Nemesis, the goddess of Revenge & Divine Retribution
Who was Nemesis?
Nemesis was the Greek goddess of Revenge & Divine Retribution and one of the extraordinary number of gods and goddesses worshipped by the Ancient Greeks. The legend and myth about Nemesis has been passed down through the ages and plays an important role in the history of the Ancient World and the study of the Greek classics. Nemesis was described as a remorseless goddess, intent on her task which was "to give what is due", an avenging or punishing divinity. Her name derives from the Greek words meaning "dispenser of dues." Happiness and unhappiness of mortals were measured out by her. Nemesis believed that no one should ever have too much good took care that happiness was not too excessive. She balanced the excessive favors given by Tyche (Fortune). As the daughter of Nyx and Erebus she resided in the dark underworld with Hecate, the goddess of Magic and her siblings who included the hateful Keres and other lesser gods of Doom (Moros), Old Age (Geras), Death and Sleep (Thanatos and Hypnos), Strife (Eris), and Charon the Ferryman, who were all strongly related to the terrible realm of the Underworld.
Picture of Nemesis
Facts about Nemesis
Nemesis features in the religious beliefs of the ancient Greeks which are based on the idea that these supernatural beings resembled mortals but possessed great magical and mystic powers. The following information, facts and profile provides a fast overview of Nemesis:
Nemesis Profile & Fact File
Greek Name: Nemesis, goddess of revenge
Role & Function: Her function was the goddess of Divine Retribution or revenge and of rightful indignation
Status: Daughter of Nyx and Erebus, a goddess of the dark Underworld
Symbols: The wheel, wings, whip or sword
Siblings: The brothers and sisters of the goddess were Moros, Geras, Thanatos, Hypnos, Eris, Charon & the Keres
Roman Counterpart: The Roman counterpart for Nemesis was Invidia, although this Roman goddess was more strongly associated with envy and the 'evil eye'. Invidia was the patroness of gladiators
Name of Father: Erebus
Name of Mother: Nyx
The Symbols of Nemesis
Each ancient Greek god and goddess were associated with special symbols, animals and attributes. The Symbols of Nemesis helped the ancient Greeks instantly recognize the gods and goddesses that were depicted in their pictures, mosaics, statues and images. Nemesis is depicted as a beautiful, thoughtful woman with a regal bearing, often wearing a crown and holding a rudder, balance, and cubit and seated in a chariot drawn by griffins (a griffin was a mythical creature with the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion, that symbolized wisdom). The symbols of Nemesis were the wheel, wings, whip or sword and their meanings were as follows:
- The rudder, balance, and cubit
- These symbols reflect the emblems of the manner in which Nemesis guided, weighed, and measured all human events and her the ability to steer lives in two directions
- The wheel
- The symbol of the wheel symbolized the rapidity with which Nemesis executed justice and later the wheel of fortune
- The whip or sword
- The symbol of the whip or sword represents the right of Nemesis to "to give what is due"
- Her wings symbolized her role as the avenger of evil gifted with magic and the power of flight