Humanities › History & Culture Nemesis The Goddess of Divine Retribution in Greek Mythology Share Flipboard Email Print Getty Images / clu History & Culture Ancient History and Culture Mythology & Religion Figures & Events Ancient Languages Greece Egypt Asia Rome American History African American History African History Asian History European History Genealogy Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By N.S. Gill Ancient History and Latin Expert M.A., Linguistics, University of Minnesota B.A., Latin, University of Minnesota N.S. Gill is a Latinist, writer, and teacher of ancient history and Latin. She has been featured by NPR and National Geographic for her ancient history expertise. our editorial process N.S. Gill Updated March 08, 2017 Definition Nemesis is the goddess of divine retribution who punishes excessive pride, undeserved happiness, and the absence of moderation. Nemesis Rhamnusia was honored with a sanctuary at Rhamnus in Attica from the 5th Century; thus, Nemesis is a cult goddess, but she is also a personification of the Greek noun nemesis 'distribution of what is due' from the verb nemo 'apportion'. She is "responsible for the vicissitudes of mortal life" and is associated with similar chthonic figures, the Moirai 'Fates' and Erinyes 'Furies'. [Source: "The Hyperboreans and Nemesis in Pindar's 'Tenth Pythian.'" by Christopher G. Brown. Phoenix, Vol. 46, No. 2 (Summer, 1992), pp. 95-107.] Nemesis' parents are either Nyx (Night) alone, Erebos and Nyx, or Ocean and Tethys. [See The First Gods.] Sometimes Nemesis is the daughter of Dike. With Dike and Themis, Nemesis helps Zeus in the administration of justice. Bacchylides says the 4 Telkhines, Aktaios, Megalesios, Ormenos, and Lykos, are Nemesis' children with Tartaros. She is sometimes considered the mother of Helen or of the Dioscuri, whom she hatched from an egg. Despite this, Nemesis is often treated as a virgin goddess. Sometimes Nemesis is similar to Aphrodite. "Providence as a Successor to Nemesis, by Eugene S. McCartney (The Classical Weekly, Vol. 25, No. 6 (Nov. 16, 1931), p. 47) suggests that the Christian concept of Providence is a successor of Nemesis. Go to Other Ancient / Classical History Glossary pages beginning with the letter a | b | c | d | e | f | g | h | i | j | k | l | m | n | o | p | q | r | s | t | u | v | wxyz Also Known As: Ikhnaiê, Adrêsteia, Rhamnousia Common Misspellings: Nemisis Examples In the story of Narcissus, the goddess Nemesis is invoked to punish Narcissus for his frankly narcissistic behavior. Nemesis obliges by causing Narcissus to fall hopelessly in love with himself.