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Headword: *mou=sa
Adler number: mu,1291
Translated headword: Muse
Vetting Status: high
[Meaning] knowledge.[1] From [the verb] mw= [which means] I seek;[2] for she happens to be the cause of all education.[3] So with good reason the ancients called her Muse. Altogether they are nine: Kleio, Euterpe, Thaleia, Melpomene, Terpsichore, Erato, Polymnia, Ourania, Kalliope.
But [he said that] according to the tradition of the theologians the Muses are many, because learning and education has great variety and is useful for every need.[4]
Greek Original:
*mou=sa: h( gnw=sis. a)po\ tou= mw=, to\ zhtw=: e)peidh\ a(pa/shs paidei/as au(/th tugxa/nei ai)ti/a. ei)ko/tws ou)=n oi( a)rxai=oi *mou=san au)th\n e)ka/lesan. ei)si\ de\ pa=sai e)nne/a: *kleiw/, *eu)te/rph, *qa/leia, *melpome/nh, *teryixo/rh, *)eratw/, *polu/mnia, *ou)rani/a, *kallio/ph. polla\s de\ ta\s *mou/sas u(po\ tw=n qeolo/gwn paradedo/sqai, dio/ti polu\ to\ poiki/lon e)/xei ta\ maqh/mata kai\ paideu/mata, kai\ pro\s pa=san xrh=sin oi)kei=on.
From ancient comment on the opening of Hesiod's Works and Days: 'Muses of Pieria who give glory through song'. See generally OCD4 s.v. A Roman mosaic floor found in Luxemburg shows Homer and the Muses: web address 1.
[1] From the scholia to Aristophanes, Clouds 313, where the headword appears.
[2] The middle form ma/omai is a dialectal variant of mai/omai meaning "search." There was a theory, promoted by Philoxenos of Alexandria (phi 394), that the Greek vocabulary was based on a core of monosyllabic verbs (like mw=): see Dickey, 3.1.10 (p. 85).
[3] cf. Helladius in Photius, Bibliotheca 531a2, Eustathius I.9.35.
[4] On Nicolaus of Damascus: quoted more fully at nu 393.
Eleanor Dickey, Ancient Greek Scholarship: A Guide to Finding, Reading, and Understanding Scholia, Commentaries, Lexica, and Grammatical Treatises, from Their Beginnings to the Byzantine Period. American Philological Association Classical Resource Series. New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007
Tomasz Mojsik, Between Tradition and Innovation: genealogy, names and the number of the Muses (Warsaw 2011); reviewed Penelope Murray, BMCR 2012.09.56
Associated internet address:
Web address 1
Keywords: Christianity; comedy; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; mythology; poetry; religion
Translated by: Catharine Roth on 1 October 2004@23:57:33.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; cosmetics) on 3 October 2004@05:28:17.
Catharine Roth (added link) on 8 August 2006@11:50:03.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 9 August 2006@03:02:40.
David Whitehead (added bibliography) on 30 September 2012@04:26:12.
Catharine Roth (augmented note 2 and bibliography) on 3 October 2012@01:40:58.
David Whitehead on 27 May 2013@07:34:49.
David Whitehead on 9 August 2014@09:03:25.
Catharine Roth (cross-reference) on 9 August 2014@16:19:57.
Catharine Roth (cross-reference) on 19 September 2020@00:55:20.


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