Jump to content


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Goddess of Lyric Poetry
Member of the Muses
Euterpe on an antique fresco from Pompeii
AbodeMount Olympus
SymbolsDouble flute
ParentsZeus and Mnemosyne
SiblingsCalliope, Polyhymnia, Urania, Clio, Erato, Thalia, Terpsichore, Melpomene and several paternal half-siblings
ConsortStrymon, Apollo

Euterpe (/jˈtɜːrp/; Greek: Εὐτέρπη, lit.'rejoicing well' or 'delight' [eu̯térpɛː], from Ancient Greek: εὖ, romanized, lit.'well' + Greek: τέρπειν, romanizedtérpein, lit.'to please') was one of the Muses in Greek mythology, presiding over music. In late Classical times, she was named muse of lyric poetry.[1] She has been called "Giver of delight" by ancient poets.


Euterpe was born as one of the daughters of Mnemosyne, Titan goddess of memory, and fathered by Zeus, god of the gods. Her sisters include Calliope (muse of epic poetry), Clio (muse of history), Melpomene (muse of tragedy), Terpsichore (muse of dancing), Erato (muse of erotic poetry), Thalia (muse of comedy), Polyhymnia (muse of hymns), and Urania (muse of astronomy). Sometimes they are referred to as water nymphs having been born from the four sacred springs on Helicon which flowed from the ground after Pegasus, the winged horse, stamped his hooves on the ground. The mountain spring on Mount Parnassus was sacred to Euterpe and the other Muses. It flowed between two high rocks above the city of Delphi, and in ancient times its sacred waters were introduced into a square stone basin, where they were retained for the use of the Pythia, the priests, priestesses, as well as the oracle of Apollo.[citation needed]

Euterpe Pérez Galdós

Along with her sister Muses, Euterpe was believed to have lived on Mount Olympus where she and her sisters entertained their father and the other Olympian gods with their great artistry. Later on, tradition also placed them on Mount Helicon in Boeotia where there was a major cult center to the goddesses, or on Mount Parnassus where the Castalian spring was a favorite destination for poets and artists.[2]

Some people believe that she invented the aulos or double-flute, though most mythographers credit Marsyas or Athena with its invention. Some say she also invented other wind instruments. Euterpe is often depicted holding a flute in artistic renditions of her.

Pindar and other sources (the author of the Bibliotheca[3], and Servius[4]), describe the Thracian king Rhesus, who appears in the Iliad, as son of Euterpe and the river-god Strymon; Homer calls him son of Eioneus.[5]

Rome mint. Laureate head of Apollo right; two crossed tibiae behind / Euterpe, the Muse of Music and Lyric Poetry, wearing long flowing tunic and peplum, standing right, supporting her head with her left hand by resting her elbow on column, and holding two tibiae in right hand; Q • POMPONI downwards to left, MVSA downwards to right. Quintus Pomponius Musa


Euterpe's role, alongside her sisters, was to entertain the gods on Mount Olympus. She inspired the development of liberal and fine arts in Ancient Greece, serving as an inspiration to poets, dramatists, and authors such as Homer.

Traditionally, musicians would invoke Euterpe to inspire, guide and assist them in their compositions. Such petitions might take the form of a prayer for divine inspiration from the muse.[6]


See also[edit]



  1. ^ Bulfinch, Thomas (1959). The Age of Fable. Dell Publishing.
  2. ^ Cartwright, Mark. "Muse". World History Encyclopedia. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
  3. ^ Euripides, Rhesus 347; Apollodorus, 1.3.4.
  4. ^ Servius, Commentary on Virgil's Aeneid 1.469
  5. ^ Cancik, Hubert; Schneider, Helmuth (2006). Brill's New Pauly: Encyclopaedia of the Ancient World. Classical tradition.
  6. ^ Hoffman, D.; Schelling, Felix E. (1993). "Muse". In Brogan, T.V.F.; Preminger, Alex (eds.). The New Princeton encyclopedia of poetry and poetics (3rd ed.). Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. pp. 802–803. ISBN 978-0-691-03271-9.

External links[edit]