Information about Terpsichore, the Muse of Dance and the Greek Chorus
Terpsichore 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. Terpsichore 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. Terpsichore was the Muse of Dance and the Greek Chorus.
Picture of the Nine Muses
Terpsichore the Muse of Dance and the Greek Chorus
According to the traditions and beliefs of the Ancient Greeks a dramatist writing a play or drama including the songs for the chorus would invoke the aid of Terpsichore to guide and assist him in his work. The invocation took the form of a prayer for divine inspiration from the goddess. The theatre was an important and primary form of entertainment for the Ancient Greeks and plays were often combined with music and dance. Plays in ancient Greece consisted of three major parts: the prologue, the chorus and the scenes. The play began with a prologue, which was a simple, introductory speech. Then, there was the entrance of the chorus. Finally, there were major scenes of the play. In Greek drama the chorus, or the singers, told the story, not the actors. Actors used gestures and masks to act out their parts and changed roles by changing masks. The symbol of Terpsichore was the lyre, which was a strummed and occasionally plucked string instrument, built on a tortoise-shell frame, refer to the Myth of the Lyre of Apollo. The lyre was used as an accompaniment for recitation and song. The Greek god Apollo was important to the Muses and referred to as their teacher. Terpsichore would dance to the sound of Apollo's lyre. The Apollonian dance was a ceremonial dance accompanied by lyres, lutes and kitharas and performed during religious festivals and social dances.
Picture of Apollo's Lyre
Facts and pictures of Terpsichore, the Muse of Dance and the Greek Chorus
The following fact file contains pictures of this Greek goddess and Muse and details her symbols and attributes.