|“||The Nine Muses cranked up the tunes, and I realized the music was whatever you wanted it to be: the gods could listen to classical and the younger demigods heard hip hop or whatever, and it was all on the same sound track. No arguments. No fights to change the radio station. Just requests to crank it up.||”|
In several myths, Muses judged the contest between Apollo and Marsyas. They also gathered the pieces of the dead body of Orpheus, son of Calliope, and buried him. They also once blinded Thamyris for his hubris in challenging them to a contest.
The Muses are the companions of the god Apollo.
In one myth, the Muses judged a contest between Apollo and the Satyr Marsyas.
In a later myth, Thamyris challenged them to a singing contest. They won and punished Thamyris by blinding him and robbing him of his singing ability.
There are nine Muses:
- Calliope - The muse of Epic Poetry. Some accounts say that Calliope was the lover of the war god Ares, and bore him several sons. Calliope also had two famous sons, Orpheus and Linus, by either Apollo or the king Oeagrus of Thrace. She taught Orpheus many verses for singing. She married Oeagrus close to Pimpleia, Olympus.
- Clio - The Muse of History. Clio's name was derived from the Greek word kleo, "to make famous" or "celebrate." In Classical times, when the Mousai were assigned specific literary and artistic spheres, Clio was named Muse of history. She has been credited with introducing the Pheonican alphabet into Greece. Her son, Hyacinthus or also known as Hyacinth, was a lover of Apollo.
- Erato - The Muse of Love Poerty.
- Euterpe - The Muse of Music. Euterpe is called the "giver of delight," and she is the Muse of Music and Lyric Poetry. She is also the Muse of joy and pleasure. A few say she invented the aulos or double-flute, which is her attribute. The river god Strymon impregnated Euterpe; her son Rhesus led a band of Thracians and was killed by Diomedes at Troy, according to Homer's Iliad.
- Melpomene - The Muse of Tragedy. Melpomene was initially the Muse of singing, she then became known as the Muse of Tragedy, for which she is best known. Her name was derived from the Greek verb melpô or melpomai meaning "to celebrate with dance and song." In Roman and Greek poetry, it was traditional to invoke the goddess Melpomene so that one might create beautiful lyrical phrases.
- Polyhymnia - The Muse of Hymns.
- Terpsichore - Terpsichore is the Muse of Dance, Epic Poetry, choral songs, and dance. Her name meaning delight of dancing. Sometime she is said to be the mother of the Sirens by Achelous.
- Thalia The Muse of Comedy. Thalia's name means 'flourishing' because of the praises in her songs flourish through time. She was the daughter of Mnemosyne, the eighth-born of the nine Muses. According to pseudo-Apollodorus, she and Apollo were the parents of the Corybantes.
- Urania - The Muse of Astrology. Urania was the last of the Muses to be born and took on the role of the Muse of Astrology. Her name means "heavenly" or "of heaven".
The Muses were shown to be starting a concert on Olympus when Percy returns the Master Bolt. The Muses and everyone else bow to Percy as a sign of respect for performing a great task for the gods. As the gods celebrate, the Muses play music that sounds like anything you want, so no one argues about the music.
The Muses perform at the final celebration after the gods had decided that Percy Jackson and Thalia Grace were not going to be killed. According to Percy, everybody hears the music they only want to hear, like classical for the gods and hip hop for the younger demigods. He later shares a dance with Annabeth Chase and the song he hears changes to a slow one, though he was not sure what she was hearing.
While Meg McCaffrey and the former god Apollo wander the streets of Manhattan, searching for Percy Jackson, Apollo tries thinking positive thoughts, one of which includes hearing the Nine Muses in perfect harmony.
This is how the Muses are depicted in the book series:
- Calliope is always seen with a writing tablet in her hand. At times, she is depicted carrying a role of paper or a book and/or wearing a golden crown.
- Clio is often represented with a parchment scroll or a set of tablets.
- Erato is often depicted with a wreath of myrtle and roses, holding a lyre or a cithara. In some representations she has two turtle-doves that are eating seeds at her feet. Other representations show her holding a golden arrow, reminding one of the "eros," the feeling that she inspires in everybody, and at times she is accompanied by the god Eros, holding a torch.
- Euterpe is often seen carrying an aulos or double-flute, which she invented and is her attribute.
- Melpomene is often represented with a tragic mask and wearing the cothurnus, boots traditionally worn by tragic actors. Often, she also holds a knife or club in one hand and the tragic mask in the other. On her head she is shown wearing a crown of cypress.
- Polyhymnia is depicted as very serious, pensive and meditative, and often holding a finger to her mouth, dressed in a long cloak and veil and resting her elbow on a pillar.
- Terpsichore is usually depicted sitting down, holding a lyre, accompanying the dancers' choirs with her music.
- Thalia was portrayed as a young woman with a joyous air, crowned with ivy, wearing boots, and holding a comic mask in her hand. Many of her statues also hold a bugle and a trumpet (both used to support the actors' voices in ancient comedy), or occasionally a shepherd's staff or a wreath of ivy. In art, Thalia was portrayed holding a comic mask, a shepherd's staff, and/or a wreath of ivy.
- Urania is often seen with a globe and compass, being the Muse of Astrology.
- Thalia, the Muse of Comedy, shares her name with one of her father Zeus' demigod children, Thalia Grace.
- None of the Muses have been addressed by name in both series as of yet, though Calliope is mentioned as the mother of Orpheus in Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes.
- Erato's name would mean "desired" or "lovely" if derived from the same roots as Eros.
- Their Norse equivalent is Bragi.
- Muse usually means inspiration, either for an artist or poets, and people would pray to the Muses for inspiration.
- The word 'Museum', comes from the Muses.
- There is a magazine called Muse for ages 9 - 12, and it uses Urania.
- Their Norse equivalents are the Nine Billow Maidens.