Mnemosyne (1881), a Pre-Raphaelite interpretation of the goddess by Dante Gabriel Rossetti[1]

Mnemosyne (play /nɨˈmɒzɨn/ or /nɨˈmɒsɨni/; Greek: Mνημοσύνη, pronounced [mnɛːmosýːnɛː]), source of the word mnemonic,[2] was the personification of memory in Greek mythology. This titaness was the daughter of Gaia and Uranus and the mother of the nine Muses by Zeus:

In Hesiod's Theogony, kings and poets receive their powers of authoritative speech from their possession of Mnemosyne and their special relationship with the Muses.

Zeus and Mnemosyne slept together for nine consecutive nights and thereby created the nine Muses. Mnemosyne also presided over a pool[3] in Hades, counterpart to the river Lethe, 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.



  1. ^ Collection of the Delaware Art Museum, Samuel and Mary R. Bancroft Memorial, Rossetti Archive.
  2. ^ Memory and the name Memnon, as in "Memnon of Rhodes" are etymologically related. Mnemosyne is sometimes confused with Mneme or compared with Memoria.
  3. ^ Richard Janko, “Forgetfulness in the Golden Tablets of Memory,” Classical Quarterly 34 (1984) 89–100; see article "Totenpass" for the reconstructed devotional which instructs the initiated soul through the landscape of Hades, including the pool of Memory.

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  • Mnemosyne — steht für: Mnemosyne (Mythologie), Gestalt der griechischen Mythologie (57) Mnemosyne, ein Asteroid Mnemosyne (Bildatlas), ein von Aby Warburg zusammengestellter Bildatlas Mnemosyne (Software), Software für Flash card Programme Mnemosyne… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Mnemosyne — Mnémosyne Pour les articles homonymes, voir Mnémosyne (homonymie). Dans la mythologie grecque, entre autres d après Hésiode, Mnémosyne est la déesse de la Mémoire, fille d Ouranos (le Ciel) et de Gaïa (la Terre). Mais Hygin, la rajeunissant de… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Mnemosyne — MNEMOSYNE, es, Gr. Μνημοσύνη, ης, (⇒ Tab. II. & ⇒ X.) des Cölus undder Erde Tochter, eine der Titaniden. Apollod. l. I. c. 1. §. 2. Sie erfand die Art einen vernünftigen Schluß zu machen, gab einem jeden Dinge seinen gehörigen Namen, und machte… …   Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon

  • Mnemosyne — titaness, mother of the Muses, from Gk. mnemosyne, lit. memory, remembrance, from mneme memory (see MNEMONIC (Cf. mnemonic)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • Mnemosyne — [nē mäs′i nē΄, nēmäz′i nē΄] n. [L < Gr mnēmosynē, memory < mnasthai, to remember: see MNEMONIC] Gr. Myth. the goddess of memory, and mother (by Zeus) of the Muses …   English World dictionary

  • Mnemosyne — Mne*mos y*ne, n. [L., fr. Gr. mnhmosy nh remembrance, memory, and the goddess of memory. See {Mnemonic}.] (Class Myth.) The goddess of memory and the mother of the Muses. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Mnemōsyne — Mnemōsyne, im griech. Mythus Tochter des Uranos und der Gäa, eine Titanin, Göttin des Gedächtnisses, von Zeus Mutter der neun Musen …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Mnemosyne — Mnemosyne, Erinnerung, Gedächniß, durch Zeus die Mutter der Musen; wurde als Matrone abgebildet, und mit passenden Attributen bekleidet. Die Musen erhielten von ihr den Beinamen: Mnemoniden, Mnemosyniden. –ch– …   Damen Conversations Lexikon

  • Mnemosyne — Mnemosyne, in der griech. Mythologie Tochter des Uranus u. der Gäa, von Zeus Mutter der 9 Musen …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Mnémosyne — dans la myth. gr., déesse de la Mémoire, fille d Ouranos et de Gaia, et mère des Muses …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Mnemosyne — {{Mnemosyne}} »Erinnerung«; Tochter des Uranos* und der Gaia*, von Zeus* Mutter der neun Musen* (Hesiod, Theogonie 52–62, 135, 915–917) …   Who's who in der antiken Mythologie