In Greek mythology, Urania (Οὐρανία, which stems from the Greek word for 'heavenly' or 'of heaven', pronounced /jʊˈreɪni.ə/ in English), was the muse of astronomy. Some accounts list her as the mother of the musician Linus. She is usually depicted as having a globe in her left hand. She is able to foretell the future by the arrangement of the stars. She is often associated with Universal Love and the Holy Spirit. She is dressed in a cloak embroidered with stars and keeps her eyes and attention focused on the Heavens. Those who are most concerned with philosophy and the heavens are dearest to her.
During the Renaissance, Urania began to be considered the Muse for Christian poets. Urania is the "heavenly muse" invoked in John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost Book VII line 1. In Muse, a magazine for children, Urania is one of the characters in the "Kokopelli and Co." comic by Larry Gonick published in each issue of the magazine. She is the only "old muse" who remains among the "new muses" featured in the magazine.
Her name has been used to name astronomical observatories such as the Urania in Berlin, Budapest, Vienna, Zurich and Antwerp and Uraniborg on the island of Hven. The official seal of the U.S. Naval Observatory portrays Urania. There is a Urania Street in New Orleans, between Polymnia ("Polyhymnia") and Felicity Streets. Hr.Ms. Urania is a sail training vessel for the Royal Netherlands Naval College. There has been a Hr. Ms. Urania in the Royal Netherlands Navy since 1832. Urania is also the name of a popular female-fronted rock band in Honduras.
Urania Cottage was a refuge for fallen women established by the writer Charles Dickens in Lime Grove, Shepherd’s Bush, London in the late 1840s. The funding was provided by millionaire and philanthropist Angela Burdett-Coutts, of the well-known banking family. Some of the inmates may have provided inspiration for certain of the female characters in Dickens' novels.
At Columbia University (end of 18th century) there was a Urania Society, for the improvement of oratory skills, felicity of composition and aptitude to debate philosophical topics. DeWitt Clinton joined that society.
On 9 November 1970, the Urania Trust was formed in London. The aims of the Trust are to further the advancement of education by the teaching of the relationship between man’s knowledge of beliefs about the heavens and every aspect of his art, science, philosophy and religion.
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