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Goddesses of grace, and of everything which lends charm and beauty to nature and human life. According to Hesiod they are the offspring of Zeus and Eurynome, the daughter of Oceanus. Their names are Euphrosyne (joy), Thalia (bloom), and Aglaia (brilliance). Aglaia is the youngest, and the wife of Hephaestus. For the inspiration of the Graces was deemed as necessary to the plastic arts, as to music, poetry, science, eloquence, beauty, and enjoyment of life. Accordingly the Graces are intimate with the Muses, with whom they live together on Olympia. They are associated, too, with Apollo, Athene, Hermes, and Peitho, but especially with Eros, Aphrodite, and Dionysus. Bright and blithe-hearted, they were also called the daughters of the Sun and of Aegle ("Sheen"). They were worshipped in conjunction with Aphrodite and Dionysus at Orchomenus in Baeotia, where their shrine was accounted the oldest in the place, and where their most ancient images were found in the shape of stones said to have fallen from heaven. It was here that the feast of the Charitesia was held in their honour, with musical contests. At Sparta, as at Athens , two Charites only were worshipped, Cleta (Kleta) or Sound, and Phaenna or Light; at Athens their names were Auxo (Increase), and Hegemone (Queen). It was by these goddesses, and by Agraulos, daughter of Cecrops, that the Athenian youths, on receiving their spear and shield, swore faith to their country. The Charites were represented in the form of beautiful maidens, the three being generally linked hand in hand. In the older representations they are clothed; in the later they are loosely clad or entirely undraped.
AUXO 100.00%
One of the two Charites, or Graces, worshipped at Athens. (See CHARITES.)
AGLAIA 91.11%
One of the Graces. (See CHARITES.)
THALIA 91.11%
One of the Graces. (See CHARITES.)
In Greek mythology, the god of fire, and of the arts which need fire in the execution. He was said to be the son of Zeus and Hera, or (according to Hesiod) of the latter only. The boy was ugly, and lame in both feet, and his mother was ashamed of him. She threw him from Olympus into the ocean, where he was taken up by Eurynome and Thetis, and concealed in a subterranean cavern. Here he remained for nine years, and fashioned a number of exquisite works of art, among them a golden throne with invisible chains, which he sent to his mother by way of revenge. She sat down in it, and was chained to the seat, so fast that no one could release her. On this it was resolved to call Hephaestus back to Olympus. Ares wished to force him back, but was scared off by his brother with fire-brands. Dionysus at length succeeded in making him drunk, and bringing him back, in this condition, to Olympus. But he was destined to meet with his old mishap a second time. There was a quarrel between Zeus and Hera, and Hephaestus took his mother's part; whereupon Zeus seized him by the leg and hurled him down from Olympus. He fell upon the island of Lemnos, where the Sintians, who then inhabited the island, took care of him and brought him to himself. From this time Lemnos was his favourite abode. His lameness was, in the later story, attributed to this fall. The whole story, the sojourn of Hephaestus in the cavern under the sea, and his fondness for Lemnos, is, in all probability, based upon volcanic phenomena; the submarine activity of volcanic fires, and the natural features of the island of Lemnos. Here there was a volcano called Mosychlos, which was in activity down to the time of Alexander the Great. The friendship existing between Dionysus and Hephaestus may be explained by the fact that the best and finest wines are grown in the volcanic regions of the South. As a master in the production of beautiful and fascinating works of art, Hephaestus is in Homer the husband of Charis, and in Hesiod of Aglaia, the youngest of the Graces. (See CHARITES.) The story of his marriage with Aphrodite was not, apparently, widely known in early antiquity. Through his artistic genius he appears, and most especially in the Athenian story, as the intimate friend of Athene. In Homer he lives and works on Olympus, where he makes palaces of brass for himself and the other deities. But he has a forge also on Mount Mosychlos in Lemnos; the later story gives him one under Aetna in Sicily, and on the sacred island, or island of Hephaestus, in the Lipari Islands, where he is heard at work with his companions the Cyclopes. All the masterpieces of metal which appear in the stories of gods and heroes, the aeagis of Zeus, the arms of Achilles, the sceptre of Agamemnon, the necklace of Harmonia, and others, were attributed to the art of Hephaestus. To help his lameness he made, according to Homer, two golden maidens, with the power of motion, to lean upon when he walked. He was much worshipped in Lemnos, where there was an annual festival in his honour All fires were put out for nine days, during which rites of atonement and purification were performed. Then fresh fire was brought on a sacred ship from Delos, the fires were kindled again, and a new life, as the saying went, began. At Athens he was worshipped in the Academy, in connexion with Athene and Prometheus (see PROMETHEUS). In October the smiths and smelters celebrated the Chalkeia, a feast of metal-workers, in his honour and that of Athene; at the Apaturia sacrifices were offered to him, among other gods, as the giver of fire, and torches were kindled, and hymns were sung; at the Hephaestia, finally, there was a torch-race in his honour. In works of art he is represented as a vigorous man with a beard, equipped, like a smith, with hammer and tongs; his left leg is shortened, to show his lameness (see engraving). The Romans identified him with their Vulcanus (see VULCANUS).
MUSES 5.86%
In Greek mythology originally the Nymphs of inspiring springs, then goddesses of song in general, afterwards the representatives of the various kinds of poetry, arts, and sciences. In Homer, who now speaks of one, and now of many Muses, but without specifying their number or their names, they are considered as goddesses dwelling in Olympus, who at the meals of the gods sing sweetly to the lyre of Apollo, inspire the poet and prompt his song. Hesiod [Theog. 52-,76-,] calls them the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, born in Pieria, and mentions their names, to which we shall at the same time add the province and the attributes afterwards assigned to each (see cuts). (1) CALLIOPE (she of the fair voice), in Hesiod the noblest of all, the Muse of epic song; among her attributes are a wax tablet and a pencil. (2) CLIO (she that extols), the Muse of history; with a scroll. (3) EUTERPE (she that gladdens), the Muse of lyric song; with the double flute. (4) THALIA (she that flourishes), the Muse of comedy and bucolic poetry; with the comic mask, the ivy wreath, and the shepherd's staff. (5) MELPOMENE (she that sings), the Muse of tragedy; with tragic mask, ivy wreath, and occasionally with attributes of individual heroes, e.g. the club, the sword. (6) TERPSICHORE (she that rejoices in the dance), the Muse of dancing; with the lyre. (7) ERATO (the lovely one), the Muse of erotic poetry; with a smaller lyre. (8) POLYMNIA or POLYHYMNIA (she that is rich in hymns), the Muse of serious sacred songs; usually represented as veiled and pensive. (9) URANIA (the heavenly), the Muse of astronomy; with the celestial globe. Three older Muses were sometimes distinguished from these. MELETE (Meditation), MNEME (Remembrance), AOIDE (Song), whose worship was said to have been introduced by Aloidae, Otus and Ephialtes, near Mount Helicon. Thracian settlers, in the Pierian district at the foot of Olympus and of Helicon in Boeotia are usually mentioned as the original founders of this worship. At both these places were their oldest sanctuaries. According to the general belief, the favourite haunts of the Muses were certain springs, near which temples and statues had been erected in their honour: Castalia, at the foot of Mount Parnassus, and Aganippe and Hippocrene, on Helicon, near the towns of Ascra and Thespiae. After the decline of Ascra, the inhabitants of Thespiae attended to the worship of the Muses and to the arrangements for the musical contests in their honour that took place once in five years. They were also adored in many otherplaces in Greece. Thus the Athenians offered them sacrifices in the schools, while the Spartans did so before battle. As the inspiring Nymphs of springs they were early connected with Dionysus; the god of poets, Apollo, is looked on as their leader (Musagetes), with whom they share the knowledge of past, present, and future. As beings that gladden men and gods with their song, Hesiod describes them as dwelling on Olympus along with the Charites and Himeros. They were represented in art as virgin goddesses with long garments of many folds, and frequently with a cloak besides; they were not distingnished by special attributes till comparatively later times. The Roman poets identified them with the Italian Camence, prophetic Nymphs of springs and goddesses of birth, who had a grove at Rome outside the Porta Capena. (See EGERIA .) The Greeks gave the title of Muses to their nine most distinguished poetesses: Praxilla, Mcero, Anyte, Erinna, Te1esilla, Corinna, Nossis, Myrtis, and Sappho.
Type: Standard
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