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Goddess of Astronomy
Member of the Muses
Urania on an antique fresco from Pompeii
AbodeMount Olympus
Personal information
ParentsZeus and Mnemosyne
SiblingsEuterpe, Polyhymnia, Calliope, Clio, Erato, Thalia, Terpsichore, Melpomene and several paternal half-siblings
ConsortApollo, Hermes, Amphimarus
ChildrenLinus, Hymen

Urania (/jʊəˈrniə/ yoor-AY-nee-ə; Ancient Greek: Οὐρανία, romanizedOuranía; modern Greek shortened name Ράνια Ránia; meaning "heavenly" or "of heaven") was, in Greek mythology, the muse of astronomy and astrology. Urania is the goddess of astronomy and stars, her attributes being the globe and compass.

The muse Urania is sometimes confused with Aphrodite Urania ("heavenly Aphrodite") because of their similar name.


Urania was the daughter of Zeus by Mnemosyne and also a great-granddaughter of Uranus.[1] Some accounts list her as the mother of the musician Linus[2] by Apollo[3] or Hermes[4] or Amphimarus,[5] son of Poseidon. Hymenaeus is also said to have been a son of Urania.[6]

Function and representation[edit]

Urania depicted with a celestial globe with stars above her head. Allegorical Portrait of Urania, Muse of Astronomy by Louis Tocqué.

Urania is often associated with Universal Love. Sometimes identified as the eldest of the divine sisters, Urania inherited Zeus' majesty and power and the beauty and grace of her mother Mnemosyne.

Urania dresses in a cloak embroidered with stars and keeps her eyes and attention focused on the Heavens. She is usually represented with a celestial globe to which she points with a little staff,[7] and depicted in modern art with stars above her head. She is able to foretell the future by the arrangement of the stars.[8]

Urania as Muse[edit]

Urania, a restored Roman copy after a Greek original of the 4th century BC, Hadrian's Villa.

Those who are most concerned with philosophy and the heavens are dearest to her. Those who have been instructed by her she raises aloft to heaven, for it is a fact that imagination and the power of thought lift men's souls to heavenly heights.[9]

Urania, o'er her star-bespangled lyre,
With touch of majesty diffused her soul;
A thousand tones, that in the breast inspire,
Exalted feelings, o er the wires'gan roll—
How at the call of Jove the mist unfurled,
And o'er the swelling vault—the glowing sky,
The new-born stars hung out their lamps on high,
And rolled their mighty orbs to music's sweetest sound.

—From An Ode To Music by James G. Percival

During the Renaissance, Urania began to be considered the Muse for Christian poets. In the invocation to Book 7 of John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost, the poet invokes Urania to aid his narration of the creation of the cosmos, though he cautions that it is "[t]he meaning, not the name I call" (7.5)

In popular culture[edit]

A monumental conical pendulum clock by Eugène Farcot depicting the Greek goddess, 1862.

Urania in Astronomy and Navigation[edit]

Other uses of "Urania"[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hesiod, Theogony 78; Ovid, Fasti 5.55
  2. ^ Suidas s.v. Linos
  3. ^ Smith, s.v. Urania (1); Hyginus, Fabulae 161
  4. ^ Suda, lambda, 568
  5. ^ Pausanias, 9.29.6
  6. ^ Catullus lxi. 2.
  7. ^ Hirt, Mythol. Bilderb. p. 210.
  8. ^ Statius, Thebaid 8.548 ff.
  9. ^ Diodorus, 4.7.1
  10. ^ Wood, Janet (31 January 2007). Nuclear Power. ISBN 9780863416682.
  11. ^ "Uranus, Neptune and Pluto".


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, William, ed. (1870). "Urania 1.". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.

External links[edit]