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Music and the MusesThe Culture of Mousike in the Classical Athenian City$
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Penelope Murray and Peter Wilson

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199242399

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199242399.001.0001

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The Muses and their Arts

The Muses and their Arts

(p.365) 13 The Muses and their Arts
Music and the Muses

Penelope Murray

Oxford University Press

This chapter investigates the meaning of the Muses in Greek culture. Their sphere is mousike in general, but the activities over which they preside change over time. Their connection with poetry remains constant, but a crucial development took place when Plato appropriated them for the new discipline of philosophy, a prose art-form. Rhetoric, on the other hand, a self-styled techne, dispensed with the Muses, despite the early association of these goddesses with eloquence in Hesiod's Theogony. The process of differentiating between Muses and ascribing specific functions and attributes to each of them began to take shape in the Alexandrian era when collectively they represented paideia. But their significance varies in accordance with the prevailing art forms of different periods. Hence, in the prose-dominated centuries of the Second Sophistic, the absence of a relationship between the Muses and rhetoric becomes problematic.

Keywords:   Muses, mousike, Plato, rhetoric, philosophy, Hesiod's Theogony, paideia

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