Mythology - Mount Helicon

by Erin on December 2, 2011

Helicon is the name of a large mountain in Boeotia (incidentally, Boeotia is a region in central Greece, in case you were wondering). This lofty peak so impressed the ancient Greeks that they believed Helicon was a sacred site selected and favored by the gods and goddesses. Indeed, the nine goddesses known as the Muses were especially fond of Mount Helicon. The Muses - those divine spirits of inspiration - were linked with Helicon in Greek mythology, poetry, and literature.

The ancient Greek poet Hesiod pays homage to the Muses and Helicon (their preferred heavenly haunt) in the first lines of his famous work, the Theogony:

“I begin my song with the Heliconian Muses;
they have made Helicon, the great god-haunted mountain,
their domain; their soft feet move in the dance that rings
the violet-dark spring and the altar of mighty Zeus.
They bathe their lithe bodies in the water of Permessos
or of Hippocrene or of god-haunted Olmeios.
On Helicon’s peak they join hands in lovely dances
and their pounding feet awaken desire.”

(Hesiod, Theogony, lines 1-8)

There was a sanctuary dedicated to the Muses on Helicon. This sanctuary has several intriguing and noteworthy features, including a temple and works of sculpture devoted to the lovely goddesses who shared their divine gifts with mortals.

In addition to the sanctuary of the Muses, Helicon also boasts another important feature - the Hippocrene spring. It was believed that this legendary spring was a source of poetic inspiration, and it is worth mentioning that this body of water also inspired its own myth. In mythology, the Hippocrene spring was created when the winged horse Pegasus aimed his hoof at a rock, striking it with such force that the spring burst from the spot.

{ 1 comment }

Lynn 04.04.12 at 11:32 pm

Thank you for your information. I am seeking the source of a myth I heard of long ago about a mortal who was so beloved by the muses that she became immortal. Her name was Helice or maybe Helike. If you have heard of her please let me know. Lynn

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