Photo Caption: So grateful for the life we’ve created these past 26 years. I pray that Nona wove our threads of hemp and titanium, that Decima wove a long thread for us both dotted with many beads of rubies and rose quartz, and that Morta approves of what we have created.

Roman Courtship:
Sir William Ernest Reynolds-Stephens
British, 1862-1943
Oil on canvas; c. 1900
(Details and interpretations by Willem van Osnabrugge)

Subject:
In Roman mythology, the Parcae were the personifications of destiny, often called The Fates in English. Their Greek equivalent were the Moirae.

They controlled the metaphorical thread of life of every mortal and immortal from birth to death. Even the gods feared the Parcae. Jupiter also was subject to their power.

The names of the three Parcae were:

Nona (Greek equivalent Clotho), also known as the Spinner. It is she who spins the thread of human life out of some indescribable material taken from the Void. It was said only she can travel into the Void to obtain this material of life.

Decima (Greek Lachesis), also known as the Apportioner. She determines the lengths of the threads of life and weaves these threads into a pattern, which controls the events of human life. Decima controls the interaction of humans with each other, all depending upon how she weaves her tapestry.

Morta (Greek Atropos), is the fate who cuts the thread or web of life. She is known as the “Inflexible” or “Inevitable”, cutting the threads with the “abhorred shears”, ending a mortal’s existence and choosing the manner of death. Some said that she could overrule Decima’s life length and “cut a life short”.

Many mortals prayed to the Fates in hopes of getting on their good side and not having their life ended and to ensure a good harvest, marriage or child birth.

Painting:
A young couple rest on a bench. She has put her head on his shoulder and he has taken her hand. They have made an (incense) offering to the Gods to ask for their blessing of this romance.

We see Morta holding the threads of their life in her hands. The beads holding together the threads are Decima’s incremental measurements of their life span.
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