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Melpomene - XVII of Mantegna Tarot

Melpomene - XVII

The Muse of Tragedy (The Chanting One)

Melpomene ('she who is melodious') was initially the muse of singing, but later on she became the muse of tragedy and tragic chanting. She is often depicted with a tragic mask and wearing the typical buskin boots worn by Greek tragic actors. In the Mantegna card, the traditional depiction was once again altered.

"Why do you delay, O divine Sophokles, to accept the gifts of Melpomene? Whey do you fix your eyes upon the ground? Since I for one do not know whether it is because you are now collecting your thoughts, or because you are awe-stricken at the presence of the goddess. But be of good heart, good sir, and accept her gifts; for the gifts of the gods are not to be rejected."

(Philostratus the Younger, Imagines 13)

Next card: XVIII Euterpe, Muse of Lyric Poetry