Information about Polyhymnia, the Muse of Sacred Music
Polyhymnia was one of the young, beautiful maidens referred to as the Nine Muses. The nine Muses were the daughters of Zeus, the king of the gods, and Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory. The names of the nine Muses were Clio, Thalia, Erato, Euterpe, Polyhymnia, Calliope, Terpsichore, Urania and Melpomene. Polyhymnia and her sisters were believed to reside above the golden clouds that covered sacred the Greek mountain peaks above the summits of Mounts Olympus, Helicon, Parnassus, and Pindus. They entertained and joined the Olympian gods in their feasts drinking water, milk, and honey, but never wine. The sisters were originally the patron goddesses of poets and musicians but over time their roles extended to include comedy, tragedy, history, poetry, music, dancing, singing, rhetoric, sacred hymns, and harmony. Polyhymnia was the Muse of Sacred Music.
Picture of the Nine Muses
Polyhymnia, the Muse of Sacred Music
According to the traditions and beliefs of the Ancient Greeks historians would invoke the aid of Clio to guide and assist him in his work. The invocation took the form of a prayer for divine inspiration from the goddess. In the Dionysiaca of Nonnus:
"She waved her arms and sketched in the air an image of a soundless voice, speaking with hands and moving eyes
in a graphic picture of silence full of meaning."
In addressing a prayer to an Olympian god, the suppliant stood with his arms raised and palms upward. Greek religion was not based on a written creed but their sacred writings survive in the form of hymns. Most elaborate are the Homeric Hymns, some of which may have been composed for religious festivals. Inscriptions from the Delphic oracles included hymns to Apollo.
Facts and pictures of Polyhymnia, the Muse of Sacred Music
The following fact file contains pictures of this Greek goddess and Muse and details her symbols and attributes.