Who Is the Goddess Nemesis?

In Greek Mythology, Nemesis is the goddess of divine retribution against those who violate sacred law or show arrogance before the gods. She is also sometimes called by the name Adrasteia, which means “one from whom there is no escape.”

In her role as the punisher of hubris, it is Nemesis who lures the vain Narcissus to the pool in which he sees his own reflection for the first time and falls in love it. Refusing to part with the beautiful image before him, Narcissus eventually dies of hunger. In some stories, Nemesis is indicated as being the daughter of Oceanus or Zeus. According to the poet Hesiod, however, she is the offspring of Nyx, the goddess of night, and sister to the Fates and the Keres.

In art, Nemesis is often depicted as a beautiful woman holding a measuring rod, a bridle, a sword or a scourge, and riding in a chariot drawn by griffins. Nemesis was worshipped throughout Greece, particularly during the Athenian festival of Nemeseia, a celebration intended to stave off the retribution of the dead. The cult of Nemesis also spread to Rome, where she was honored by victorious generals, as well as gladiators who fought in the arena