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The Fates were a common motif in European polytheism, most frequently represented as a group of three mythological goddesses (although their number differed in certain eras and cultures). They were often depicted as weavers of a tapestry on a loom, with the tapestry dictating the destinies of humans.

Historical occurrences[edit]

The three fates, Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos, who spin, draw out and cut the thread of life. (Flemish tapestry, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The primary instances include:

  • Moirai[1][2][3] are the Fates of Greek mythology who control the Threads of Fate
  • Parcae[4] are the Roman personifications of humankind's and the gods' destinies, commonly referred to as the Fates of Roman mythology. They are the Roman equivalents to the Greek Moirai. The names of the three Parcae are Nona (Greek equivalent Clotho), Decima (Greek equivalent Lachesis) and Morta (Greek equivalent Atropos). The earliest documents referencing the Parcae are three small stelae (stone or wooden slabs) found near ancient Lavinium.
  • Deities and fairies of fate in Slavic mythology.[5] There are many Slavic deities and fairies who control or foretell a person's fate.
  • Norns[6][7] are the Fates of Norse mythology, also related to other female deities in Germanic paganism
  • Deivės Valdytojos,[8] seven goddesses who weave garments made from humans' lives in Baltic paganism

In fiction[edit]

This motif has been replicated in fictional accounts, such as:


  1. ^ Homer (1965–67). The Iliad : with an English translation. W. Heinemann. OCLC 221448332.
  2. ^ Bulfinch, Thomas (2016). Bulfinch's mythology. Digireads.com Publishing. ISBN 9781420953046. OCLC 1017567068.
  3. ^ Homer (1938–42). The Odyssey, with an English translation. W. Heinemann. OCLC 7440655.
  4. ^ Day, John (1988). God's conflict with the dragon and the sea : echoes of a Canaanite myth in the Old Testament. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521256003. OCLC 1056600192.
  5. ^ Cross, Tom Peete (July 1919). "Celtic MythologyThe Mythology of All Races, Vol. III. John Arnott MacCulloch , Jan Máchal , Louis Herbert Gray". The American Journal of Theology. 23 (3): 371–376. doi:10.1086/480029. ISSN 1550-3283.
  6. ^ Goldenweiser, A. A.; Gray, Louis Herbert; Moore, George Foot; Fox, William Sherwood; Keith, A. Berriedale; Carnoy, Albert J.; Dixon, Roland B.; Alexander, Hartley Burr (1918-03-28). "The Mythology of All Races. Vol. I: Greek and Roman. Vol. VI: Indian and Iranian. Vol. IX: Oceanic. Vol. X: North American". The Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods. 15 (7): 190. doi:10.2307/2940073. ISSN 0160-9335. JSTOR 2940073.
  7. ^ Med, Intervju; Horverak, Øyvind (October 1995). "Article". Nordisk Alkoholtisdkrift (Nordic Alcohol Studies). 12 (5–6): 303–304. doi:10.1177/1455072595012005-616. ISSN 0789-6069.
  8. ^ Klimka, Libertas (2012-03-01). "Senosios baltų mitologijos ir religijos likimas". Lituanistica. 58 (1). doi:10.6001/lituanistica.v58i1.2293. ISSN 0235-716X.
  9. ^ Shakespeare, William (1623-01-01), "Macbeth", The Oxford Shakespeare: The Tragedy of Macbeth, Oxford University Press, pp. 91–92, doi:10.1093/oseo/instance.00000007, ISBN 9780198129011
  10. ^ "Boogie Nights, 1997 (Movie Review and Trivia)", Appetite, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012, p. 24, doi:10.2307/j.ctt1b3h9zv.18, ISBN 9780822978459
  11. ^ Ginsberg, Allen (2006). Howl. Museum of American Poetics Publications. OCLC 666904326.