added by archaeologs
The Muses, according to the earliest writers, were the inspiring goddesses of song, and, according to later noticus, divinities presiding over the different kinds of poetry, and over the arts and sciences. They were originally regarded as the nymphs of inspiring wells, near which they were worshiped, and bore different names in different places, until the Thraco-Boeotian worship of the nine Muses spread from Boeotia over other parts of Greece, and ultimately became generally established.
The genealogy of the Muses is not the same in all writers. The most common notion was, that they were the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, and born in Pieria, at the foot of Mount Olympus; but some call them the daughters of Uranus and Gaea, and others daughters of Pierus and a Pimpleian nymph, whom Cicero calls Antiope, or of Apollo, or of Zeus and Plusia, or of Zeus and Moneta, probably a mere translation of Mnemosyne or Mneme, whence they are called Mnemonides, or of Zeus and Athena, or lastly of Aether and Gaea. Eupheme is called the nurse of the Muses, and at the foot of Mount Helicon her statue stood beside that of Linus.
THE MOUSAI (Muses) were the goddesses of music, song and dance, and the source of inspiration to poets. They were also goddesses of knowledge, who remembered all things that had come to pass. Later the Mousai were assigned specific artistic spheres: Kalliope (Calliope), epic poetry; Kleio (Clio), history; Ourania (Urania), astronomy; Thaleia (Thalia), comedy; Melpomene, tragedy; Polymnia (Polyhymnia), religious hymns; Erato, erotic poetry; Euterpe, lyric poetry; and Terpsikhore (Terpsichore), choral song and dance.
In ancient Greek vase painting the Mousai were depicted as beautiful young women with a variety of musical intruments. In later art each of the nine was assigned her own distinctive attribute.