Nemesis has been described as the daughter of Oceanus or Zeus, but according to Hesiod she was a child of Erebus and Nyx. She has also been described as the daughter of Nyx alone. Her cult may have originated at Smyrna.
In some metaphysical mythology, Nemesis produced the egg from which hatched two sets of twins: Helen of Troy and Clytemnestra, and the Dioscuri, Castor and Pollux. While many myths indicate Zeus and Leda to be the parents of Helen of Troy, the author of the compilation of myth called Bibliotheke notes the possibility of Nemesis being the mother of Helen; Nemesis, to avoid Zeus, turns into a goose, but he turns into a swan and mates with her. Nemesis in her bird form lays an egg that is discovered in the marshes by a shepherd, who passes the egg to Leda. It is in this way that Leda comes to be the mother of Helen of Troy, as she kept the egg in a chest until it hatched.
- 1: capitalized : the Greek goddess of retributive justice
- 2: plural nem·e·ses
- a : one that inflicts retribution or vengeance
- b : a formidable and usually victorious rival or opponent
- 3: plural nem·e·ses
- 4: An archenemy, archfoe, archvillain or archnemesis (sometimes spelled arch-enemy, arch-foe, arch-villain or arch-nemesis, originated around the mid-16th century) is the principal enemy of someone or something. In fiction, it is a character who is the hero's worst enemy.
In Greek mythology, Nemesis (Greek, Νέμεσις), also called Rhamnousia/Rhamnusia ("the goddess of Rhamnous") at her sanctuary at Rhamnous, north of Marathon, was the spirit of divine retribution against those who succumb to hubris (arrogance before the gods). Another name was Adrasteia, meaning "the inescapable." The Greeks personified vengeful fate as a remorseless goddess: the goddess of revenge. The name Nemesis is related to the Greek word νέμειν [némein], meaning "to give what is due".