I have always known it as the Fates creating a Tapestry of Fate. But an answer to a previous question states that Ovid called it a scroll of fate.

... and he remembered in the scroll of fate, there is a time appointed when...

Is it just Ovid who calls it a scroll? Or is he referencing something apart from the Fates altogether? Several prophetic deities exist. Is Ovid talking about one of their prophecies?

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    When I have some time, I can look into the Latin and Greek words used, and give you an analysis. (I know what you're talking about, but if you can provide citations to the source material, it would expedite the process...)
    – DukeZhou
    Commented May 3, 2018 at 20:49

1 Answer 1


The translation given by DukeZhou is going for good, idiomatic English—but that means literal accuracy has to be sacrificed sometimes. Here's what Ovid wrote:

esse quoque in fatis reminiscitur, adfore tempus,
quo mare, quo tellus correptaque regia caeli
ardeat et mundi moles obsessa laboret.

A very literal translation:

Also, he remembered that there was a time, located in the prophecies, when the sea, when the earth, and the royal court of heaven that had been snatched up, may all catch fire, and the huge, besieged bulk of the world will be in danger.

The time here isn't written on a scroll per se, but in fatīs: in the "fatum"s. Fatum does mean "fate", but its original meaning is "utterance", especially an utterance made by an oracle (it comes from farī, "to say"). So in this case, I'd translate it as "prophecy": this time is recorded in the huge list of things that the augurs and oracles have written down.

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