Muse of Polyhymnia: description and photo
Mythology in ancient Greece played an important role, permeating all spheres of human activity. Virtually every god and goddess were patrons of a particular art, science, activity (commerce, war, courts).
Polyhymnia (Muse of the sacred hymns) is the daughter of Olympian Zeus and the Titanides (daughters of Gaia and Uranus) Mnemosyne. She was honored by poets and orators, since the art of “truthfully and correctly expressing thoughts” occupied leading positions in public life. In the world of that time, myths about the gods of Olympus and heroes reigned, and the worldview of people still remained mythological. Due to these circumstances, the cult of the Muses existed for several centuries, before it partially went into oblivion, giving way to a new religion - Christianity.
Descriptions of the Muses in historical sources
The word "muses" literally translated from the Greek language sounds like "thinking." From it came the word "music", which in ancient Greece meant any science or art that was patronized by the Muse.
The number of Muses and their names are given in different ways. Nine well-known names (Kalliopa, Euterpa, Melpomene, Talia, Erato, Polyhymnia, Terpsichore, Clio, Urania) mention Homer ("Iliad", "Odyssey"), Hesiod ("Theogony"), Pausanius ("Description of Hellas") in his writings ) and Diodorus Sicilian. There are other versions of the origin of the Muses, the number of their names. However, the Muse of Polyhymnia is mentioned only in the versions of Homer, Hesiod, Pausanias, and Diodorus of Sicily.
The favorite places of stay of the Daughters of Zeus were considered the territory near the mountains Parnas and Helikon. Born in Pieria, they adored landscapes with cool caves, soft mosses, shady groves, clear and flowing water. It was in such places that temples were built dedicated to the Muses, which were called musayons (the analogue of the modern word “museum”).
In the society of Apollo, the Muses delighted the ears of the inhabitants of Olympus. Zeus' daughters praise the gods, broadcast campaigns and battles, and also praise the laws and the continuity of their execution. In the literary sources of ancient Greece, the Muses ensured the harmonious life of the Olympians. It is this story that was most often depicted on the canvases of Renaissance artists, singing the beauty of the human body.
The story of the daughters of Mnemosyne
Among the nine sisters, the Muse of Polygimnia is distinguished by clothes (a tight-fitting figure) and a pose (usually leaning on a rock). Sometimes depicted with a scroll in his hand, but always with thoughtfulness on his face. On the individual and group images, the Muse of Polyhymnia is depicted in this way (see photo below).
Depending on the terrain of Greece, various arts and sciences were attributed to her patronage: pantomimes, hymns, dances, as well as history, geometry, and agriculture.
Reached the modern time sources indicate that the Muse of Polyhymnia remembers all the ritual dances, songs, hymns, folded and performed to the glory of the gods. This gift was inherited from the mother Mnemosyne (the goddess, who is subject to Omniscience).
In the classification of the new time of Polyhymnia, the Muse of rhetoric and oratory.
Name meaning and pronunciation
Like many sisters, the name of the patroness of rhetoric is complex (in two parts), it literally translates to "knowing many hymns." It is worth noting that in Greek names the stress varies, but this does not mean that any of the options will be erroneous.
For example, the god Dionysus.You can hear his name with emphasis on the second and the third syllable. As for the question: "Muse of Polygimnia - where to put the emphasis in the name?", The third language in Russian is considered to be a stressed syllable. In Latin, the name of the Muse is Polygimnia, and in Greek it is Polymnia, with the accent on the second syllable.
Who appealed for the protection of the daughters of Zeus?
Since the Muses are the children of gods, they themselves are gods. Hence the zeal of the townsfolk in an effort to enlist their support. It was believed among the ancient Greeks that the Muses choose their wards at the time of birth. From early childhood, they communicated with the elect, endowing their human nature with the desire to achieve perfection in a particular area of human activity, especially creativity.
However, this did not mean that all the rest of humanity was deprived of attention. Since the appeal to God must be decent, respectful and meaningful, the daughters of Zeus were kind of guides in the areas under their control. The muse of Polyhymnia possessed influence in the field of ritual hymns (often called “serious poetry”).This means that people with its help glorified the gods and offered up their requests “in the best form”, which could “be heard”. In a society with a mythological mentality, this skill was the most important. In those days, such work was done by priests, poets, and orators.
A widespread cult contributed to the construction of the respective temples. A vivid example is the Alexandria Mussion. It also included the Library of Alexandria. The facility was a center of culture and learning.
The minion servants were representatives of the scientific community and were engaged in geography, mathematics, astronomy, medicine, philosophy, poetry, and other arts and sciences. This temple was the center of cultural and religious life for more than eight centuries. Alexandria Mussayon - the only temple of the Muses, continuously working for a long time.
The images of the Muse Polygymnia are preserved mainly in ritual objects: vases, sarcophagi, and others. In the Louvre you can see the sarcophagus, on the bas-relief of which all the Muses with attributes are depicted.It is noteworthy that in some images Polygymnia was noted among others as Anthem, Mnem (according to Pausanias) or Horo (on some vases). Inspired by the image of Polyhymnia (Muse of hymns) to the righteous works of famous artists: Giulio Romano (“The Dance of Apollo with Muses”), Andrea Mantegna (“Parnas”), Joseph Fagnani and Vouet Simon (“Muse of Polyhimnia”), Raphael (mural in Vatican) , Giovanni Balione (“Polyhymnia”), Johann Heinrich Tischbein (“The Ninth Muse - Polyhymnia (Rhetoric)”).
Due to the widespread cult of the Muses, artists and sculptors received quite scant information about the Museum of Polyhymnia. However, each creator, with blessing, embodies his vision (and in many ways the standards of beauty of his time) of the perfect daughters of Zeus. Polyhymnia was distinguished by external beauty, giving inspiration to the poets, intensifying, reviving their speech.
Extinction of the Moose cult
The mythological worldview flourished until the next historical stage - the Christianization of the Greeks. At this time, the abode of the Muses (Alexandrian Mussion) began to lose its weight in public life. The functions of the educational center were transferred to other structures, and the temple played the role of a cult institution. Subsequently, the musion was closed.
This state of affairs did not prevent poets and rhetoricians from holding their competitions many years later, at the site of the former home of the Muses. Until mankind can truly explain the nature of talent, it will be patronized and guided along the inspiration of the Muse.
Instead of conclusion
According to the information preserved in historical sources, the Muses were divine not only in the manifestation of their sympathies and patronage, but also in anger.
The conflict between Pierre’s daughters and Zeus’s daughters ended in misery. The girls were turned into forty. Since there were about as many beauties as Moose, you can hear a version about goddesses, with names of forty turned. This story once again emphasizes the different possibilities of man and the gods. There is also an opinion that the myth colorfully describes the rivalry of art schools (even in those times, all means were good for achieving the goal).
However, his wrath of the Muse was brought down not only on people. They had to take a call from the Sirens (Moose of Death). The myth tells how the sweet-hearted Sirens, famous for their gentle and soft voice, who lured navigators to the rocks for certain death, challenged the daughters of Zeus.As a result, the victory remained on the side of the Muses, and the Sirens were ruthlessly plucked. It can be assumed that this myth briefly described the atmosphere that reigned in the circle of the creative elite of Greece. It is worth noting that in this issue over the years, little has changed.
Despite all seriousness and some coldness, detachment of the Muse of Polyhymnia, compared with her sisters, artistic images created by sculptors from different eras are filled with warmth and tenderness in relation to the image. The elevated face does not lose its divinity over many centuries.