For all those who are unlikely to have answers to my questions, I provide some

# Background:

In some sense, pure motives are generalisations of smooth projective varieties. Every Weil cohomology theory factors through the embedding of smooth projective varieties into the category of pure Chow motives.

## Pure effective motives

In the definition of pure motives (say over a field k), the last step is to take the category of pure effective motives and formally invert the Lefschetz motive L.

The category of pure effective motives is the pseudo-abelian envelope of a category of correspondence classes, which has as objects smooth projective varieties over k and as morphisms X → Y cycle classes in X×Y of dimension dim X (think of it as a generalisation of morphisms, where morphisms are included as their graphs), where an adequate equivalence relation is imposed, to have a well-defined composition (therefore the word "classes"). When the adequate relation is rational equivalence, the resulting category is called the category of pure effective Chow motives.

In each step of the construction, the monoidal structure of one step defines a monoidal structure on the next step.

For more background see Ilya's question about the yoga of motives.

## Definition of the Lefschetz motive

The Lefschetz motive L is defined as follows:

For each point p in P¹ (1-dimensional projective space over k), there is the embedding morphism Spec k → P¹, which can be composed with the structural morphism P¹ → Spec k to yield an endomorphism of P¹. This is an idempotent, since the other composition Spec k → Spec k is the identity.

The category of effective pure motives is pseudo-abelian, so every idempotent has a kernel and thus [P¹] = [Spec k] + [something] =: 1+L, where the summand [something] is now named Lefschetz motive L.

## Properties

The definition of L doesn't depend on the choice of the point p.

From nLab and Kahn's leçons I learned that the inversion of the Lefschetz motive is what makes the resulting monoidal category a rigid monoidal category - while the category of pure effective motives is not necessarily rigid.

In the category of pure motives, the inverse $L^{-1}$ is called T, the Tate motive.

# Questions:

These questions are somehow related to each other:

- Why is this motive L called "Lefschetz"?
- Why is its inverse $L^{-1}$ called "Tate"?
- Why is it exactly this construction that "rigidifies" the category?
- Would another construction work, too - or is this somehow universal?
- How should I think of L geometrically?

I have almost no background in number theory, so even if you have good answers, it may remain totally unclear to me, why the name "Tate" intervenes. I expect however, that the name "Lefschetz" has something to do with the Lefschetz trace formula. I guess that the procedure of inverting L is the only one which makes the category rigid, in some universal way, but I have no idea, why. In addition, I guess there is no "geometric" picture of L.

If I made any mistakes in the background section, feel free to edit. As I'm currently taking a first course on motives, I may now have asked something completely stupid. If this is the case, please point me politely to some document which will then enlighten me or, at least, let me ascend to a higher level of confusion.

**UPDATE:** Thanks so far for the answers, questions 1-4 are now clear to me. It remains, if the "rigidification" could be accomplished by another construction - maybe some universal way to turn a monoidal category into a rigid one? Then one could later identify the Lefschetz motive as some kind of a generator of the kernel of the rigidification functor.

The geometric intuition, to think of L as a curve and of $L^{\otimes d}$ as a d-dimensional manifold, remains fuzzy, but I have the hope that this becomes clear when I have worked a little bit on the classical Lefschetz/Poincare theorems and the proof of Weil conjectures for Betti cohomology (is this hope justified?).