1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Momus
|←Momordica||1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 18
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MOMUS, in Greek mythology, the son of Νῦξ (Night), the personification of censoriousness. He is frequently mentioned in Lucian as the lampooner of the gods. It is said that Pallas, Hephaestus, and Poseidon entered into a competition as to which of them could create the most useful thing. Hephaestus made a man, Poseidon an ox, Pallas a house. Momus, being called upon to pronounce an opinion as to the merits of these productions, expressed dissatisfaction with all: with the man, because a window ought to have been made in his breast, through which his heart could be seen; with the ox, because its horns were in the wrong place; with the house, because it ought to have been portable, so as to be easily moved to avoid unpleasant neighbours. Momus is reported to have burst with chagrin at being unable to find any but the most trifling defects in Aphrodite. He is represented sometimes as a young, sometimes as an old man, wearing a mask, and carrying a fool's bauble.
Hesiod, Theogony, 214; Lucian, Hermotimus, 20, and especially Deorum Concilium; Philostratus, Epistolae, 37.