According to Roman mythology, Amata (also called Palanto) was the wife of Latinus, king of the Latins, and the mother of their only child, Lavinia. In the Aeneid of Virgil, she commits suicide during the conflict between Aeneas and Turnus over which of them would marry Lavinia.
|Queen of Latins|
When Aeneas asks for Lavinia's hand, Amata objects, because she has already been promised to Turnus, the king of the Rutulians. Hiding her daughter in the woods, she enlists the other Latin women to instigate a war between the two. Turnus, and his ally Mezentius, leader of the Etruscans, are defeated by Aeneas with the assistance of the Pelasgian colonists from Arcadia and Italic natives of Pallantium, led by that city's founder, the Arcadian Evander of Pallene. The story of this conflict fills the greater part of the seventh book of Virgil's Aeneid. When Amata believes that Turnus had fallen in battle, she hangs herself. The suicide is also referred to in Canto XVII of Purgatorio in Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy to demonstrate dreadful effects of anger.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Smith, William, ed. (1870). "Amata". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.