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in Greek tradition, son of Neleus, brother of Nestor, slain by Herakles. The name is perhaps literally "not to forget," from privative prefix a- "not" + root of lathein "to forget" (see Lethe), hence its use figuratively in sense of "an avenging spirit." Or else it might be connected with alaomai "to wander, roam," figuratively "to be distraught."
any of certain avenging deities or spirits, especially in Greek antiquity. The term is associated with Nemesis, the goddess of divine retribution who signified the gods' disapproval of human presumption. Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem Alastor; or, The Spirit of Solitude (1816) was a visionary work in which he warned idealists (like himself) not to abandon "sweet human love" and social improvement for the vain pursuit of evanescent dreams. It describes the early wanderings of such an idealist, his search for ideal love, and his eventual lonely death.