxinóē, Aoidḗ Archē, and Melétē, said to be daughters of Zeus and Plusia or of Uranus.


who knows where inspiration comes from. perhaps it arises from desperation. perhaps it comes from the flukes of the universe, the kindness of the muses.

amy tan


3 muses series–digital illustration.



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