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Roman statue of Melpomene, 2nd century AD. The muse is shown in a long-sleeved garment with a high belt, clothing that was associated with tragic actors. Her wreath of vines and grapes alludes to Dionysus, the god of the theatre.

Melpomene (/mɛlˈpɒmɨn/; Greek: Μελπομένη; "to sing" or "the one that is melodious"), initially the Muse of Singing, she then became the Muse of Tragedy, for which she is best known now.[1] Her name was derived from the Greek verb melpô or melpomai meaning "to celebrate with dance and song." She is often represented with a tragic mask and wearing the cothurnus, boots traditionally worn by tragic actors. Often, she also holds a knife or club in one hand and the tragic mask in the other.

Melpomene is the daughter of Zeus and Mnemosyne. Her sisters include Calliope (muse of epic poetry), Clio (muse of history), Euterpe (muse of lyrical poetry), Terpsichore (muse of dancing), Erato (muse of erotic poetry), Thalia (muse of comedy), Polyhymnia (muse of hymns), and Urania (muse of astronomy).

In Roman and Greek poetry, it was traditional[citation needed] to invoke the goddess Melpomene so that one might create beautiful lyrical phrases (see Horace's Odes).

Popular Culture[edit]

Referred to in HBO's "Deadwood" during a scene when two actors converse, at the time of death.

Singer Harry Styles, of the band One Direction, has a tattoo of "the classic drama and comedy theater masks on the left side of his ribcage. The images of the masks come from the comic and tragic muses, Thalia and Melpomene respectively, in ancient Greek drama"[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Blyth, Charles (1990. Vol. 24, no. 3, pgs. 211-218.), Virgilian Tragedy and Troilus, The Chaucer Review 
  2. ^ Jang, Esther (January 24, 2014), Harry Styles Tattoo Meanings: See All the One Direction Singer's Ink and the Significance Behind His Tattoos, Latin Post 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melpomene — Please support Wikipedia.
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41 news items

Aurora Advocate

Aurora Advocate
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 22:03:45 -0700

A terra cotta mask of the Greek muse of tragedy -- Melpomene -- looks down over the front entrance from the roof. In the outer lobby is a floor of mosaic tile, and the inside features fixtures of solid brass and black onyx marble walls. Two marble ...
The Siren's Song
Sat, 12 Apr 2014 17:00:00 -0700

When the Sirens were given a name of their own, they were considered the daughters of the river god Achelous, fathered upon Terpsichore, Melpomene, Sterope, or Chthon (the Earth). In Euripides' play, Helen (167), Helen in her anguish calls upon "Winged ...
Broadway World
Thu, 10 Apr 2014 21:30:00 -0700

The cast of all-star young actors is led by Grace Morris (Kira/Clio), Kyle Atkinson-Steele (Sonny Malone), Meghan Hayward (Melpomene), Evan Hartnett (Calliope), and Ryan Bradley (Danny), with a series of other characters from Muses to Greek gods to ...
The New Republic
Fri, 04 Apr 2014 21:07:30 -0700

Clio is one of the most glorious of the Muses; but, as everyone knows, she (like her sister Melpomene) suffers from a sad defect: she is apt to be pompous. With her buskins, her robes, and her airs of importance she is at times, indeed, almost intolerable.
The Times-Picayune
Thu, 03 Apr 2014 17:23:38 -0700

Mendoza said the SWAT team once was engaged in an all-night standoff with a group of drug dealers armed with AK-47s in the Melpomene public housing development. Eventually, Mr. Robertson himself climbed a ladder and entered the third-floor ...
The New Orleans Advocate
Fri, 28 Mar 2014 14:20:39 -0700

CARONDELET ST. 1503-05, 1509, MELPOMENE ST. 1722: $175,000, Nancy R. Bush, Susan Bush Goodman, Elizabeth Bush Irish, S. Gordon Reese III, S. Gordon Reese Jr., Elizabeth Reese Sower and Emirau Partners LP to B.O.I. Construction LLC.
Broadway World
Thu, 03 Apr 2014 06:41:15 -0700

The cast of all-star young actors is led by Grace Morris (Kira/Clio), Kyle Atkinson-Steele (Sonny Malone), Meghan Hayward (Melpomene), Evan Hartnett (Calliope), and Ryan Bradley (Danny), with a series of other characters from Muses to Greek gods to ...

Madison Magazine (blog)

Madison Magazine (blog)
Fri, 28 Mar 2014 14:03:07 -0700

Two of her conniving sisters, Melpomene (a slyly vampish Dana Pellebon) and Calliope (Mallory Saurer, camping it to the max) aim to take advantage by cursing Clio and Sonny Malone (a dopily earnest Kurtis Hopp) to fall for each other as they work with ...

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