Atë

Last updated

Atë, Até or Aite ( /ˈt/ ; Ancient Greek : ἄτη) is the Greek goddess of mischief, delusion, ruin, and folly. Até also refers to an action performed by a hero that leads to their death or downfall. Mythology personifies Atë as the daughter either of Zeus or of Eris. [1]

Contents

Classical references

Homer's Iliad (Book 19) depicts Atë as the eldest daughter of Zeus (with no mother mentioned). On Hera's instigation, Atë used her influence over Zeus so that he swore an oath that on that day a great mortal man descended from him would be born (brought into the light by Eileithyia, goddess of "birth-pangs"), who would become lord of all men who dwell about him (the Argives). Hera immediately arranged to delay the birth of Heracles to Alcmene and bring forth Eurystheus prematurely (to whom Heracles would later become subject), born to Nicippe (unnamed), wife of Sthenelus. In anger, Zeus flung Atë by her hair down to earth, from the starry heavens, forever forbidding her return to Mount Olympus and heaven (the starry sky). Atë then wandered about, treading on the heads of men rather than on the earth, wreaking havoc and delusion amongst mortals.

The Litae ("Prayers") follow after her, but Atë is fast and far outruns them.

The Bibliotheca (3.143) claims that when thrown down by Zeus, Atë landed on a peak in Phrygia called by her name. There Ilus later, following a cow, founded the city of Ilion, known as Troy. This flourish is chronologically at odds with Homer's dating of Atë's fall.

Hesiod's Theogony (l.230) makes Atë the daughter of Eris ("Strife"), with no father mentioned.

In Nonnus' Dionysiaca (11.113), at Hera's instigation Atë persuades the boy Ampelus whom Dionysus passionately loves, to impress Dionysus by riding on a bull from which Ampelus subsequently falls and breaks his neck.

In the Argonautica of Apollonius of Rhodes (4.817), Hera says that "even the gods are sometimes visited by Atë" (translated by Richard Hunter as "even gods make mistakes").

Post-classical

In the play Julius Caesar , Shakespeare introduces the goddess Atë as an invocation of vengeance and menace. Mark Antony, lamenting Caesar's murder, envisions:

"And Caesar's spirit, ranging for revenge,

With Atë' by his side come hot from Hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch's voice

Cry "Havoc!" and let slip the dogs of war ...

Shakespeare also mentions her in the play Much Ado About Nothing , when Benedick says, referring to Beatrice,

"Come, talk not of her. You shall find her the
infernal Atë in good apparel ...

So too, in King John , Shakespeare refers to Queen Eleanor as "An Ate stirring [John] to blood and strife" (2.1.63), and in Love's Labours Lost Birone jeers "Pompey is moved. More Ates, more Ates! stir them on! stir them on!" (5.2. 688-9).

In Spenser's The Faerie Queene , a fiend from Hell disguised as a beautiful woman is called Ate. This is a possible parallel to the fallen angels.

In her book The March of Folly, Barbara Tuchman notes that the earth has been called The Meadow of Atë. [2]

See also

Notes

  1. Atsma, Aaron J. "Ate". Theoi Greek Mythology. Retrieved 2014-11-08.
  2. Tuchman, B., The March of Folly, p. 47, Alfred A. Knopf, 1984

Related Research Articles

Eris (mythology) Greek goddess of chaos and discord

Eris is the Greek goddess of strife and discord. Her Roman equivalent is Discordia, which means "discord". Eris's Greek opposite is Harmonia, whose Roman counterpart is Concordia. Homer equated her with the war-goddess Enyo, whose Roman counterpart is Bellona. The dwarf planet Eris is named after the goddess.

Hera Goddess from Greek mythology, wife and sister of Zeus

Hera is the goddess of women, marriage, family, and childbirth in ancient Greek religion and myth, one of the Twelve Olympians and the sister and wife of Zeus. She is the daughter of the Titans Cronus and Rhea. Hera rules over Mount Olympus as queen of the gods. A matronly figure, Hera served as both the patroness and protectress of married women, presiding over weddings and blessing marital unions. One of Hera's defining characteristics is her jealous and vengeful nature against Zeus' numerous lovers and illegitimate offspring, as well as the mortals who cross her.

Hades God of the underworld in Greek mythology

Hades, in the ancient Greek religion and myth, is the god of the dead and the king of the underworld, with which his name became synonymous. Hades was the eldest son of Cronus and Rhea, although the last son regurgitated by his father. He and his brothers, Zeus and Poseidon, defeated their father's generation of gods, the Titans, and claimed rulership over the cosmos. Hades received the underworld, Zeus the sky, and Poseidon the sea, with the solid earth, long the province of Gaia, available to all three concurrently. Hades was often portrayed with his three-headed guard dog Cerberus.

<i>Theogony</i> Poem by Hesiod

The Theogony is a poem by Hesiod describing the origins and genealogies of the Greek gods, composed c. 730–700 BC. It is written in the Epic dialect of Ancient Greek and contains 1022 lines.

Hestia Greek goddess

In the Ancient Greek religion, Hestia is the virgin goddess of the hearth, the right ordering of domesticity, the family, the home, and the state. In Greek mythology, she is the eldest daughter and firstborn child of the Titans Kronos and Rhea.

Titans (mythology) Second order of divine beings in Greek mythology

In Greek mythology, the Titans were the pre-Olympian gods. According to the Theogony of Hesiod, they were the twelve children of the primordial parents Uranus (Sky) and his mother, Gaia (Earth), with six male Titans: Oceanus, Coeus, Crius, Hyperion, Iapetus, and Cronus, and six female Titans, called the Titanides : Theia, Rhea, Themis, Mnemosyne, Phoebe, and Tethys. Cronus mated with his older sister Rhea and together they became the parents of the first generation of Olympians: Zeus and his five siblings Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades and Poseidon. Descendants of the Titans are sometimes also called Titans.

In Greek mythology, Apate was the personification of deceit. Her mother was Nyx, the personification of night. Her Roman equivalent was Fraus. Her male counterpart was Dolos, daemon of trickery, and her opposite number was Aletheia, the spirit of truth.

Enyo Greek goddess of war and destruction

Enyo was a goddess of war in Classical Greek mythology. She frequently is associated with the war god Ares.

Phobos (mythology) personification of fear in Greek mythology

Phobos is the personification of fear in Greek mythology. Phobos was the son of Ares and Aphrodite, but does not have a distinct role in mythology outside of being his father's attendant.

Nyx Ancient Greek goddess of the night

Nyx is the Greek goddess of the night. A shadowy figure, Nyx stood at or near the beginning of creation and mothered other personified deities such as Hypnos (Sleep) and Thanatos (Death), with Erebus (Darkness). Her appearances are sparse in surviving mythology, but reveal her as a figure of such exceptional power and beauty that she is feared by Zeus himself.

Thanatos Ancient Greek personification of death

In Greek mythology, Thanatos was the personification of death. He was a minor figure in Greek mythology, often referred to but rarely appearing in person.

Twelve Olympians Major deities of the Greek pantheon

In ancient Greek religion and mythology, the twelve Olympians are the major deities of the Greek pantheon, commonly considered to be Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Hephaestus, Aphrodite, Hermes, and either Hestia or Dionysus. They were called Olympians because, according to tradition, they resided on Mount Olympus.

Dione (Titaness) Greek goddess, mother of Aphrodite

Dione was an ancient Greek goddess, Titaness primarily known from Book V of Homer's Iliad, where she tends to the wounds suffered by her daughter Aphrodite. One source describes her as an ancient wife of Zeus.

<i>Hieros gamos</i>

Hieros gamos or Hierogamy is a sacred marriage that plays out between a god and a goddess, especially when enacted in a symbolic ritual where human participants represent the deities.

<i>Dionysiaca</i> Greek epic poem by Nonnus

The Dionysiaca is an ancient Greek epic poem and the principal work of Nonnus. It is an epic in 48 books, the longest surviving poem from antiquity at 20,426 lines, composed in Homeric dialect and dactylic hexameters, the main subject of which is the life of Dionysus, his expedition to India, and his triumphant return to the west.

In Greek mythology, the primordial deities are the first gods and goddesses born from the void of Chaos. Hesiod's first are Gaia, Tartarus, Eros, Erebus, Hemera and Nyx. The primordial deities Gaia and Uranus give birth to the Titans, and the Cyclopes. The Titans Cronus and Rhea give birth to Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Hestia, Hera and Demeter who overthrew the Titans. The warring of the gods ends with the reign of Zeus.

Alexiares and Anicetus are minor deities in Greek Mythology. They are the immortal twin sons of Heracles, the greatest of the Greek heroes and the strongest mortal to live, and Hebe, the goddess of youth the server of Ambrosia and nectar to the other Olympian gods. Along with their father Heracles, they possibly were the guardians of Mount Olympus, and the pair may have been regarded as the gatekeepers of Olympus, a role which was often assigned to their immortal father. Additionally, they were likely responsible for the protection and fortification of towns and citadels. They were born after the hero's mortal death and ascent to Olympus, where he gained immortality and married the goddess Hebe. Callimachus makes a reference to Hebe receiving assistance from her sister, Eiliethyia the goddess of midwifery, while in labour. Their names mean "he who wards off war" and "the unconquerable one" respectively.

Ponos or Ponus is the personification of Hardship and Toil. According to Hesiod's Theogony, Ponos was the son of the goddess Eris ("Discord"), who was the daughter of Nyx ("Night"). In the epic poem the Shield of Heracles, attributed to Hesiod, Phonos (singular) was one of the many figures, depicted on Heracles' shield. Ponos' siblings include Forgetfulness (Lethe), Stories (Logoi), Lies (Pseudea), Broken Oaths (Horkos), Quarrels (Neikea), Dispute (Amphillogiai), Manslaughter (Androktasiai), Battle (Hysminai) and War (Makhai), Anarchy (Dysnomia), Starvation (Limos), Pain (Algea), and Ruin (Ate).

In Greek mythology, the Androctasiae or Androktasiai were the female personifications of manslaughter, and daughters of the goddess of strife and discord, Eris. This name is also used for all of Eris' children collectively, as a whole group.

Asteria (Titaness) daughter of the Titans Coeus and Phoebe and sister of Leto

In Greek mythology, Asteria or Asterie was a daughter of the Titans Coeus (Polus) and Phoebe and the sister of Leto. According to Hesiod, by the Titan Perses she had a daughter Hecate, goddess of witchcraft. Other authors made Asteria the mother of the fourth Heracles and Hecate by Zeus.

References