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    #1

    By the fates

    Hi all,

    What does "By the fates" mean?

    Context: idiom (i guess) from an early nineteenth-century British figure.
    It is not written with capital "F" as Fates, but fates, and the context is very far from having anything to do with Greeks. I supose it means something related to fortune or destiny:

    By the fates, I have no...

    Any help?
    Thank you

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: By the fates

    Context: idiom (i guess) from an early nineteenth-century British figure.
    Administrators in the British Empire had usually (if not always) had a classical education; they had all studied Latin and many if not all had studied Greek. At home, in the nineteenth century, the only way of holding a position of influence was to have been educated in schools that inculcated a knowledge of classical mythology. So the Greek origin is relevant - even though the user doesn't believe in the Gk mythology.

    (Similarly, someone who doesn't believe in astrology may describe an inevitable thing as 'in the stars'.)

    b

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    #3

    Re: By the fates

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    Administrators in the British Empire had usually (if not always) had a classical education; they had all studied Latin and many if not all had studied Greek. At home, in the nineteenth century, the only way of holding a position of influence was to have been educated in schools that inculcated a knowledge of classical mythology. So the Greek origin is relevant - even though the user doesn't believe in the Gk mythology.

    (Similarly, someone who doesn't believe in astrology may describe an inevitable thing as 'in the stars'.)

    b
    Hi Bobk,
    Thank You for your response. I think you are absolutely right, in fact, this British figure had a Cambridge Bachelor of Arts Degree which of course included Greek and that is the reason I suposed the idiom was related to fortune or destiny, The Fates, and I was not pointing out a lack of relevance of "that" context. I meant the figure was not talking about The Fates themselves or Greek Philosophy/History. He was just speaking of himself and his own future. So, in your view, does it mean it should not be considered an idiom but just an educated nineteenth-century way of speaking about his destiny?

    Thank You so much,
    Regards


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    #4

    Re: By the fates

    Quote Originally Posted by jiho View Post
    Hi Bobk,
    Thank You for your response. I think you are absolutely right, in fact, this British figure had a Cambridge Bachelor of Arts Degree which of course included Greek and that is the reason I suposed the idiom was related to fortune or destiny, The Fates, and I was not pointing out a lack of relevance of "that" context. I meant the figure was not talking about The Fates themselves or Greek Philosophy/History. He was just speaking of himself and his own future. So, in your view, does it mean it should not be considered an idiom but just an educated nineteenth-century way of speaking about his destiny?

    Thank You so much,
    Regards
    It is not just used in the 19th century. It is still used today in a half humourous way sometimes when you feel that your future is out of your control and in the hands of fate.

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    #5

    Re: By the fates

    Quote Originally Posted by Naamplao View Post
    It is not just used in the 19th century. It is still used today in a half humourous way sometimes when you feel that your future is out of your control and in the hands of fate.
    Hi Naamplao,

    Quite clear for me now!

    Thank You both, mates!

    Regards

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