MOROS was the spirit (daimon) of doom. He was the force which drove a man towards his fate. In a sense he was also the spirit of depression. Aeschylus describes how Prometheus saved mankind from the misery of seeing their doom (moros) with the gift of hope (elpis). Moros' siblings Thanatos and Ker represented the physical aspects of death--Ker was the bringer of violent death and killing sickness, while Thanatos represented a peaceful, passing away.
[1.1] NYX (no father) (Hesiod Theogony 211)
[1.2] EREBOS & NYX (Hyginus Preface, Cicero De Natura Deorum 3.17)
Hesiod, Theogony 211 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
"And Nyx (Night) bare hateful Moros (Doom) and black Ker (Violent Death) and Thanatos (Death), and she bare Hypnos (Sleep) and the tribe of Oneiroi (Dreams). And again the goddess murky Nyx, though she lay with none, bare Momos (Blame) and painful Oizys (Misery), and the Hesperides . . . Also she bare the Moirai (Fates) and the ruthless avenging Keres (Death-Fates) . . . Also deadly Nyx bare Nemesis (Envy) to afflict mortal men, and after her, Apate (Deceit) and Philotes (Friendship) and hateful Geras (Old Age) and hard-hearted Eris (Strife)."
Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound 250 ff (trans. Weir Smyth) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"Prometheus: Yes, I caused mortals to cease foreseeing their doom (moros).
Chorus: Of what sort was the cure that you found for this affliction?
Prometheus: I caused blind hopes (elpides) to dwell within their breasts.
Chorus: A great benefit was this you gave to mortals."
[N.B. This is presumably a reference to Pandora's jar, a curse concocted by Zeus to punish mankind for the theft of fire. Prometheus seems to be saying that he was the one who stayed Hope inside the jar, when the other evils escaped.]
Aeschylus, Suppliant Women 412 ff :
"Nor yet might we surrender you from these seats of sanctuary [i.e. the Argives do not dare surrender suppliants seeking refuge at their altars into the hands of their enemies], and bring upon ourselves the dire, abiding vengeance of the all-destroying god (theos panôlethros) [i.e. Olethros, spirit of doom], who, even in Haides (the realm of the dead), does not set his victim free."
Aeschylus, Fragment 199 (from Plutarch, Life and Poety of Homer 157) (trans. Weir Smyth) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"A man dies not for the many wounds that pierce his breast, unless it be that life’s end keep pace with death, nor by sitting on his hearth at home doth he the more escape his appointed doom (peprômenon moros)."
[N.B. Moros is not personified in this passage, but the quote gives a clear picture of what the Greeks meant by the concept.]
Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 8. 324 ff (trans. Way) (Greek epic C4th A.D.) :
"So man to man dealt death; and joyed the Keres (Fates) and Moros (Doom), and fell Eris (Strife) in her maddened glee shouted aloud, and Ares terribly shouted in answer, and with courage thrilled the Trojans, and with panic fear the Greek."
Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy 2. 480 ff :
"Sore distressed with dust and deadly conflict were the folk. Then with a sudden hand some Blessed One swept the dust-pall aside; and the Gods saw the deadly Keres (Fates) hurling the charging lines together, in the unending wrestle locked of that grim conflict, saw where never ceased Ares from hideous slaughter, saw the earth crimsoned all round with rushing streams of blood, saw where dark Olethros (Destruction) gloated o'er the scene."
Pseudo-Hyginus, Preface (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"From Nox (Night) and Erebus [were born] : Fatum (Fate) [i.e. Moros], Senectus (Old Age) [Geras], Mors (Death), Letum (Dissolution), Continentia (Moderation), Somnus (Sleep), Somnia (Dreams), Amor (Love)--that is Lysimeles, Epiphron (Prudence), Porphyrion, Epaphus, Discordia (Discord), Miseria (Misery), Petulantia (Wantonness), Nemesis (Envy), Euphrosyne (Good Cheer), Amicitia (Friendship), Misericordia (Compassion), Styx (Hatred); the three Parcae (Fates), namely Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos; the Hesperides."
Cicero, De Natura Deorum 3. 17 (trans. Rackham) (Roman rhetorician C1st B.C.) :
"Their [Aether and Hemera's] brothers and sisters, whom the ancient genealogists name Amor (Love), Dolus (Guile), Metus (Fear), Labor (Toil), Invidentia (Envy), Fatum (Fate) [i.e. Moros], Senectus (Old Age), Mors (Death), Tenebrae (Darkness) [i.e. the Keres], Miseria (Misery), Querella (Complaint), Gratia (Favour), Fraus (Fraud), Pertinacia (Obstinacy), the Parcae (Fates), the Hesperides, the Somnia (Dreams): all of these are fabled to be the children of Erebus (Darkness) and Nox (Night)."
- Hesiod, Theogony - Greek Epic C8th-7th B.C.
- Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound - Greek Tragedy C5th B.C.
- Aeschylus, Suppliant Women - Greek Tragedy C5th B.C.
- Aeschylus, Fragments - Greek Tragedy C5th B.C.
- Quintus Smyrnaeus, Fall of Troy - Greek Epic C4th A.D.
- Hyginus, Fabulae - Latin Mythography C2nd A.D.
- Cicero, De Natura Deorum - Latin Rhetoric C1st B.C.