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In Greek and Roman mythology, the three goddesses who determined human destiny. The Fates were usually depicted as old women: Clotho, the Spinner; Lachesis, the Allotter; and Atropos, the Inflexible. Clotho spun the thread of human life, Lachesis dispensed it, and Atropos cut the thread. They determined the length of each person's life as well as its share of suffering. Their Roman names were Nona, Decuma, and Morta.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Fates, visit Britannica.com.
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