Urania, which is also written as “Ourania,” is one of the 9 Muses (or Mousai), who together were the goddesses of dance, song and music. The daughter of Zeus and Mnemosyne, Urania is the the Muse of astronomy and writings about astronomy. As such, she is often depicted holding a globe while pointing at it with her rod. She also often wears a cloak that has been embroidered with many stars.
Here are some interesting facts about Urania:
- Her name literally means “heavenly” or “a product of the heavens”
- Urania was one of the many daughters of Zeus
- Some believe that she was able to tell the future by looking into the stars and seeing how they are arranged
- She is the great granddaughter of Uranus
- She is often described as the mother of Linus, who was a musician or bard and who was Apollo’s son
- Some consider Hymenaeus, who is the god of marriage, to also be a son of Urania
- Her mother Mnemosyne is the goddess of memory, from which comes the English word “mnemonic,” which means “a device that helps enable memory”
- During the Renaissance she was the muse of many famous poets, including John Milton, who wrote “Paradise Lost”
- Many astronomical observatories have been named after her, including ones in Antwerp, Berlin, Bucharest, Budapest, Vienna and Zurich
- An asteroid called Urania 30 was named after her
- The U.S. Naval Observatory includes a depiction of Urania in its seal.
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