Erato  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

In Greek mythology, Erato (Ἐρατώ) is one of the Greek Muses. The name means "desired" or "lovely", being derived from the same root as Eros, as Apollonius of Rhodes alludes to in Book III of his Argonautica.

Erato is the Muse of lyric poetry, especially love and erotic poetry. In the Orphic hymn to the Muses, it is Erato who charms the sight. Since the Renaissance she is often shown with a wreath of myrtle and roses, holding a lyre, or a small kithara, a musical instrument that Apollo or she herself invented. In Simon Vouet's representations (illustration), two turtle-doves are eating seeds at her feet. Other representations may show her holding a golden arrow, reminding one of the "eros", the feeling that she inspires in everybody, and at times she is accompanied by the god Eros, holding a torch.

Development

Erato was named with the other muses in Hesiod's Theogony. She was also invoked at the beginning of a lost poem, Rhadine (Ῥαδινή), that was referred to and briefly quoted by Strabo. The love story of Rhadine made her supposed tomb on the island of Samos a pilgrimage site for star-crossed lovers in the time of Pausanias and Erato was linked again with love in Plato's Phaedrus; nevertheless, even in the third century BCE, when Apollonius wrote, the Muses were not yet as inextricably linked to specific types of poetry as they became.

Erato is also invoked at the beginning of Virgil's Aeneid Book 7 (also the beginning of the second half or 'Iliadic' section of the poem). Calliope (epic); even Melpomene (tragedy) or Clio (history) might seem more appropriate. This may express Virgil's love for his native land, but in any case shows the need for a new creative force and a change in the direction of the poem.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Erato" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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