Greek concepts of Creativity
Notes from "Unleashing the Right Side of the Brain
- the LARC Creativity Program" by Robert Williams and John Stockmyer
Around 500 BC, the Ancient Greeks believed they lived in a god-saturated
universe, every rock and spring and mountain guarded by its nature
spirit. They thought the inspiration for originality came from the gods and
even invented heavenly creatures - the Muses - as supervisors of human
Socrates wrote that inspired thoughts originate with the gods, ideas
coming not when a person is rational, but when someone is "beside himself",
when "bereft of his senses. Since the gods take away reason before bestowing
the gift of inspiration, "thinking" might actually prevent the reception of divinely
The word "inspiration" is based on a Greek word meaning the God within.
Notes from Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable
In Greek mythology the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne. They
were originally goddesses of memory only, but later identified
with individual arts and sciences. The paintings of Herculaneum
show all nine with their respective attributes.
There names are:
Tree earlier Muses are sometimes given: Melete (Meditation),
Mneme (Remembrance) and Aoede (Song). See also the Tenth Muse.
- Calliope - muse of epic or heroic poetry, and of poetic
inspiration and eloquence
- Clio - the inventor of historical and heroic poetry, the
Muse of history. Hence the old pun, 'Can Clio do more than amuse?"
- Euterpe - inventor of the double flute, the Muse of Dionysiac
music, and the patroness of joy and pleasure
- Thalia - Muse of comedy and pastoral poetry. She favoured
rural pursuits and is represented holding a comic mask and a shepherd's
- Melpomene - The muse of tragedy
- Terpsichore - the Muse of dancing and the dramatic chorus and
later of lyric poetry.
- Erato - the muse of love poetry, usually represented
with a lyre. [Erato is also the name of a CD/record company]
- Polyhymnia - the muse of lyric poetry and the inventor
of the lyre. She invented harmony and presided over singing.
- Urania - presides over astrology and is usually represented
pointing at a celestial globe with a staff.
I was thinking who would be the Muses for the 21st century.
Read my list which I wrote just for fun and send me suggestions.
On to the 19th Century.