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Ahh, if it isn't Apollo. What can your muse do for you today, m'lord?

Calliope is the Muse who presides over eloquence and epic poetry; so called from the ecstatic harmony of her voice, and is the Chief of all Muses.


She who presided over epic poetry and her emblem was the writing tablet, stylus and lyre. Like all muses, she is the daughter of Zeus and Mnemosyne. She is represented with the characteristics of a woman of majestic air, wearing a golden crown, emblem that according to Hesiod indicates her supremacy over the other muses. She is adorned with garlands, carrying a trumpet in one hand and an epic poem in the other.

She was also known as a lover of Apollo and had two famous sons, Orpheus and Linus, by either Apollo or King Oeagrus of Thrace. She taught Orpheus verses for singing. Some accounts say that Calliope was the lover of Ares and bore him several sons, from whom many Thracian tribes claimed descent.

According to Hesiod, she was also the wisest of the Muses, as well as the most assertive. Calliope married Oeagrus in Pimpleia, a town near Mount Olympus. She is said to have defeated the daughters of Pierus, king of Thessaly, in a singing match, and then, to punish their presumption, turned them into magpies.


Calliope is usually shown with a writing tablet in her hand. At times, she is depicted carrying a roll of paper or a book, or wearing a gold crown. She is also depicted with her children.


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When her son Orpheus, was dismembered by the Bacchantes, she and the other Muses recovered his head and enshrined on the island of Lesbos.

Myths and Legends

In some accounts, Calliope is the mother of the Corybantes by her father Zeus. In some cases, she is said to be the mother of Sirens by the river-god Achelous. Another account adds that Calliope bore Rhesus to the river-god Strymon.

Poets like Dante Alighieri have invoked her name in their works. She was sometimes believed to be Homer's muse for the Iliad and the Odyssey. The Roman epic poet Virgil invokes her in the Aeneid.


Here rise to life again, dead poetry! Let it, O holy Muses, for I am yours, And here Calliope, strike a higher key, Accompanying my song with that sweet air which made the wretched Magpies feel a blow that turned all hope of pardon to despair
Dante Alighieri on Calliope.



  • Her name means "beautiful-voiced" from the Greek words kallos and ops.
  • Calliope Beach in Antarctica is named after the nymph, as is the calliope hummingbird of North and Central America.