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Published on May 20, 2011
The origin of the nine classical Greek Muses is a long and tangled tale. It is unclear when the worship of The Muses first appeared. Traditionally, it is said that The Muses were the daughters of Zeus, born before he married Hera, after he spent nine nights with Mnemosyne. Over time, she gave birth to nine daughters: Calliope, Clio 1, Melpomene, Euterpe, Erato 3, Terpsichore 1, Urania 2, Thalia 2, and Polymnia. The tradition of the nine Muses had evolved from many older versions that begin with just 3 Muses. Gradually, the number of Muses began to grow until the tradition of The Muses was settled into the nine that we know today. The Muses were said to have been born at the foot of Mount Olympus in Pieria. Their worship eventually flowed into the areas of Mount Helicon and Mount Parnassus. The worship of The Muses evolved around the central idea that they (The Muses) governed song, poetry, and inspiration. Ephialtes and Otus, who also founded Ascra, were the first to sacrifice on Helicon to the Muses and to call the mountain sacred to the Muses. Sacrifices to the Muses consisted of libations of water, milk, or honey. The Muses were much beloved by poets, musicians and artists they were said to inspire and in the 6th Century B.C.E., the "Mouseai" festivals began in famous Valley of the Muses.