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Nemesis (mythology) facts for kids

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Goddess of retribution
Member of the Oceanids
Statue Nemesis Louvre Ma4873.jpg
Other names Rhamnousia
Venerated in Ancient Greece
Animals goose
Symbol Sword, lash, dagger, measuring rod, scales, bridle
Festivals Nemeseia
Personal information
Consort Zeus
Offspring Helen of Troy
the Telchines
Parents Nyx and Erebus

Nemesis (in Greek, Νέμεσις) is the Greek goddess of giving people what they deserve.

The word nemesis originally meant the distributor of fortune, neither good nor bad, simply in due proportion to each according to what was deserved. In the Greek tragedies Nemesis appears chiefly as the avenger of crime and the punisher of hubris. She was sometimes called Adrasteia, probably meaning "one from whom there is no escape".

Nemesis has wings and is the daughter of Chiron.

As the goddess of proportion and the avenger of crime, she has as attributes a measuring rod (tally stick), a bridle, scales, a sword, and a scourge, and she rides in a chariot drawn by griffins.

Nemesis often is seen with another goddess named Aidos. Aidos is the goddess of shame. She is similar to Nemesis.

The Ancient Greek made different meanings for what they called "justice":

  • Nemesis (as a goddess who gives to each what they deserve)
  • Dike (to be in charge of what we would call civil law today)
  • Dikaiosyne ("a just state," where the word justice comes from, meaning that everything is fair in their country)
  • Nomos (a law made by the government)


The name Nemesis is related to the Greek word νέμειν némein, meaning "to give what is due", from Proto-Indo-European *nem- "distribute".

Local cult

RO HD Sarmizegetusa Nemesis temple
Temple of Nemesis in Ulpia Traiana Sarmizegetusa

A festival called Nemeseia (by some identified with the Genesia) was held at Athens. Its object was to avert the nemesis of the dead, who were supposed to have the power of punishing the living, if their cult had been in any way neglected (Sophocles, Electra, 792; E. Rohde, Psyche, 1907, i. 236, note I).

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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Némesis para niños

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