There was a political aspect to the figure of Goddess Nemesis; that she was also used as an avenger of political enemies, notably the Persian invaders.  The cult statue by the Greek sculptor Pheidia described above was made out of a block of Parian marble brought toMarathonby the Persians, who had planned to use it in the construction of their anticipated victory monument.  A statue of Goddess Nemesis was sculpted out of this block of marble about sixty years after the battle ofMarathonand after the defeat of the Persians.  The creation of the statue, and also the temple to Nemesis at Rhamnous, coincided with the emergence of Athenian retribution against enemies past and present at the outset of the Peloponnesian War.  By the fifth century BC Goddess Nemesis had also come to represent retribution warranted by righteous indignation against political or military enemies, such as the punishment the Persians received at the hands of the Greeks atMarathon.

Also, Goddess Nemesis’s depiction as Helen of Troy’s mother has a political dimension.  Many Greek writers used the tale of Helen, and the whole story of the Trojan wars, as teaching a moral lesson.  The Trojan myth was a symbol of victory over the Persians and in the context of the story of Helen, Nemesis is the avenger of political as well as personal indignation.  The base of the cult statue of Nemesis at Rhamnous described by Pausania illustrated part of this myth.  One of the central scenes depicted Leda bringing Helen to Nemesis at or after the Trojan War.

A related story, also with a political purpose, is shown on a vase of the Heimarmene Painter c.430-420 B.C., now inBerlin.  On this Goddess Nemesis is shown in a scene in which Peitho consoles and persuades Helen, who is seated in Aphrodite’s lap, moments before her abduction by Paris.  Goddess Nemesis stands at the far left alongside another figure, perhaps Eukleia, pointing an accusing finger at Helen, Paris and their persuaders.  She simultaneously points to Helen’s Destiny, embodied in the figure of Heimarmene.  The role of Nemesis depicted on the vase is clearly allegorical and political.

 

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