Calliope

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Calliope, from Greek Καλλιὸπη (calliope) 'beautiful-voiced' is, in Greek mythology, the Muse of epic poetry and eloquence. Her name is pronounced, in English, 'cull-EYE-oh-py', IPA: /kəl ˈaɪ ə pɪ/, although in her native Greek, and in most European languages, she is 'call-EE-o-pay', /kal ˈiː o pe/. Calliope was said to be the mother of Orpheus by Apollo (or king Oeagrus of Thrace). In recent times, her name has been used :

  • in astronomy, for an asteroid;
  • in biology, for Stellula calliope, a species of hummingbird, the smallest bird in North America and known in non-specialist circles as the 'calliope hummingbird'; and Luscinia calliopea, the Siberian Rubythroat;
  • militarily, for
    • a second world war American rocket launcher, the T34 (Calliope);
    • five Royal Navy vessels, of which three were broken up (in 1829, 1883 and 1968) and two sold (in 1931 and 1951). There is also currently a shore establishment ('stone frigate') on the Tyne, labelled, as is traditional in the Navy, HMS Calliope.
  • The calliope (pronounced 'CAL-ee-ope', IPA: /ˈkæl ɪ əʊp/ for this purpose) is a steam organ - a keyboard musical instrument which makes notes by blasting steam (or, in later times, compressed air) through a series of (tuned) whistles like those found in steam locomotives and steam ships.