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Bas relief of Atropos cutting the thread of life.

Atropos or Aisa (/ˈætrəpɒs/; Ancient Greek: Ἄτροπος "without turn"), in Greek mythology, was one of the three Moirai, goddesses of fate and destiny. Her Roman equivalent was Morta.

Atropos was the oldest of the Three Fates, and was known as "the Inflexible One[1]," or "inevitable[citation needed]." It was Atropos who chose the mechanism 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[2] 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.


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.


The scientific name of a venomous snake, Bitis atropos, refers to Atropos.[3]


Acherontia atropos


An asteroid 273 Atropos is named after Atropos.


  1. ^ Clement of Alexandria. The Exhortation to the Greeks. The Rich Man's Salvation. To the Newly Baptized. Translated by G. W. Butterworth. Loeb Classical Library 92. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1919, pg 52-53.
  2. ^ Baldwin, James. "The Story of Atalanta". Old Greek Stories. ISBN 978-1421932125.
  3. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. ("Atropos", p. 12).

External links[edit]

  • Works related to Theogony at Wikisource
  • The dictionary definition of Atropos at Wiktionary
  • Media related to Atropos at Wikimedia Commons