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Atropos was the oldest of the Three Fates, and was known as "the Inflexible One." It was Atropos who chose the manner of death and ended the life of mortals by cutting their threads. She worked along with her two sisters, Clotho, who spun the thread, and Lachesis, who measured the length. Atropos has been featured in several stories such as Atalanta and Achilles.
Her origin, along with the other two fates, is uncertain, although some called them the daughters of the night. It is clear, however, that at a certain period they ceased to be only concerned with death and also became those powers who decided what may happen to individuals. Although Zeus was the chief Greek god and their father, he was still subject to the decisions of the Fates, and thus the executor of destiny, rather than its source. According to Hesiod's Theogony, Atropos and her sisters (Clotho and Lachesis) were the daughters of Erebus (Darkness) and Nyx (Night) and sister to Thanatos and Hypnos, though later in the same work (ll. 901-906) they are said to have been of Zeus and Themis.
Dispute of origin
In the ancient Greek poem, The Shield of Heracles, Atropos is referred to as the oldest and smallest of the three fates. This description is uncommon among references to Atropos. It is uncommon in ancient mentions of her in more ways than one as it turns out, including this fate's moniker. Its possible that Plato is behind the creation of Atropos as many of the early descriptions of the fates have Aisa as the name of this third fate, although there is still no clear consensus. The inconsistent nature of these accounts make it difficult to know for sure whether or not Aisa or Atropos is the best name to use when talking about the third fate, but evidence seems to point to Aisa being the more commonly used name earlier on, with Atropos gaining popularity later.
Atropos lends her name to the genus Atropa, of which the poisonous plant Atropa belladonna (deadly nightshade) is a member, and to the alkaloid atropine, an anticholinergic drug which is derived from it.
Acherontia atropos is one of the three species of "death's head" sphinx moths.
An asteroid 273 Atropos is named after Atropos.
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