Muse with a πανδουρίς (pandoura), a type of lute of egyptian origin, from the National Archaeological Museum of Athens. (6th century B.C)

Note:

You will note that most depictions of women with musical instruments often dub the woman “muse”. The muses did not provide inspiration the way we think of them today. Muses were the intimators of everything that ever was and ever will and their involvement in the “arts” was linked to how creation was inextricably tied to the search of truth.

Symbolism and function of these depictions aside, very little people consider this material evidence to the de facto cultural involvement of women in hellenic life.

Women were heavily involved with both music and poetry, throughout hellenic history. Though in regards to the antiquity we only know about the work of the “nine earthly muses” (Sappho, Myrtis, Corinna, Praxilla, Telesilla, Erinna, Nossis, Anyte, Moero), these poetesses had a wide circle of students and peers, both women and men, whose work and names don’t survive.

As fit, it is these women who give us a glimpse of truth to how it really felt to live at that time.

We are so used in the image of the woman in classical art as “impartial” and interchangeable. It’s truly a pleasant change for one used to these distant abstract ideas, to be suddenly confronted by personalities and the intimate emotions surrounding them in women’s poetry.

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    Muse with a πανδουρίς (pandoura), a type of lute of egyptian origin, from the National Archaeological Museum of Athens....
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