Polyhymnia (/pɒliˈhɪmniə/; Greek: Πολυύμνια; "the one of many hymns"), also spelt Polymnia (Πολύμνια) was in Greek mythology the Muse of sacred poetry, sacred hymn, dance, and eloquence as well as agriculture and pantomime. Her name comes from the Greek words "poly" meaning "many" and "hymnos", which means "praise". She is depicted as very serious, pensive and meditative, and often holding a finger to her mouth, dressed in a long cloak and veil and resting her elbow on a pillar. Polyhymnia is also sometimes credited as being the Muse of geometry and meditation.
In Bibliotheca historica, Diodorus Siculus wrote, "Polyhymnia, because by her great (polle) praises (humnesis) she brings distinction to writers whose works have won for them immortal fame...". She appears in Dante's Divine Comedy: Paradiso. Canto XXIII, line 56, and is referenced in modern works of fiction.
Polyhymnia in astronomy
On Mount Parnassus, there was a spring that was sacred to Polyhymnia and the other Muses. It was said to flow between two big rocks above Delphi, then down into a large square basin. The water was used by the Pythia, who were priests and priestesses, for oracular purposes including divination.
Depiction in arts
Polyhymnia, Giovanni Baglione, 1620
Polyhymnia, Francesco del Cossa, 1455–1460
Polyhymnia, Giuseppe Fagnani, 1869
Cast of Polyhymnia, Pushkin Museum, Moscow
- "Polyhymnia". theoi. Retrieved 2016-09-12.
- "Polyhymnia". talesbeyondbelief. Retrieved 2016-09-12.
- Diodorus Siculus Library of History (Books III - VIII). Translated by Oldfather, C. H. Loeb Classical Library Volumes 303 and 340. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1935.
- Scholia on Hesiod, Works and Days, 1, p. 28
- Scholia on Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 1.23