Muses, in Greek mythology, are nine goddesses that are the daughters of the god Zeus, king of the gods, and Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory. The Muses were believed to inspire all artists, especially poets, philosophers, and musicians. By late Roman times (3rd century to 5th century), each Muse was believed to preside over a particular art: Calliope was the muse of epic poetry; Clio of history; Euterpe of lyric poetry sung to the accompaniment of the flute; Melpomene of tragedy; Terpsichore of choral songs and the dance; Erato of love poetry sung to the accompaniment of the lyre; Polyhymnia of sacred poetry; Urania of astronomy; and Thalia of comedy.
The Muses were said to be the companions of the Graces and of Apollo, the god of music. They sat near the throne of Zeus and sang of his greatness and of the origin of the world and its inhabitants and the glorious deeds of the great heroes. The Muses were worshiped throughout ancient Greece, especially at Helicon in Boeotia and at Pieria in Macedonia.