AskDefine | Define calliope

Dictionary Definition



1 (Greek mythology) the Muse of epic poetry
2 a musical instrument consisting of a series of steam whistles played from a keyboard [syn: steam organ]

User Contributed Dictionary

see Calliope



From the (Kalliopē) "Calliope, the muse of poetry" < (kalos) "beautiful" + (ops) "voice"


  • /kəˈlaɪə.pi/, /k@"laI@.pI/


  1. A musical organ, consisting of steam whistles played with a keyboard. Often used with merry-go-rounds.

See also


musical organ

Extensive Definition

In Greek mythology, Calliope ("beautiful-voiced", also spelled Kaliope or Kalliope, in Greek, Καλλιόπη, pronounced in English /kə'laɪəpi/ ka-LIE-oh-pee) was the muse of epic poetry, daughter of Zeus and Mnemosyne, and is now best known as Homer's muse, the inspiration for the Iliad and the Odyssey.
She had two sons, Orpheus and Linus, by either Apollo or the king Oeagrus, of Thrace. She was the oldest and wisest of the Muses, as well as the most assertive. She was the judge in the argument over Adonis between Aphrodite and Persephone, giving each equal time with him. She was represented by a stylus and wax tablets.
She is always seen with a writing tablet in her hand. At times, she is depicted as carrying a roll of paper or a book or as wearing a gold crown.


Calliope is a character in the graphic novel Sandman, by Neil Gaiman. Her story is in the collection Fables & Reflections. According to the comic's canon, Morpheus was actually the lover and husband of Calliope, and the father of Orpheus. In another deviation from the traditional myths, Calliope is stated as being the youngest of the nine muses, rather than the eldest.
The author Nick Sagan, son of famous author Carl Sagan, also makes reference to Calliope in his debut novel, Idlewild. In his book the main character, Halloween, suffers amnesia after a power surge, referred to as the Calliope Surge. The author also makes reference to Calliope being the daughter of Mnemosyne, the personification of memory.
A magical woman named Calliope acts as a Muse for the protagonist of the novel Fool on the Hill by Matt Ruff. Though she is never explicitly said to be the Calliope of Greek Mythology, she is immortal, magical, and is described as enjoying Retsina and Feta, both Greek foods.
Tony Award winner Lillias White provided the voice for the muse Calliope in Walt Disney Pictures film Hercules (1997 film).
On the season four Simpsons episode Treehouse of Horror III, school nerd Martin Prince dressed as Calliope during The Simpsons Halloween party (and gets punched in the stomach by Nelson, who's dressed as a pirate).
Jackie Hoffman will play the muse Calliope in the musical Xanadu, which opens summer 2007 on Broadway.
Robert Hunter, poet and lyricist for The Grateful Dead, makes an allusion to "calliope woman" in the epic song "St. Stephen."
A character in the novel Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides.
Calliope is mentioned in the song titled "Blinded by the Light" written by Bruce Springsteen, but made famous by Manfred Mann's Earth Band. The line is "The calliope crashed to the ground." As with the rest of the song, this line is open to interpretation.
Calliope is also the name given to the ship in which Richard Sharpe travels half way back from India in, in the novel "Sharpe's Trafalgar" by Bernard Cornwell.
Calliope is the name of the daughter of Kratos, the protagonist of the God of War video game series.
Calliope is also the name of a female character in Francesca Lia Block's novels Ecstasia and Primavera. These works are heavily influenced by myth.
Calliope is also a type of automatic weapon (much like a Gatling or Chaingun) from the book 'In Fury Born' by David Weber.
A character on the popular television show Grey's Anatomy is Dr. Calliope Torres, an orthopedic surgeon. She regularly uses the nickname Callie.
calliope in Arabic: كاليوبي
calliope in Bosnian: Kaliopa
calliope in Breton: Kalliope
calliope in Bulgarian: Калиопа
calliope in Catalan: Cal·líope
calliope in Czech: Kalliopé
calliope in Danish: Kalliope
calliope in German: Kalliope
calliope in Modern Greek (1453-): Καλλιόπη (μυθολογία)
calliope in Spanish: Calíope
calliope in Esperanto: Kaliopo
calliope in French: Calliope
calliope in Korean: 칼리오페
calliope in Croatian: Kaliopa
calliope in Italian: Calliope
calliope in Hebrew: קאליופה
calliope in Latin: Calliope
calliope in Luxembourgish: Kalliope
calliope in Lithuanian: Kaliopė
calliope in Ligurian: Calliope
calliope in Hungarian: Kalliopé (múzsa)
calliope in Dutch: Kalliope
calliope in Japanese: カリオペー
calliope in Norwegian: Kalliope
calliope in Polish: Kalliope (mitologia)
calliope in Portuguese: Calíope
calliope in Romanian: Calliope
calliope in Russian: Каллиопа
calliope in Slovak: Kalliopa
calliope in Slovenian: Kaliopa
calliope in Serbian: Калиопа
calliope in Serbo-Croatian: Kaliopa
calliope in Finnish: Kalliope
calliope in Swedish: Kalliope
calliope in Turkish: Kalliope
calliope in Ukrainian: Калліопа
calliope in Chinese: 卡利俄佩

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Hammond organ, Mark, baroque organ, bazooka, calliophone, choralcelo, electric organ, electro-pneumatic organ, harmonium, hedgehog, hydraulic organ, launch pad, launching pad, launching platform, launching tube, melodeon, melodica, mousetrap, orchestrelle, organ, organophone, pipe organ, projector, reed organ, seraphine, silo, steam organ, symphonion, tracker-action organ, tubular-pneumatic organ, vocalion
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