Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Oxford Classical Dictionary. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 09 December 2022



  • Herbert Jennings Rose
  •  and B. C. Dietrich


Mental aberration, infatuation causing irrational behaviour which leads to disaster; sometimes the disaster itself. A hero's atē is brought about through psychic intervention by a divine agency, usually *Zeus, but can also be physically inflicted (Il.16. 805). *Agamemnon blames Zeus, *Fate, and the *Erinyes for his delusion that made him take *Briseis and lead the Achaeans to the brink of defeat (Il.19. 87 f., cf. 2. 111, 8. 237, 11. 340; Od. 12. 371 f., etc. ). Ate is personified as the daughter of Zeus whom he expelled from Olympus to bring harm to men (Il. 19. 90–4, 126–31). A similarly pessimistic notion of divine punishment for guilt underlies *Homer's Parable of the Prayers. In this early allegory swift-footed Atē outruns the slow Prayers and forces men into error and punishment (Il. 9. 502–12). In another moralizing personification Ate becomes the daughter of *Eris (Strife) and sister of Dysnomia (Lawlessness) (Theog.


  • Greek Myth and Religion

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Access to the full content requires a subscription