Michael Barbella • Managing Editor
A growing number of orthopedic surgeons are putting their clinical experience to good use designing innovative products and medical procedures.
O for a muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention, A kingdom for a stage, princes to act, And monarchs to behold the swelling scene! — William Shakespeare, Act 1, “Henry V”
Muses long have been the impetus of creative genius. Virtually since the dawn of civilization, man has attributed his intellectual and artistic pursuits to the influence of a muse, though the deity has lost much of its immortality over the course of history.
Ancient Greeks routinely sourced their bursts of creativity to the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (memory personified)—caretakers of the world’s knowledge and innovation. Primordial literature portrays the Muses as intelligent, beautiful divinities with a bit of a vengeful streak. In one myth, for instance, the ennead judged a contest between Apollo and Marsyas, and punished the loser—Marsyas, naturally, for even thinking he could beat a god—by flaying him alive in a cave near the river city of Celaenae. (Apollo, according to legend, then flaunted his victory by nailing Marsyas’ skin to a pine tree). In another parable, the Muses stripped European songbird Thamyris of his talent after he challenged them to a singing contest and (as expected) lost.
While the overall concept of muses has remained largely intact over millennia, the creatures gradually have evolved into more ephemeral beings with many of the faults and foibles Calliope and her sisters reviled. Literary scholars, for example, still question the inspiration for William Shakespeare’s “The Dark Lady.” Some believe he based the mysterious, lusty character in those sonnets on an actual woman while others contend the mistress with raven-black eyes and “black wire” hair is merely the product of an extremely creative mind.
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