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Nemesis



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Nemesis, avenger of crimes and punisher of wicked doers.  The divinity thus named and adored by the Greeks was also by the Romans held in high respect for the equitable and impartial severity of her chastisements; an altar was consecrated to her in the capitol; and there before setting out for battle, warriors resorted to immolate victims and to make her the offering of a sword. In a philosophic sense, Nemesis was the symbol of Providence, and of the care which the supreme power takes of what happens in this world.

On Roman coins Nemesis has accordingly the same attributes with the Goddess of Peace (Pax).

The Nemeses have often a finger placed on the mouth, to show that it is necessary to be discreet. 

On a medallion of Macrinus, struck at Cyzicus, Nemesis is crowned with towers, because it is the Fortune of Cyzicus.

Nemesis is recognised as having a sister goddess of the same name, though sometimes called Adrastica. The two avenging goddesses appear on Greek medallions of Marcus Aurelius, Antoninus, Severus, and others. - Millin says that these Nemeses are the two Fortunae Antiates, which are seen on a denarius of the Rustia family (see Fortuna and Rustia). Both divinities, principally invoked in treaties of peace, were guarantees for the fidelity of oaths.

The Nemeses of Smyrna, where they had a temple, appear on a brass medallion of Hadrian, standing, the one holding a wheel, the other a sword: each has her right hand lifted to her mouth, with the inscription COS. III.  On a very rare gold coin of the Vibia family, a winged woman stands, holding a robe. This figure Eckhel pronounces to be that of Nemesis, and gives examples of similar types on gold and silver coins of Claudius, in which the same  winged figure of a female is walking, lifting her robe from the bosom towards the face with one hand, and holding a caduceus in the other, a serpent on the ground before her, with the inscription PACI AVGVSTAE.  Also on a silver coin of Hadrian there appears the same type of a woman, only that she holds a branch in her left hand, with VICTORIAE AVG. The former of these Eckhel calls the Nemesis of Peace, the latter the Nemesis of Victory. - [See vol. vi. pp. 237 and 511.]

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