previous next

Nemĕsis

Νέμεσις). A post-Homeric personification of the moral indignation felt at all derangements of the natural equilibrium of things, whether by extraordinarily good fortune or by the arrogance usually attendant thereon. According to Hesiod (Theog. 223) she is the daughter of Night (Nyx), and with Aidos, the goddess of Modesty, left the earth on the advent of the Iron Age. A legend makes her to have been by Zeus the mother of Helen and the Dioscuri (Athen. p. 334). As goddess of due proportion she hates every transgression of the bounds of moderation, and restores the proper and normal order of things. As, in doing this, she punishes wanton boastfulness, she is a divinity of chastisement and vengeance. She enjoyed special honour in the Attic district of Rhamnus (where she was believed to be the daughter of Oceanus), and is often called the Rhamnusian goddess. Her statue there (of which fragments were found in 1890) was said to have been executed by Phidias out of a block of Parian marble which the Persians had brought with them in presumptuous confidence to Marathon, to erect a trophy of victory there. She was also called Adrastia, that name appropriate only to the Phrygian Rhea-Cybelé, being interpreted as a Greek word with the meaning, “She whom none can escape.” She was also worshipped at Rome, especially by victorious generals, and was represented as a meditative, thoughtful maiden with the attributes of proportion and control (a measuring-rod, a bridle, and a yoke), of punishment (a sword and scourge), and of swiftness (wings, a wheel, and a chariot drawn by griffins).

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: