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Nemesis, claiming back her due. 7008: Statua della dea Nemesi. Replica d'età antonina del II sec. d.C. da originale greco del 430 a.C. circa. National Archaeological Museum, Naples.

"Revenge pursues a person. All things run against. No disgrace comes alone. Some meet resistance in whatever they do; for others everything goes right although they are dumb.
Whole families fall into misery. The children are taught but they do the opposite. They must rush to their misfortune. Heaven and earth cannot help, cannot advise.
Many felt ill at ease always after a certain day when everything started to go wrong. The first nine years of the reign of Carl XII were fortunate; then nine were unfortunate.
One misfortune comes after the other. Wherever one turns, whatever one undertakes, it is ruined. Another sits on his wish-chair.
When God begins to settle accounts with us, one dies after the other. No disgrace alone. Houses are burnt out, everything is destroyed. Now has God's revenge fallen upon that house. No one is happy before death, not even Croesus [...]
The unfortunate are born from evil parents. Where the pigs have sinned, the piglets must suffer. I have never seen the righteous nor his seed search for bread.
Misfortune pursues a human wherever he goes.
Everything was ill-fated for me while I intended to take revenge, but I changed my mind and left everything in God's hands. After that everything was propitious."
(From Nemesis Divina by Carl von Linné (Linnaeus), 1734. Translated by Carlos Parada from Carl von Linné i urval av Björn Julén, Aldus klassiker, Stockholm 1962).

Nemesis, the messenger of Justice, is Retribution or Divine Vengeance, and the one who established the decree that transfers the soul from body to body. Therefore she is feared; but some artists, being persuaded that Nemesis manifests herself as a consequence of love, have given wings to Nemesis as they do to Love, who also appears winged.

This goddess is implacable to men of violence, but she is best known for deeply disliking the absence of moderation, and for being zealous in re-establishing order and proportion through the punishment of excesses of pride and undeserved happiness. Nemesis puts to sleep presumptuous boasting and checks offensive words, exacting a heavy penalty for them. Accordingly, those who, feeling the nearness of Fortune, abuse others, are sooner or later fated to meet Nemesis, when Fortune, who ignores constancy, has departed.

Not long from Marathon, where the mighty Persian army was defeated by the Athenians in historical times (490 BC), there was a sanctuary and statue of Nemesis. It is told that the Persians' pride was such that they believed that nothing stood in the way of their taking Athens. Accordingly, they brought a piece of Parian marble to make a trophy to celebrate their victory, being persuaded that their task was already accomplished. But as it happened, they met defeat, and of this same piece of marble, the Athenian sculptor Phidias made a statue of Nemesis, the goddess who punishes the proud.

It is told that when Zeus attempted to consort with Nemesis, she changed into a fish and other dread creatures in order to escape him. But when she turned into a goose, the god, turning himself into a swan, consorted with her. As the fruit of their love, she laid an egg that was found by a shepherd who in turn gave it to Leda. From this egg, Helen (the curse of both Achaeans and Trojans) was hatched in due time, being brought up as Leda's daughter.


Parentage (two versions)




Nyx.- (by herself)

Oceanus & Tethys.



Apd.3.10.7; CYP.8; Eur.Rhe.342; Hes.The.223; Nonn.16.264, 48.375; Pau.1.33.3; Phil.VA.8.7.