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Caliope - XI of Mantegna Tarot

Caliope - XI

The Muse of Epic and Heroic Ode
(The One Beautiful of Speech)

With card 11 we enter the second decade of the Mantegna Tarot, representing the nine classical muses and Apollo, who was considered their leader.

The muses came from the Greek mythology, living personifications of arts, science and intellect, offering inspirations to humans. Legend had it that they were daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (Memory) - where memory was certainly of paramount importance in times when memory was pretty much the only 'data storage' most people had.

Caliope was the first of the muses and the eldest of the sisters, generally considered the Muse od epic poetry. She was told to be Homer's inspiration for the Odyssey and the Iliad.

The depiction of Caliope in the card differs from her traditional picture which always included her symbol, a paper roll or a book.

Next card: XII Urania, Muse of Astronomy