The article deals with the role of the Muses in archaic poetry, namely in the works of Homer and Hesiod. It points out the uniqueness of the presence of the Muses in poetic context, which marks off Greek poetry in comparison with other poetic traditions. The first part of the analysis focuses on Homeric conception of the Muse, especially on her connection with 'memory'. The core of the argument lies in the analysis of memory, based on textual evidence, which shows that the memory of the Muses doesn't work simply as 'remembering the past' - the invocation of the Muse in Homeric poems suggests another interpretation, namely that the function of the Muse is to make the portrayed events present. The proposed interpretation steps over the concept of memory as a reservoir of the past. The second part of the analysis turns to Hesiod and to the prooemium of his Theogony. Hesiod's report about the Muses is rich and it draws our attention to a number of ambivalent features, which characterize the performance of the Muses. These features express themselves in the polarity mnemosyne - lesmosyne and pseudea - alethea. Both poles of these pairs act in the performance of the Muses - understanding of the function of memory, which is not a storage place of the past, helps to understand that 'remembering' in this context does not eliminate 'forgetting', and that both of these poles are complementary. Taken together, the pairs of opposites mnemosyne - lesmosyne and pseudea - alethea demonstrate one aspect of divinity, foreshadowed in the poems of Homer and Hesiod, i.e. the aspect of ambiguity, which is specifically articulated in the case of Hesiodic Muses.
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