The Mousai Titanides

The Mousai Titanides are hardly spoken of; their nieces (or, perhaps, daughters) the Olympian Muses are far better known. Calliope and Clio are recognized names; Melete and Aoide, unfamiliar.

Perhaps there are three of these Elder Muses, perhaps four: certainly there are five names between the two groupings. I mostly honor the three: Melete, Mneme, and Aoide, whose names mean Practice, Memory, and Song. The other two names, joining Melete and Aoide without Mneme when there are four altogether, are Arkhe, Beginning, and Thelxinoe, Charming the Mind.

A poet might honor Thaleia and never Melpomene, except when honoring the nine Olympian Muses all together, on account of writing comic works, never tragic. A writer of historical fiction might care only for Kleio; a dancer only for Terpsikhore. But all of these artists might do better to honor the Mousai Titanides as well. After all, what is art without the practice of craft, the memory of how to craft well, and the inspiration—the song—that sets the artist in motion? Indeed, what is art without at last beginning to set words or notes or paint on paper, in order to achieve charming the mind of the audience?

Melete,
Who spurs the artist
ever to practice their craft,
I honor you.

Arkhe,
Who guides the artist
past the obstacle of the blank page,
I honor you.

Mneme,
mother of the Nine,
Who teaches the artist
to remember each trick of the trade,
I honor you.

Thelxinoe,
Who aids the artist
to create that which will enthrall,
I honor you.

Aoide,
Who charms the artist
with the first idea for each work of art,
I honor you.

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