Explore mythology and art with information about the classic stories of heroes and gods...from the myths of ancient Greece and Rome, to the legends of the Celts. Mythography presents resources and reference materials about mythology - including recommended books, and lexicons that explain Greek, Roman, and Celtic terms.

Gardner's Art Through the Ages

This book is the classic reference for the study of art. It features a history of artists and their works, as well as lucid and engaging descriptions of the styles and periods of art history. Highly recommended for both students and scholars.

Aphrodite in Art
Aphrodite in Myth
Art Themes

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Fates at a Glance

name | Fates or Moirai (Moirai)

role | goddesses who supervised fate

The Fates in Greek Mythology
As their name suggests, the Fates were goddesses who supervised fate in Greek mythology. The ancient Greeks referred to these goddesses collectively as Moirai. However, the Fates were also depicted as individuals by some sources, and indeed, there is a tradition that there were three goddesses who were in charge of watching over fate.

The poet Hesiod describes the Fates in his Theogony. According to Hesiod, these goddesses were the daughters of Zeus and Themis, and were therefore the sisters of the Horae (however, it is interesting to note that Hesiod also claims, in the same poem, that the Fates were the offspring of Nyx, the goddess of Night). The poet names the Fates as well:

"These are Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos,
and they give mortals their share of good and evil."
(Hesiod, Theogony, 905-6)

Clotho was the spinner, Lachesis was the drawer of lots, and Atropos represented the inevitable end to life. This notion that human fate was spun around a person at birth by divine Spinners - in other words, the Fates - was popular in Greek mythology, poetry, and literature. Indeed, there is a compelling scene in the Odyssey of Homer that alludes to this concept of spinning fate.

In time, the somewhat vague idea of three goddesses who supervised the spinning of human fate evolved into a more concrete concept. The Fates came to be identified as a trio of older females who handled the threads of human life. One of these threads was allocated to every person, and each goddess took her turn in manipulating this thread. Clotho selected the thread, Lachesis measured it, and Atropos cut this thread to signify the end of a person's existence.

The Fates were known as Parcae (or sometimes, Fatae) in Roman mythology.

Who's Who in Classical Mythology

Who's Who in Classical Mythology

This book is a great source for information about Greek and Roman mythology! Organized alphabetically, this who's who features information about over 1200 of the most intriguing characters from Classical myth and legend.

Bulfinch's Mythology

Bulfinch's Mythology

The stories of Classical myth come to life in Bulfinch's book. This edition also features legends from other cultures.

Mythography Forums

Mythography Forums

Do you have a specific question about Greek, Roman, and Celtic mythology? Then try the Mythography forum!