Mnemosyne: Goddess of Memory in Greek Mythology

     Mnemosyne is relevant within Greek Mythology because she is the "Leader" of the Muses of Olympus. She is also known for being the Goddess of Memory and Remembrance. Check about this Goddess.

Mnemosyne in Greek Mythology:

     Mnemosine or Mnemosyne, was a titanide that personified memory in Greek mythology. The word "mnemonic" is derived from the ancient Greek word μνημονικός (mnēmonikos), which means "memory or related to memory" and is related to Mnemosyne ("remembrance"). Both words are derived from μνήμη (mnēmē), "remembrance, memory". Mnemosyne was the daughter of Uranus and Gaia. 

     Mnemosine teamed up with her nephew Zeus, who introduced himself to her in the guise of a pastor. They stayed together for nine consecutive nights in the Pieria Mountains and after a year, Mnemosine gave birth to the nine muses, who were born in a multiple birth.
  • Calliope - Epic Poetry
  • Clio - History
  • Erato - Romantic Poetry
  • Euterpe - Music
  • Melpomene - Tragedy
  • Polymynia - Hymns
  • Terpsychore - Dances
  • Talia - Comedy
  • Urania - Astronomy

Brothers and Sisters:

     Titans: Ocean, Céos, Crio, Iapetus, Hyperion, Cronos; Titânides: Tethys, Web, Phoebe, Reia, Themis; Cyclopes: Arges, Brontes, Estéropes; Hecatonchyros: Briareu, Coto, Giges; Other brothers: Gigantes, Erínias, Melíades


     Diodoro Sículo wrote that it was she who discovered the power of memory and that she gave names to many of the objects and concepts used to make mortals understand each other while talking. Mnemosyne was also the name of a river in Hades, in front of Lete, according to a series of Greek funerary inscriptions from the 4th century BC written in Dactyl hexameters. The souls of the dead drank Lete so that they would not remember their previous lives when they reincarnated. In Orphism, initiates were encouraged to drink from the river Mnemosyne, the river of memory, when they died, which would prevent the transmigration of the soul. 

     According to Pausânias, in Lebadeia in Boeotia there was the cave of Trophonius, which was one of the entrances to the underworld and where to enter it was necessary to first drink from two sources. The first, with the name of Lete (forgetfulness), made us forget about past things, while the other, with the name of Mnemosine, allowed us to remember what we would have seen in the afterlife. A similar procedure is described in the myth of Er at the end of Plato's Republic.


     Although not one of the most popular deities, Mnemosyne was the subject of some minor cult in Ancient Greece. Statues of her are mentioned in the shrines of other gods, and she was often depicted alongside her daughters, the muses. She was also worshiped in Lebadeia, Boeotia, Mount Helix, Boeotia, and the cult of Asclepius. There was a statue of Mnemosyne in the sanctuary of Dionysus in Athens, next to the statues of the muses, Zeus and Apollo, and also a statue with his daughters, the muses, in the temple of Athena Alea.


     Mnemosyne was one of the deities worshiped in the cult of Asclepius that formed in ancient Greece around the 5th century BC Asclepius, a Greek hero and god of medicine, was said to be able to cure diseases, and the cult incorporated a multitude of others Greek heroes and gods in their healing process. The exact order of offerings and prayers varied by location, and the supplicant used to make an offer to Mnemosyne. 

     After making an offering to Asclepius himself, in some places, a last prayer was said to Mnemosyne, when the supplicant moved to the most sacred part of the Asclepeion to incubate. The hope was that a prayer to Mnemosyne would help the supplicant to remember any vision he had while sleeping there.

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