The Muses and their Arts
This chapter investigates the meaning of the Muses in Greek culture. Their sphere is mousike in general, but the activities over which they preside change over time. Their connection with poetry remains constant, but a crucial development took place when Plato appropriated them for the new discipline of philosophy, a prose art-form. Rhetoric, on the other hand, a self-styled techne, dispensed with the Muses, despite the early association of these goddesses with eloquence in Hesiod's Theogony. The process of differentiating between Muses and ascribing specific functions and attributes to each of them began to take shape in the Alexandrian era when collectively they represented paideia. But their significance varies in accordance with the prevailing art forms of different periods. Hence, in the prose-dominated centuries of the Second Sophistic, the absence of a relationship between the Muses and rhetoric becomes problematic.
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