Prudence is the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of reason. It is classically considered to be a virtue, in particular one of the four Cardinal virtues. Prudentia is an allegorical female personification of the virtue, whose attributes are a mirror and snake, depicted as a pair with Justitia, the Roman goddess of Justice; the word derives from the 14th-century Old French word prudence, which, in turn, derives from the Latin prudentia meaning "foresight, sagacity". It is associated with wisdom and knowledge. In this case, the virtue is the ability to judge between virtuous and vicious actions, not only in a general sense, but with regard to appropriate actions at a given time and place. Although prudence itself does not perform any actions, is concerned with knowledge, all virtues had to be regulated by it. Distinguishing when acts are courageous, as opposed to reckless or cowardly, is an act of prudence, for this reason it is classified as a cardinal virtue. In modern English, the word has become synonymous with cautiousness.
In this sense, prudence names a reluctance to take risks, which remains a virtue with respect to unnecessary risks, when unreasonably extended into over-cautiousness, can become the vice of cowardice. In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle gives a lengthy account of the virtue phronesis, traditionally translated as "prudence", although this has become problematic as the word has fallen out of common usage. More ϕρόνησις has been translated by such terms as "practical wisdom", "practical judgment" or "rational choice". Prudence was considered by the ancient Greeks and on by Christian philosophers, most notably Thomas Aquinas, as the cause and form of all virtues, it is considered to be the charioteer of the virtues. It is the cause in the sense that the virtues, which are defined to be the "perfected ability" of man as a spiritual person, achieve their "perfection" only when they are founded upon prudence, to say upon the perfected ability to make right decisions. For instance, a person can live temperance when he has acquired the habit of deciding the actions to take in response to his instinctual cravings.
Its function is to point out. It has nothing to do with directly willing the good. Prudence has a directive capacity with regard to the other virtues, it measures the arena for their exercise. Without prudence, bravery becomes foolhardiness, its office is to determine for each in practice those circumstances of time, manner, etc. which should be observed, which the Scholastics comprise under the term "medium rationis". So it is that while it qualifies the intellect and not the will, it is rightly styled a moral virtue. Prudence is considered the measure of moral virtues since it provides a model of ethically good actions. "The work of art is true and real by its correspondence with the pattern of its prototype in the mind of the artist. In similar fashion, the free activity of man is good by its correspondence with the pattern of prudence." For instance, a stockbroker using his experience and all the data available to him decides that it is beneficial to sell stock A at 2PM tomorrow and buy stock B today.
The content of the decision is the product of an act of prudence, while the actual carrying out of the decision may involve other virtues like fortitude and justice. The actual act's "goodness" is measured against that original decision made through prudence. In Greek and Scholastic philosophy, "form" is the specific characteristic of a thing that makes it what it is. With this language, prudence confers upon other virtues the form of its inner essence. For instance, not all acts of telling the truth are considered good, considered as done with the virtue of honesty. What makes telling the truth a virtue is. In Christian understanding, the difference between prudence and cunning lies in the intent with which the decision of the context of an action is made; the Christian understanding of the world includes the existence of God, the natural law and moral implications of human actions. In this context, prudence is different from cunning in that it takes into account the supernatural good. For instance, the decision of persecuted Christians to be martyred rather than deny their faith is considered prudent.
According to Thomas Aquinas, judgments using reasons for evil ends or using evil means are considered to be made through "cunning" and "false prudence" and not through prudence. However "imprudence" was not be considered a sin since it was not voluntary; the Ancient Greek term for prudence is synonymous with “forethought". People, the Ancient Greeks believed, must have enough prudence to prepare for worshiping the Olympian gods. Exceptional were the foolish Bacchic cult, who lived an passionate lifestyle. Believing the antisexual Olympian traditions to be shameful, professors of the Bacchic cult celebrated the irrationality that governed their religion. Prudence is the application of universal principles to particular situations. "Integral parts" of virtues, in Scholastic philosoph
Hephaestus is the Greek god of blacksmiths, carpenters, artisans, metallurgy and volcanoes. Hephaestus' Roman equivalent is Vulcan. In Greek mythology, Hephaestus was either the son of Zeus and Hera or he was Hera's parthenogenous child, he was cast off Mount Olympus, by his mother because of his deformity or, in another account, by Zeus for protecting Hera from his advances. As a smithing god, Hephaestus made all the weapons of the gods in Olympus, he served as the blacksmith of the gods, was worshipped in the manufacturing and industrial centers of Greece Athens. The cult of Hephaestus was based in Lemnos. Hephaestus' symbols are a smith's hammer, a pair of tongs. Hephaestus is associated with the Linear B inscription, A-pa-i-ti-jo, found at Knossos; the name of the god in Greek has a root which can be observed in names of places of Pre-Greek origin, like Phaistos. Hephaestus is given many epithets; the meaning of each epithet is: Amphigúeis "the lame one" Kullopodíōn "the halting" Khalkeús "coppersmith" Klutotékhnēs "renowned artificer" Polúmētis "shrewd, crafty" or "of many devices" Aitnaîos "Aetnaean", owing to his workshop being located below Mount Aetna.
Hephaestus had his own palace on Olympus, containing his workshop with anvil and twenty bellows that worked at his bidding. Hephaestus crafted much of the magnificent equipment of the gods, any finely wrought metalwork imbued with powers that appears in Greek myth is said to have been forged by Hephaestus, he designed Hermes' winged helmet and sandals, the Aegis breastplate, Aphrodite's famed girdle, Agamemnon's staff of office, Achilles' armor, Heracles' bronze clappers, Helios's chariot, the shoulder of Pelops, Eros's bow and arrows. In accounts, Hephaestus worked with the help of the chthonic Cyclopes—among them his assistants in the forge, Brontes and Pyracmon. Hephaestus built automatons of metal to work for him; this included tripods. He gave to the blinded Orion his apprentice Cedalion as a guide. In some versions of the myth, Prometheus stole the fire. Hephaestus created the gift that the gods gave to man, the woman Pandora and her pithos. Being a skilled blacksmith, Hephaestus created all the thrones in the Palace of Olympus.
The Greek myths and the Homeric poems sanctified in stories that Hephaestus had a special power to produce motion. He made the golden and silver lions and dogs at the entrance of the palace of Alkinoos in such a way that they could bite the invaders; the Greeks maintained in their civilization an animistic idea. This kind of art and the animistic belief goes back to the Minoan period, when Daedalus, the builder of the labyrinth, made images which moved of their own accord. A statue of the god was somehow the god himself, the image on a man's tomb indicated somehow his presence. According to Hesiod Hera gave birth to Hephaestus on her own as revenge for Zeus giving birth to Athena without her. According to Homer Hera is mentioned as the mother of Hephaestus but there is not sufficient evidence to say that Zeus was his father. According to Homer there is not sufficient evidence to say. Hera is not mentioned as the mother. According to Pseudo-Apollodorus Hera gave birth to Hephaestus alone. Pseudo-Apollodorus relates that, according to Homer, Hephaestus is one of the children of Zeus and Hera.
Several texts follow Hesiod's account, including Hyginus and the preface to Fabulae. In the account of Attic vase painters, Hephaestus was present at the birth of Athena and wields the axe with which he split Zeus' head to free her. In the latter account, Hephaestus is there represented as older than Athena, so the mythology of Hephaestus is inconsistent in this respect. In one branch of Greek mythology, Hera ejected Hephaestus from the heavens because he was "shrivelled of foot", he was raised by Thetis and the Oceanid Eurynome. In another account, attempting to rescue his mother from Zeus' advances, was flung down from the heavens by Zeus, he fell for an entire day and landed on the island of Lemnos, where he was cared for and taught to be a master craftsman by the Sintians – an ancient tribe native to that island. Writers describe his lameness as the consequence of his second fall, while Homer makes him lame and weak from his birth. Hephaestus was one of the Olympians to have returned to Olympus after being exiled.
In an archaic story, Hephaestus gained revenge against Hera for rejecting him by making her a magical golden throne, when she sat on it, did not allow her to stand up. The other gods begged Hephaestus to return to Olympus to let her go, but he refused, saying "I have no mother". At last, Dionysus fetched him, intoxicated him with wine, took the subdued smith back to Olympus on the back of a mule accompanied by revelers – a scene that sometimes appears on painted pottery of Attica and of Corinth. In the painted scenes, the padded dancers and phallic figures of the Dionysan throng leading the mule show that the procession was a part of the dithyrambic celebrations that were
In Greek mythology, Prometheus is a Titan, culture hero, trickster figure, credited with the creation of man from clay, who defies the gods by stealing fire and giving it to humanity, an act that enabled progress and civilisation. Prometheus is known for his intelligence and as a champion of mankind and seen as the author of the human arts and sciences generally, he is sometimes presented as the father of the hero of the Greek flood story. The punishment of Prometheus as a consequence of the theft is a major theme of his mythology, is a popular subject of both ancient and modern art. Zeus, king of the Olympian gods, sentenced the Titan to eternal torment for his transgression; the immortal Prometheus was bound to a rock, where each day an eagle, the emblem of Zeus, was sent to feed on his liver, which would grow back overnight to be eaten again the next day. Prometheus is freed at last by the hero Heracles. In another myth, Prometheus establishes the form of animal sacrifice practiced in ancient Greek religion.
Evidence of a cult to Prometheus himself is not widespread. He was a focus of religious activity at Athens, where he was linked to Athena and Hephaestus, other Greek deities of creative skills and technology. In the Western classical tradition, Prometheus became a figure who represented human striving the quest for scientific knowledge, the risk of overreaching or unintended consequences. In particular, he was regarded in the Romantic era as embodying the lone genius whose efforts to improve human existence could result in tragedy: Mary Shelley, for instance, gave The Modern Prometheus as the subtitle to her novel Frankenstein; the etymology of the theonym prometheus is debated. The classical view is that it signifies "forethought," as that of his brother Epimetheus denotes "afterthought". Hesychius of Alexandria gives Prometheus the variant name of Ithas, adds "whom others call Ithax", describes him as the Herald of the Titans. Kerényi remarks that these names are "not transparent", may be different readings of the same name, while the name "Prometheus" is descriptive.
It has been theorised that it derives from the Proto-Indo-European root that produces the Vedic pra math, "to steal", hence pramathyu-s, "thief", cognate with "Prometheus", the thief of fire. The Vedic myth of fire's theft by Mātariśvan is an analogue to the Greek account. Pramantha was the tool used to create fire; the suggestion that Prometheus was in origin the human "inventor of the fire-sticks, from which fire is kindled" goes back to Diodorus Siculus in the first century BC. The reference is again to the "fire-drill", a worldwide primitive method of fire making using a vertical and a horizontal piece of wood to produce fire by friction; the oldest record of Prometheus is in Hesiod, but stories of theft of fire by a trickster figure are widespread around the world. Some other aspects of the story resemble the Sumerian myth of Enki, a bringer of civilisation who protected humanity against the other gods; that Prometheus descends from the Vedic fire bringer Mātariśvan was a suggestion made in the 19th century which lost favour in the 20th century but is still supported by some.
The first recorded account of the Prometheus myth appeared in the late 8th-century BC Greek epic poet Hesiod's Theogony. He was a son of the Titan Iapetus by Clymene, one of the Oceanids, he was brother to Menoetius and Epimetheus. Hesiod, in Theogony, introduces Prometheus as a lowly challenger to Zeus's omniscience and omnipotence. In the trick at Mekone, a sacrificial meal marking the "settling of accounts" between mortals and immortals, Prometheus played a trick against Zeus, he placed two sacrificial offerings before the Olympian: a selection of beef hidden inside an ox's stomach, the bull's bones wrapped in "glistening fat". Zeus chose the latter. Henceforth, humans would keep that meat for themselves and burn the bones wrapped in fat as an offering to the gods; this angered Zeus. In this version of the myth, the use of fire was known to humans, but withdrawn by Zeus. Prometheus, stole fire back in a giant fennel-stalk and restored it to humanity; this further enraged Zeus. The woman, a "shy maiden", was fashioned by Hephaestus out of clay and Athena helped to adorn her properly.
Hesiod writes, "From her is the race of women and female kind: of her is the deadly race and tribe of women who live amongst mortal men to their great trouble, no helpmeets in hateful poverty, but only in wealth". Prometheus is chained to a rock in the Caucasus for eternity, where his liver is eaten daily by an eagle, only to be regenerated by night, due to his immortality; the eagle is a symbol of Zeus himself. Years the Greek hero Heracles slays the eagle and frees Prometheus from his torment. Hesiod revisits the theft of fire in Works and Days. In it the poet expands upon Zeus's reaction to Prometheus's deception. Not only does Zeus withhold fire from humanity, but "the means of life" as well. Had Prometheus not provoked Zeus's wrath, "you would do work enough in a day to supply you for a full year without working.
In Greek mythology, Cronos, or Kronos, was the leader and youngest of the first generation of Titans, the divine descendants of Uranus, the sky, Gaia, the earth. He overthrew his father and ruled during the mythological Golden Age, until he was overthrown by his own son Zeus and imprisoned in Tartarus. According to Plato, the deities Phorcys and Rhea were the eldest children of Oceanus and Tethys. Cronus was depicted with a harpe, scythe or a sickle, the instrument he used to castrate and depose Uranus, his father. In Athens, on the twelfth day of the Attic month of Hekatombaion, a festival called Kronia was held in honour of Cronus to celebrate the harvest, suggesting that, as a result of his association with the virtuous Golden Age, Cronus continued to preside as a patron of the harvest. Cronus was identified in classical antiquity with the Roman deity Saturn. In an ancient myth recorded by Hesiod's Theogony, Cronus envied the power of his father, the ruler of the universe, Uranus. Uranus drew the enmity of Cronus's mother, when he hid the gigantic youngest children of Gaia, the hundred-handed Hecatonchires and one-eyed Cyclopes, in Tartarus, so that they would not see the light.
Gaia created a great stone sickle and gathered together Cronus and his brothers to persuade them to castrate Uranus. Only Cronus was willing to do the deed, so Gaia gave him the sickle and placed him in ambush; when Uranus met with Gaia, Cronus attacked him with the sickle, castrating him and casting his testicles into the sea. From the blood that spilled out from Uranus and fell upon the earth, the Gigantes and Meliae were produced; the testicles produced a white foam from. For this, Uranus threatened vengeance and called his sons Titenes for overstepping their boundaries and daring to commit such an act. After dispatching Uranus, Cronus re-imprisoned the Hecatonchires, the Cyclopes and set the dragon Campe to guard them, he and his sister Rhea took the throne of the world as queen. The period in which Cronus ruled was called the Golden Age, as the people of the time had no need for laws or rules. Cronus learned from Gaia and Uranus that he was destined to be overcome by his own sons, just as he had overthrown his father.
As a result, although he sired the gods Demeter, Hera and Poseidon by Rhea, he devoured them all as soon as they were born to prevent the prophecy. When the sixth child, was born Rhea sought Gaia to devise a plan to save them and to get retribution on Cronus for his acts against his father and children. Rhea secretly gave birth to Zeus in Crete, handed Cronus a stone wrapped in swaddling clothes known as the Omphalos Stone, which he promptly swallowed, thinking that it was his son. Rhea kept Zeus hidden in a cave on Crete. According to some versions of the story, he was raised by a goat named Amalthea, while a company of Kouretes, armored male dancers and clapped their hands to make enough noise to mask the baby's cries from Cronus. Other versions of the myth have Zeus raised by the nymph Adamanthea, who hid Zeus by dangling him by a rope from a tree so that he was suspended between the earth, the sea, the sky, all of which were ruled by his father, Cronus. Still other versions of the tale say that Zeus was raised by Gaia.
Once he had grown up, Zeus used an emetic given to him by Gaia to force Cronus to disgorge the contents of his stomach in reverse order: first the stone, set down at Pytho under the glens of Mount Parnassus to be a sign to mortal men, his two brothers and three sisters. In other versions of the tale, Metis gave Cronus an emetic to force him to disgorge the children. After freeing his siblings, Zeus released the Hecatoncheires, the Cyclopes who forged for him his thunderbolts, Poseidon's trident and Hades' helmet of darkness. In a vast war called the Titanomachy and his brothers and sisters, with the help of the Hecatonchires and Cyclopes, overthrew Cronus and the other Titans. Afterwards, many of the Titans were confined in Tartarus. However, Helios, Prometheus and Menoetius were not imprisoned following the Titanomachy. Gaia bore the monster Typhon to claim revenge for the imprisoned Titans. Accounts of the fate of Cronus after the Titanomachy differ. In Homeric and other texts he is imprisoned with the other Titans in Tartarus.
In Orphic poems, he is imprisoned for eternity in the cave of Nyx. Pindar describes his release from Tartarus. In another version, the Titans released the Cyclopes from Tartarus, Cronus was awarded the kingship among them, beginning a Golden Age. In Virgil's Aeneid, it is Latium to which Saturn escapes and ascends as king and lawgiver, following his defeat by his son Jupiter. One other account referred by Robert Graves, who claims to be following the account of the Byzantine mythographer Tzetzes, it is said that Cronus was castrated by his son Zeus just like he had done with his father Uranus before; however the subject of a son castrating his own father, or castration in general, was so repudiated by the Greek mythographers of that time that they suppressed it from their accounts until the Christian era. In a Libyan account related by Diodorus Siculus and Titaea were the parents of
Mnemosyne is the goddess of memory in Greek mythology. "Mnemosyne" is derived from the same source as the word mnemonic, that being the Greek word mnēmē, which means "remembrance, memory". Mnemosyne is the mother of the nine Muses. A Titanide, or Titaness, Mnemosyne was the daughter of the Titans Gaia. Mnemosyne was the mother of the nine Muses, fathered by her nephew, Zeus: Calliope Clio Euterpe Erato Melpomene Polyhymnia Terpsichore Thalia Urania In Hesiod’s Theogony and poets receive their powers of authoritative speech from their possession of Mnemosyne and their special relationship with the Muses. Zeus, in a form of a mortal shepherd, Mnemosyne slept together for nine consecutive nights, thus conceiving the nine Muses. Mnemosyne presided over a pool in Hades, counterpart to the river Lethe, according to a series of 4th-century BC Greek funerary inscriptions in dactylic hexameter. Dead souls drank from Lethe. In Orphism, the initiated were taught to instead drink from the Mnemosyne, the river of memory, which would stop the transmigration of the soul.
Although she was categorized as one of the Titans in the Theogony, Mnemosyne did not quite fit that distinction. Titans were hardly worshiped in Ancient Greece, were thought of as so archaic as to belong to the ancient past, they resembled historical figures more than anything else. Mnemosyne, on the other hand, traditionally appeared in the first few lines of many oral epic poems —she appears in both the Iliad and the Odyssey, among others—as the speaker called upon her aid in remembering and performing the poem he was about to recite. Mnemosyne is thought to have been given the distinction of “Titan” because memory was so important and basic to the oral culture of the Greeks that they deemed her one of the essential building blocks of civilization in their creation myth. Once written literature overtook the oral recitation of epics, Plato made reference in his Euthydemus to the older tradition of invoking Mnemosyne; the character Socrates prepares to recount a story and says “ὥστ᾽ ἔγωγε, καθάπερ οἱ ποιηταί, δέομαι ἀρχόμενος τῆς διηγήσεως Μούσας τε καὶ Μνημοσύνην ἐπικαλεῖσθαι.”
Which translates to “Consequently, like the poets, I must needs begin my narrative with an invocation of the Muses and Memory”. Aristophanes harked back to the tradition in his play Lysistrata when a drunken Spartan ambassador invokes her name while prancing around pretending to be a bard from times of yore. While not one of the most popular divinities, Mnemosyne was the subject of some minor worship in Ancient Greece. Statues of her are mentioned in the sanctuaries of other gods, she was depicted alongside her daughters the Muses, she was worshipped in Lebadeia in Boeotia, at Mount Helicon in Boeotia, in the cult of Asclepius. There was a statue of Mnemosyne in the shrine of Dionysos at Athens, alongside the statues of the Muses and Apollo, as well as a statue with her daughters the Muses in the Temple of Athena Alea. Pausanias described the worship of Mnemosyne in Lebadeia in Boeotia, where she played an important part in the oracular sanctuary of Trophonios: " He is taken by the priests, not at once to the oracle, but to fountains of water near to each other.
Here he must drink water called the water of Lethe, that he may forget all that he has been thinking of hitherto, afterwards he drinks of another water, the water of Mnemosyne, which causes him to remember what he sees after his descent... After his ascent from Trophonios the inquirer is again taken in hand by the priests, who set him upon a chair called the chair of Mnemosyne, which stands not far from the shrine, they ask of him, when seated there, all he has seen or learned. After gaining this information they entrust him to his relatives; these lift him, paralysed with terror and unconscious both of himself and of his surroundings, carry him to the building where he lodged before with Tykhe and the Daimon Agathon. Afterwards, however, he will recover all his faculties, the power to laugh will return to him."Mnemosyne was sometime regarded as being not the mother of the Muses but as one of them, as such she was worshiped in the sanctuary of the Muses at Mount Helicon in Boeotia: "The first to sacrifice on Helikon to the Mousai and to call the mountain sacred to the Mousai were, they say and Otos, who founded Askra...
The sons of Aloeus held that the Mousai were three in number, gave them the names Melete and Aoide. But they say that afterwards Pieros, a Makedonian... came to Thespiae and established nine Mousai, changing their names to the present ones... Mimnermos... says in the preface that the elder Mousai are the daughters of Ouranos, that there are other and younger Mousai, children of Zeus." Mnemosyne was one of the deities worshiped in the cult of Asclepius that formed in Ancient Greece around the 5th century BC. Asclepius, a Greek hero and god of medicine, was said to have been able to cure maladies, the cult incorporated a multitude of other Greek heroes and gods in its process of healing; the exact order of the offerings and prayers varied by location, the supplicant made an offering to Mnemosyne. After making an offering to Asclepius himself, in some locations, one last praye
Chthonic means "subterranean", but the word in English describes deities or spirits of the underworld in Ancient Greek religion. The Greek word khthon is one of several for "earth". Chthonic, a form of khthonie and khthonios, has a precise meaning in Greek; these include, but are not limited to, Persephone and Hades in classical mythology. Nocturnal ritual sacrifice was a common practice in many chthonic cults; when the sacrifice was a living creature, the animal was placed in megaron. In some Greek chthonic cults, the animal was sacrificed on a raised bomos. Offerings were burned whole or buried rather than being cooked and shared among the worshippers. In his book The Mycenaean World and classicist John Chadwick argues that many chthonic deities may be remnants of the native Pre-Hellenic religion and that many of the Olympian deities may come from the Proto-Greeks who overran the southern part of the Balkan Peninsula in the late third millennium BC, he does, note that this may be somewhat of an overgeneralization and that the origins of chthonic and Olympian deities are much more complex.
The German classicist Walter Burkert explicitly rejects the notion of chthonic deities as pre-Greek and the Olympian deities as Indo-European in his book Greek Religion. He comments, "It is the chthonic chaoi which are related to Indo-European, whereas the Olympian sacrifice has connections with Semitic tradition." The myths associating the underworld chthonic deities and fertility were not exclusive. Myths about the Olympian deities described an association with the fertility and prosperity of Earth, such as Demeter and her daughter, who both watched over aspects of the fertility of the land, but Demeter had a Olympian cult while Persephone had a chthonic one due to her association with Hades, by whom she had been captured; the categories Olympian and chthonic were not, however separate. Some Olympian deities, such as Hermes and Zeus received chthonic sacrifices and tithes in certain locations; the deified heroes Heracles and Asclepius might be worshipped as gods or chthonic heroes, depending on the site and the time of origin of the myth.
Moreover, a few deities are not classifiable under these terms. Hecate, for instance, was offered puppies at crossroads – a practice neither typical of an Olympian sacrifice nor of a chthonic sacrifice to Persephone or the heroes – but because of her underworld roles, Hecate is classed as chthonic. In analytical psychology, the term chthonic has been used to describe the spirit of nature within, the unconscious earthly impulses of the Self, one's material depths, not with negative connotations. See anima and animus or shadow; the term chthonic has connotations with regard to gender in cultural anthropology. This was by no means universal. Greek mythology has female deities associated with the sky, such as Dike, goddess of justice, who sits on the right side of Zeus as his advisor, Eos, goddess of dawn – and Hades as god of the underworld; the term allochthon in structural geology is used to describe a large block of rock, moved from its original site of formation by low angle thrust faulting.
From the Greek "allo", meaning other, "chthon", designating the process of the land mass being moved under the earth and connecting two horizontally stacked décollements and thus "under the earth". Burkert, Greek Religion, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-36281-0 Chadwick, John; the Mycenaean World. New York: Cambridge University Press. P. 85. ISBN 978-0-521-29037-1. Dillon, Matthew. Girls and Women in Classical Greek Religion. London: Routledge. ISBN 0415202728. Media related to Chthonic beings at Wikimedia Commons
In ancient Greek religion and mythology, the Moirai or Moerae known in English as the Fates, were the white-robed incarnations of destiny. Their number became fixed at three: Clotho and Atropos, they controlled the mother thread of life of every mortal from birth to death. They were independent, at the helm of necessity, directed fate, watched that the fate assigned to every being by eternal laws might take its course without obstruction. Both gods and men had to submit to them, although Zeus's relationship with them is a matter of debate: some sources say he can command them, while others suggest he was bound to the Moirai's dictates. In the Homeric poems Moira or Aisa are related to the limit and end of life, Zeus appears as the guider of destiny. In the Theogony of Hesiod, the three Moirai are personified, daughters of Nyx and are acting over the gods, they are daughters of Zeus and Themis, the embodiment of divine order and law. In Plato's Republic the Three Fates are daughters of Ananke, it seems that Moira is related with Tekmor and with Ananke, who were primeval goddesses in mythical cosmogonies.
The ancient Greek writers might call this power Moira or Ananke, the gods could not alter what was ordained: "To the Moirai the might of Zeus must bow. In earliest Greek philosophy, the cosmogony of Anaximander is based on these mythical beliefs; the goddess keeps the order and sets a limit to any actions. The ancient Greek word moira means a portion or lot of the whole, is related to meros, "part, lot" and moros, "fate, doom", Latin meritum, "reward", English merit, derived from the PIE root *mer, "to allot, assign". Moira may mean portion or share in the distribution of booty, portion in life, destiny, portion of the distributed land; the word is used for something, meet and right. It seems that the word moira did not indicate destiny but included ascertainment or proof, a non-abstract certainty; the word daemon, an agent related to unexpected events, came to be similar to the word moira. This agent or cause against human control might be called tyche: "You mistress moira, tyche, my daemon."The word nomos, "law", may have meant a portion or lot, as in the verb nemein, "to distribute", thus "natural lot" came to mean "natural law".
The word dike, "justice", conveyed the notion that someone should stay within his own specified boundaries, respecting the ones of his neighbour. If someone broke his boundaries, thus getting more than his ordained part he would be punished by law. By extension, moira was one's portion or part in destiny which consisted of good and bad moments as was predetermined by the Moirai, it was impossible for anyone to get more than his ordained part. In modern Greek the word came to mean "destiny". Kismet, the predetermined course of events in the Muslim traditions, seems to have a similar etymology and function: Arabic qismat "lot" qasama, "to divide, allot" developed to mean Fate or destiny; as a loanword, qesmat'fate' appears in Persian, whence in Urdu language, in English Kismet. When they were three, the Moirai were: Clotho spun the thread of life from her Distaff onto her Spindle, her Roman equivalent was Nona, a goddess called upon in the ninth month of pregnancy. Lachesis measured the thread of life allotted to each person with her measuring rod.
Her Roman equivalent was Decima. Atropos was the cutter of the thread of life, she chose the manner of each person's death. Her Roman equivalent was Morta. In the Republic of Plato, the three Moirai sing in unison with the music of the Seirenes. Lachesis sings the things that were, Clotho the things that are, Atropos the things that are to be. Pindar in his Hymn to the Fates, holds them in high honour, he calls them to send their sisters Hours, Eunomia and Eirene, to stop the internal civil strife: Listen Fates, who sit nearest of gods to the throne of Zeus, weave with shuttles of adamant, inescapable devices for councels of every kind beyond counting, Aisa and Lachesis, fine-armed daughters of Night, hearken to our prayers, all-terrible goddesses, of sky and earth. Send us rose-bosomed Lawfulness, her sisters on glittering thrones and crowned Peace, make this city forget the misfortunes which lie on her heart. In ancient times caves were used for burial purposes in east