"Folly." According to Hesiod,1 a daughter of Eris, and according to Homer2 of Zeus, was an ancient Greek divinity, who led both gods and men to rash and inconsiderate actions and to suffering. She once even induced Zeus, at the birth of Heracles, to take an oath by which Hera was afterwards enabled to give to Eurystheus the power which had been destined for Heracles. When Zeus discovered his rashness, he hurled Ate from Olympus and banished her for ever from the abodes of the gods.3

In the tragic writers Ate appears in a different light: she avenges evil deeds and inflicts just punishments upon the offenders and their posterity,4 so that her character here is almost the same as that of Nemesis and Erinyes. She appears most prominent in the dramas of Aeschylus, and least in those of Euripides, with whom the idea of Dike (justice) is more fully developed.



  1. Theogony, 230.
  2. Iliad xix, 91.
  3. ibid. xix, 126 ff.
  4. Aeschylus. Libation Bearers, 381


  • Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.

This article incorporates text from Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) by William Smith, which is in the public domain.