Mνημοσύνη (Mnēmosýnē)1) Titaness of memory and remembrance, and mother of the Nine Muses. (The Twelve Titans)
Mnemosyne (/nᵻˈmɒzᵻniː/ or /nᵻˈmɒsᵻni/; Greek: Μνημοσύνη, pronounced [mnɛːmosýːnɛː]), source of the word mnemonic, was the personification of memory in Greek mythology. A Titanide, or Titaness, she was the daughter of Uranus and Gaia, and the mother of the nine Muses by her nephew Zeus:
- Calliope (Epic Poetry)
- Clio (History)
- Euterpe (Music)
- Erato (Lyric Poetry)
- Melpomene (Tragedy)
- Polyhymnia (Hymns)
- Terpsichore (Dance)
- Thalia (Comedy)
- Urania (Astronomy)
Zeus and Mnemosyne slept together for nine consecutive nights, thus birthing the nine Muses. Mnemosyne also presided over a pool in Hades, counterpart to the riverLethe, according to a series of 4th century BC Greek funerary inscriptions in dactylic hexameter. Dead souls drank from Lethe so they would not remember their past lives when reincarnated. Initiates were encouraged to drink from the river Mnemosyne when they died, instead of Lethe. These inscriptions may have been connected with Orphic poetry (see Zuntz, 1971).
Similarly, those who wished to consult the oracle of Trophonius in Boeotia were made to drink alternately from two springs called “Lethe” and “Mnemosyne.” An analogous setup is described in the Myth of Er at the end of Plato‘s Republic.
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