www.whyville.net Sep 5, 2003 Weekly Issue

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But when, Calliope, thy loud harp rang --
In Epic grandeur rose the lofty strain;
The clash of arms, the trumpet's awful clang
Mixed with the roar of conflict on the plain;
The ardent warrior bade his coursers wheel,
Trampling in dust the feeble and the brave,
Destruction flashed upon his glittering steel,
While round his brow encrimsoned laurels waved,
And o'er him shrilly shrieked the demon of the grave.
 -- excerpt from "An Ode To Music", by James G. Percival

Calliope has inspired me to write about Calliope. And no, I am not going to write about the City Worker. You may have missed the most recent Critique Club, involving Hercules, a brief reference about my favorite evil company (Disney) and some talk of Greek names that I can't spell, but I can fill you in at another time. At that meeting, a certain City Worker (I bet you'll never guess who!) inspired to me to do some research on Greek muses. So now I'm on my mission (or maybe it's a labor like the 12 of Hercules) to find out more about these characters in Greek Mythology.

First off, I needed to figure out what a Muse was. I surfed on over to dictionary.com and discovered that Zeus and Mnemosyne had nine daughters, each of which was a Muse. Each of the daughters was considered responsible for an art or science. Apart from Calliope there was also Clio, Erato, Euterpe, Melpomene, Polyhymnia, Terpsichore, Thalia, and Urania. If all goes according to plan, I am hoping to write an article for each. But today's topic is Calliope, so we'll stick to that.

Also known as Calliopeia or Kalliope, which means "Fair Voiced", she was the oldest of the nine sisters and the Chief Muse. The Muse of epic poetry, she was also responsible for granting the gift of eloquence to any Kings or Princes. Calliope is often portrayed as carrying a stylus or scroll and often wearing a grown of gold.

Calliope is known mainly for two things, I have discovered. First off, she fancied Achilles (yes, the guy with the weak tendon in his ankle). She taught Achilles to sing so that he could could cheer on his friends at banquets. While his singing served as entertainment, it also helped to improve the morals of his friends. She was also called before Zeus to negotiate the custody of Adonis between Aphrodite and Persephone. In the end, Calliope decided that Adonis need time alone occasionally, and would otherwise be given equal time with each goddess.

Calliope had different children, depending on the region you heard the myth. Most often, she had one son, Linus, who was fathered by Apollo. Calliope abandoned Linus at birth, sadly. Other versions of the myth say that Calliope and King Thrace had a son, Orpheus. It is also believed that she may have given birth to Carybantes, Hymen, Ialemus, Rhesus, Oeagrus, and the Sirens (a group of birds with women's bodies). Aside from Rhesus, all of Calliope's children were somehow associated with music or poetry.

I'm convinced after writing this that Greek mythology is equal to modern-day soap operas. I have come to understand, however, that Calliope was fair and talented and therefore she deserves some credit.

Chaos for now.


"Greek & Roman Mythology (A-M)" [Online] http://www.sneaker.net.au/docs/encyclo/D1A.HTM#CALLIOPE

"The Muses from Greek Mythology" [Online] http://www.eliki.com/portals/fantasy/circle/define.html

"Kalliope" [Online] http://www.theoi.com/Kronos/Kalliope.html

"Minor Greek Goddesses" [Online] http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Agora/9573/Minors.html

"Calliope", "The Sirens" [Online]

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