NEMESIS was the goddess of indignation against, and retribution for, evil deeds and undeserved good fortune. She was a personification of the resentment aroused in men by those who commited crimes with apparent impunity, or who had inordinate good fortune.
Nemesis directed human affairs in such a way as to maintain equilibrium. Her name means she who distributes or deals out. Happiness and unhappiness were measured out by her, care being taken that happiness was not too frequent or too excessive. If this happened, Nemesis could bring about losses and suffering. As one who checked extravagant favours by Tykhe (Tyche) (Fortune), Nemesis was regarded as an avenging or punishing divinity.
In myth Nemesis was particularly concerned with matters of love. She appears as an avenging agent in the stories of Narkissos and Nikaia, whose callous actions brought about the death of their wooers. In some versions of the Trojan War, she was the mother of Helene, and is shown in scenes of her seduction by Paris pointing an accusing finger at the girl.
Nemesis was often sometimes depicted as a winged goddess. Her attributes were apple-branch, rein, lash, sword, or balance. Her name was derived from the Greek words nemêsis and nemô, meaning “dispenser of dues.” The Romans usually used the Greek name of the goddess but sometimes also named her Invidia (Jealousy) and Rivalitas (Jealous Rivalry).