From Alcestis, by Euripides
Chorus (regarding the inevitability and necessity of the death of
Alcestis, the wife of Admetus.
I have sojourned in the Muse's land,
Have wandered with the wandering star,
Seeking for strength, and in my hand
Held all philosophies that are;
Yet nothing could I hear nor see
Stronger than That Which Needs Must Be.
No Orphic rune,* no Thracian scroll,
Hath magic to avert the morrow;
No healing all those medicines brave
Apollo to the Asclepiad gave;
Pale herbs of comfort in the bowl
Of man's wide sorrow.
She hath no temple, she alone,
Nor image where a man may kneel;
No blood upon her altar-stone
Crying shall make her hear nor feel.
I know thy greatness; come not great
Beyond my dreams, O Power of Fate!
Aye, Zeus himself shall not unclose
His purpose save by thy decerning.
The chain of iron, the Scythian sword,
It yields and shivers at thy word;
Thy heart is as the rock, and knows
No ruth, nor turning.
*That which Needs Must Be. --Ananke or Necessity.-- Orphic rune. --The charms inscribed by Orpheus on certain tablets in Thrace. Orphic literature and worship had a strong magical element in them.
The Protogenos of inevitability, compulsion and necessity and the personification of destiny, unalterable necessity and fate. She was also the mother of Adrasteia and of the Moirae. She was rarely worshipped until the creation of the Orphic mystery religion. In Roman mythology, she was called Necessitas ("necessity").
From Herodotus, The History Book Eight
To his declaration, “that the money must needs be paid, as the Athenians had brought with him two mighty gods—Persuasion and Necessity,” they made reply, that “Athens might well be a great and glorious city, since she was blest with such excellent gods; but they were wretchedly poor, stinted for land, and cursed with two unprofitable gods, who always dwelt with them and would never quit their island—to wit, Poverty and Helplessness. These were the gods of the Andrians, and therefore they would not pay the money. For the power of Athens could not possibly be stronger than their inability.” This reply, coupled with the refusal to pay the sum required, caused their city to be besieged by the Greeks.
From The Symposium by Plato: Agathon to Phaedrus:
"Also the melody of the Muses, the metallurgy of Hephaestus, the weaving of Athene, the empire of Zeus over gods and men, are all due to Love, who was the inventor of them. And so Love set in order the empire of the gods—the love of beauty, as is evident, for with deformity Love has no concern. In the days of old, as I began by saying, dreadful deeds were done among the gods, for they were ruled by Necessity; but now since the birth of Love, and from the Love of the beautiful, has sprung every good in heaven and earth.
From The Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism
Of course, the more the idea of fatalism imposed itself and spread, the more the weight of this hopeless theory oppressed the consciousness. Man felt himself dominated and crushed by blind forces that dragged him on as irresistibly as they kept the celestial spheres in motion. His soul tried to escape the oppression of this cosmic mechanism, and to leave the slavery of Ananke. But he no longer had confidence in the ceremonies of his old religion. The new powers that had taken possession of heaven had to be propitiated by new means. The Oriental religions themselves offered a remedy against the evils they had created, and taught powerful and mysterious processes for conjuring fate. And side by side with astrology we see magic, a more pernicious aberration, gaining ground.
From Dialogues of Plato. The Republic. Book X
From Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology
On the eighth day the souls of the pilgrims resumed their journey, and in four days came to a spot whence they looked down upon a line of light, in colour like a rainbow, only brighter and clearer. One day more brought them to the place, and they saw that this was the column of light which binds together the whole universe. The ends of the column were fastened to heaven, and from them hung the distaff of Necessity, on which all the heavenly bodies turned—the hook and spindle were of adamant, and the whorl of a mixed substance. The whorl was in form like a number of boxes fitting into one another with their edges turned upwards, making together a single whorl which was pierced by the spindle.