Thursday 22 October 2009

Nemesis: Goddess of the Week

Archaeologists have just discovered an ancient temple to Nemesis - the Greek goddess of divine retribution - during excavations in Turkey, according to a report on pagan website Pagan Magic. So, it seems fitting to make Nemesis the Bad Witch's Goddess of the Week.

The newly-discovered temple to Nemesis is in the ancient Agora - or marketplace - in central İzmir, on Turkey's Aegean coast. The Agora was first excavated from 1932 to 1941. It was found to be not only a commerce district, but also the location of public institutions and temples. A temple of Zeus was the first religious building to be discovered there and the temple of Nemesis may not be the last - even if she is the goddess who like to get the last word.

Pagan Magic says: "In Greek mythology, Nemesis was the spirit of divine retribution against those who succumb to hubris, vengeful fate, personified as a remorseless goddess."

The website says: "She knows where you are. Don't try to get too clever, too lucky or too rich. Nemesis particularly hates arrogance and offences against the natural order of things."

In antiquity she was often as depicted as a stern-looking woman holding a whip, or sometimes a pair of scales. By Victorian times she was more often seen as a vengeful spirit fuelled by neglect and poverty.

The picture above shows a print of an 1888 picture from the magazine Punch entitled The Nemesis of Neglect. Its description says:

"Crime, armed with a viciously sharp knife, stalks the streets of the capital. This was the day of Jack the Ripper, and fear abounded in the slums. In Punch's view, it was precisely because the slums had for so long been utterly neglected and its people so deprived that evil and depravity was able there to find a home."

These days Nemesis is more popular with fiction writers, movie makers and musicians than with pagans. She has given her name to novels by Bill Napier and Agatha Christie, a Star Trek movie and various musical tracks including Goddess Nemesis by Age of Nemesis and Goddess of Divine Retribution by Extreme Pain. I would add I have no idea what those tracks sound like - I'm not sure my ear drums deserve that kind of punishment :)

The Nemesis of Neglect, 1888. from Heritage-Images
Nemesis (Wheeler Hardcover)
Nemesis: (Miss Marple)
Star Trek: Nemesis [DVD] [2003]
Goddess Nemesis (Instrumental)
Goddess of Divine Retribution

No comments: