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Ananke or Necessity, the personification of absolute obligation and of the constraining force of the decrees of destiny, was an 'intellectual' divinity. In Greece she appears under the name of Ananke only in the Orphic theogony where, with her daughter Adrastia, she is the nurse of the little Zeus. She herself was a daughter of Cronus, like Justitia. Her children were Aether, Chaos and Erebus.

Ananke occurs in the cosmological and metaphysical constructions of the philosophers. For example, in Plato's myth in the Republic, Ananke is the mother of the Moirai. Gradually, and particularly in popular tradition, Ananke became a goddess of death, but in the works of the poets, particularly the tragedians, she remained the incarnation of the ultimate Force which even the gods must obey.

In Rome, Ananke became Necessitas, a poetic allegory, which seems not to have had an existence of its own outside purely literary allusions.


Table of Sources:
- Orphic Theogony, fragment 36 Abel
- Arg. Orph. 12ff.
- Stob. Ecl. 1, 4, 4
- Plato, Rep. 10, 617c ff.
- Aeschylus PV 517
- Euripides, Helen 513
- Horace Odes, 1, 35, 17ff.