Top 10 Curious Facts about Nemesis

Greek Mythology has a huge hierarchy to rank the gods and goddesses. From Primordial deities to Chthonic deities each has distinct roles and power. 

Greek goddesses, especially, are characterized by emotions and household activities except only a few. They are good archetypal figures because of their exaggerated personalities.

These goddesses were immortal and showed similarities to modern-day superheroes. But they’re still plagued with personal flaws and negative emotions. 

Their negative emotions harmed several lives of gods and mortals. Sometimes, they ended up in their own life because of poetic justice. 

Unlike traditional deities, there was a goddess who gave pain as a divine duty. She was Nemesis. You may have heard her name, perhaps from a video game. 

The title character is very popular in the gaming communities. Before you jump into a maze of queries, let’s learn the quick, curious facts about Goddess Nemesis.  

10. Nemesis was the Greek goddess of balance, retribution, and vengeance.

Goddess of balance - Nemesis
Goddess of balance – Nemesis

Nemesis was the Greek deity who was assigned to direct human affairs in such a way as to maintain equilibrium. Her name meant “to give what is due” or the person who distributes or deals out. 

She measured happiness and sorrow in her balance, so she was called the goddess of balance. If a person would have happiness frequently, Nemesis could bring about losses and suffering. 

Nemesis was regarded as the goddess of retribution. Retribution is the supernatural or divine punishment of a person, a group of people, or everyone by a deity in response to some actions. 

She enacted her divine justice against those who showed arrogance against the gods. Her anger happened to those who performed evil deeds and had an undeserved good fortune.

She had a special power from the supreme gods to make people realize that they couldn’t be above gods. To give them a good lesson, she punished those who did wrong to others. 

The punishment was also compensation to the victims. She avenged wrongdoers who mistreated people and boasted of themselves. So, she was also called the goddess of vengeance. 

In Greek Tragedies, Nemesis is presented as the avenger of crime and the punisher of hubris. Thus, she is akin to Atë and the Erinyes. 

Sometimes she was called “Adrasteia,” suggesting “inescapable.” Her images resemble other goddesses, such as Cybele, Rhea, Demeter, and Artemis.

9. Nemesis was the daughter of Nyx with no father.

Nemesis and Nyx
Nemesis and Nyx

Nemesis’s character was quite interesting with her birth. She’s the daughter of Nyx, who was the goddess of night. Many historians claim that she was born without the help of a male. According to Hesiod, She was the daughter of Nyx alone.

But again, there is another group of historians who believe that Nemesis had a father. The claims vary from historians to historians. Most of them think that Nemesis was the daughter of either Oceanus or Zeus. 

But according to Hyginus, she was born to Erebus, the God of Darkness and Nyx. Anyway, it becomes common that Nemesis was the daughter of Nyx.

Besides, she afflicts the Moirai (the Fates) and the Keres (Black Fates). As the daughter of Nyx, she also had her sisters, such as the Oneiroi (Dreams), Eris (Discord), and Apate (Deception).

8. Zeus had raped Nemesis in the guise.

Nemesis and Zeus
Nemesis and Zeus

Zeus was all-powerful and had endless marital affairs. Nemesis was also one of his one-time affairs. 

After observing the lustful beauty of Nemesis, Zeus pursued her. She disguised herself into a goose to escape him. But Zeus was determined to find her anyway.

At last, he transformed himself into a swan and impregnated her. Thus, she laid two eggs. When a shepherd found the eggs, he forwarded them to Leda. 

Leda kept the eggs on her chest until they were hatched. Each egg contained a set of twins. Among these eggs, Helen of Troy, the most beautiful lady for whom the Trojan War happened, was born. 

By this fact, Nemesis was the birth mother of Helen. But some other facts also claim that Helen was the daughter of Zeus and Leda.

7. Nemesis had punished Narcissus, who boasted of his beauty.

Nemesis and Narcissus
Nemesis and Narcissus

Greek Mythology has several stories and myths related to the vengeance of Nemesis. Once there was Narcissus, a hunter from Thespiae in Boeotia who was known for his beauty. 

Narcissus was born to the god of the river Cephissus and nymph Liriope. One day, he was walking in the woods and soon realized that someone was following him.

When he asked, he was returned with a tease, “who was there.” It was Echo, a mountain nymph, who saw him and instantly fell in love with him. She soon revealed her identity and tried to embrace him. 

But he stepped away and told her not to follow him. Echo, left heartbroken, spent the rest of her life in lonely glens. Thus, she became only a sound for others.

When Nemesis knew the story, she decided to punish Narcissus. Once, he was thirsty after hunting in the summer. The goddess lured him to the pool, where he saw his own reflection on the water.

He unknowingly developed a deep love for his own image. When he found he couldn’t leave his reflection, he starved to death there and turned into a gold and white flower.

6. Nemesis’s sacred attributes were a sword, lash, dagger, measuring rod, scales, bridle.

A painting of Nemesis with her attributes sword
A painting of Nemesis with her attributes sword

Nemesis was the goddess who measured the portion of happiness and sorrow or fortune and catastrophe. To do her duty, she used a measuring rod and scales.

On one side, she kept the happiness and sorrow on the other. If anyone were extremely happy, she would come with her balance to weigh their fate. So, most people were angered and feared her.

Nemesis was the agent of justice to distribute people equal fate. Whoever did wrong should reap the same. She also weighed humans’ crimes and punished them accordingly. 

Besides, she used her bridle to direct or restrain the wrong deeds or sins of mortals. As her name suggested, no one could escape from her. 

She has other weapons such as a sword, lashes, and dagger. She used these tools to punish mortals according to their acts. 

5. Nemesis is often depicted as a winged goddess with a sword and scales.

Painting of Nemesis
Painting of Nemesis

Nemesis is often pictured as the figure having wings like a bird. She has white and big wings to let her fly in the sky. This way, she could be omniscient and see everybody.

The wings also let her chase the mortals so that nobody could escape from her. 

Besides, she is depicted as the goddess having a balance in her left hand and sword in her right hand. She has balance before her head left up and a sword at her bottom. 

Unlike the nude figures, Nemesis is fully covered with cloth from the upper to the bottom in the picture. She is in her drap sometimes with white and another blue.

She is sometimes seen as the figure flying in the sky with the wheel in her left hand and sword in the right.

4. Nemesis’s counterpart is Invidia in Roman Mythology.

Nemesis and Invidia
Nemesis and Invidia

Nemesis was compared with Invidia, who was associated with envy or jealousy in Roman Mythology. In Latin, Nemesis is meant “looking upon.” She was believed to have an evil eye.

Envy and the evil eye are the attributes of witches who bring about mortals’ downfall. In Roman literature in the ancient period, witches or black magic of Invidia were averted with rituals and chants. 

Once, the Roman general was celebrating his victory. And suddenly, he was attacked by Invidia. To ward off Invidia, the Vestal Virgins came and threw a “fascinus” under the chariot.

Nemesis also has her equivalent in other mythologies. In Hinduism, God Shani is also associated with an inescapable force of someone’s downfall. 

He was the god of Karma, Divine Retribution, and Justice. His duty was to deliver results to mortals, depending upon their thoughts, speech, and deeds.

He refers to the planet Saturn by his name. His favorite day was Saturday, and his favorite color was black. He had a crow as a transportation animal for him. 

Besides, his weapons were Sceptre, trident, and ax. According to Hindu Mythology, Shani had two wives, Manda and Neelima. And his children were Maandi and Kuligna. 

3. Nemesis was angered by Naiad nymph Nicaea.

Nemesis and Naiad Nymph Nicaea
Nemesis and Naiad Nymph Nicaea

Nemesis particularly fell in the matter of love like the above relation of Narcissus and Echo. She always took the side of the heartbroken lovers and avenged those who rejected them. 

Once there was a Naiad nymph, Nicaea. She lived in the springs or fountain of the Greek colony of Nikaia in Bithynia. She was the daughter of Sangarius, a river god, and Cybele.

Because of the nymph’s beauty, a shepherd named Hymen fell for her. He expressed his love and began to pursue her. As Nicaea was the devotee of Artemis, she was a huntress and wanted to remain chaste.

When the shepherd didn’t stop following her, she killed him with her arrow. It angered Eros, who was the god of love and sex. He appealed to Nemesis for justice.

When the goddess learned of the incident, she made a plan to punish Nicaea. For that, she took help from Hypnos and Dionysus. Hypnos, who was the god of sleep, drove the nymph into slumber. 

Then, Dionysus, the god of wine, raped her. With this union, she was conceived with Telete. It is believed that she had committed suicide after giving birth. Later, Dionysus named the city Nicaea in her memory.

2. Nemeseia was a festival dedicated to Nemesis.

Nemeseia – a festival dedicated to Nemesis

Nemesis was also called the goddess of Rhamnous. It was a district in northeastern Attica, where the goddess was honored and placated in an archaic sanctuary.

According to Greek traveler Pausanias, the iconic statue of Nemesis was there in the sanctuary. There she had been made the daughter of Oceanus. The statue featured a crown of stags and little Nikes.

People feared their downfalls, so they tried to make the goddess happy. They believed that they could bring their catastrophe if the goddess’ cult were ignored. 

For this, they held a festival, Nemeseia, after her name. It happened in Athens. But the details about her particular temple were not known.

1. Nemesis had taken out an eye of her own son.

Greek goddess Nemesis
Greek goddess Nemesis

Nemesis was often described as a childless goddess. But the birth associated with Helen has proved it wrong. Besides Helen, she also had other offsprings. They were the Telchines.

They were born in the union with Tartarus, who was Titan. Famous in Crete and Cyprus, the Telchines were original habitants of the island of Rhodes.

They came from Crete to Cyprus and from thence to Rhodes. There they became the cultivator of the soil and ministers of the gods. Three towns of Cameirus, Ialysos, and Lindos were their capitals. 

In these three towns, Telchines’ children were worshiped as gods. Later they abandoned their home as they foresaw that the island could disappear in flood. So, they scattered in different directions.

In a different version, Nemesis was the mother of Ethan Nakamura. He was born with the union of Mr. Nakamura, a mortal. As a Titan, he had joined Titan Army during the Second Olympic War. 

Earlier, Nemesis didn’t claim him as her son. Because of it, he remained unrecognized. To get his fame, he entered Titan Army, but he betrayed them. Later he was killed by Cronus.

Before that, Ethan met her mother, Nemesis. She had promised that one day, he would balance the world’s power. And it would be done in exchange for his left eye. So, she plucked up his left eye, and there he wore an eye patch over it.

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Conclusion

It is all webbed relations among Greek deities from Primordial deities to twelve Olympians. The predated goddess can be mated with Zeus, who is far behind the ages. Interesting!

Anyway Nemesis was the stronger and powerful deity who could bring about others’ downfall. After these above ten facts, I feel excited to learn more about her hidden children. Let me know what you think of her in the comment section. 

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