Atë is the goddess of Delusion and Bad Life Choices, the daughter of Eris (goddess of strife) and the granddaughter of Nyx (goddess of night). In the spirit of "mama's baby, papa's maybe", there are questions about her father. But in the Iliad, Agamemnon calls her Zeus's eldest daughter. (Book 19, line 90). Her siblings are the gods/goddesses of Toil, Oblivion, Famine Sorrows, Fights, Murder, Battle, Manslayings, Quarrels, Lies, Disputes, Lawlessness, and Oathbreaking.

Atë's expulsion from Mount Olympus sprang from Hera's justifiable complaints to Zeus for fathering children with mortals, elevating them to high status or even godhead frequently at the expense of her children. Zeus knew that Heracles was expected to be born momentarily and bragged insufferably what a great man his son Heracles was going to be. Hera sent Atë to beguile him and goaded him to make good on his boast. At her insistence, Zeus agreed to make the member of Zeus's bloodline born that day the leader of all who lived with him. Zeus made an oath to that effect, and Hera then scooted off and, with the help of the goddess of childbirth, delayed Heracles's birth and brought about the premature birth of a descendant of Perseus—Eurystheus , who became king of Mycenae. Learning of how Atë had deluded him into depriving Heracles of his birthright, Zeus grabbed her by the hair and flung her from Mount Olympus.

In the Iliad, Agamemnon describes Atë's mode of operation: she is "the accursed who deludes all; her feet are delicate and they step not on the firm earth, but she walks the air above men's heads and leads them astray." He blames his bad behavior over Achilles and Briseis to Atë; but, we know it was totally in character as the unreconstructed horndog he was.

A more illuminating example is found in Book 11 of Dionysiaca, the epic poem by Nonnus. In this story, Dionysus' young lover Ampelos is hanging around on the mountainside when Atë arrives to suggest that all of his buddies have rides of their own and he needs a fancy way to get around. And, look there is a bull over there in that field; think how cool it would be showing up on the back of a fierce bull. And we know how that poor life choice ends. This story was elaborated by DrPraetorius in a lecture on The Foundations of Social Engineering and Applied Mythology

Created by steve. Last Modification: Sunday 25 of October, 2020 11:03:25 EDT by steve.