1. The wife of Alcinous, king of the Phaeacians. In the Odyssey she appears as a noble and active superintendent of the household of her husband, and when Odysseus arrived in the island, he first applied to queen Arete to obtain hospitable reception and protection. (Hom. Od. vi. 310, vii. 65, &c., 142.) Respecting her connexion with the story of Jason and Medeia, see ALCINOUS.

2. The goddess of virtue. In a fable related by Xenophon, she and Cacia (Vice) offered Heracles the choice between a life of valour and one of luxury.

The Choice of Heracles, by Annibale Carracci (1560-1609), Italian Baroque painter

The Choice of Heracles (Cacia and Arete), by Annibale Carracci (1560-1609), Italian Baroque painter