Matus1976 Blog - Philosophy, Science, Politics, Invention

20 June

Sing Muse of the wrath of Achilles

A little bit of etymology

The first line of Homer's Iliad reads "Sing Muse of the Wrath of Achilles" The ancient Greeks had nine muses, and these muses were thought to serve as the inspiration for thought or skilled practice, and so Homer was appealing to the muses to inspire him to write of Achilles. What is someone doing when they "muse" Muse is a Greek word, and it means you are thinking about something. In Greek, the prefix "a" means 'not' or 'without' as in an "a-theist", which is someone who is without theism. Thus, "a-muse" means without thinking, an adequate description of laughing, joyful, "amusing" behavior. Ancient Greeks used the word mouseion to refer to a place or temple dedicated to the Muses, thus today a "Museum" then is a place of the products of thought or inspiration. "Music" holds the same origin in the word muse, but since antiquity has narrowed the idea of directed thought or inspiration to only one arena, that of sound.

posted at 11:38:36 on 06/20/07 by Matus1976 - Category: General


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