When it comes to thoroughly analyzing the concept we are dealing with, we must first state that it has its etymological origin in an ancient Indo-European root that is nem or nom. It can be stated that it is translated as “allocate, distribute.” It is also important to underline the fact that at the beginning it was linked to what equitable justice was.

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The idea of ​​nemesis can be used to refer to an enemy or rival.

The term in mythology

The term nemesis is not contemplated as content by the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE), but it is not an invented word. If one inquires into Greek mythology, it will not take long to discover that Nemesis is the name that identifies the goddess of revenge, fortune and retributive justice. He was in charge of applying a punishment to those who did not obey (for example, to children who did not respect the orders of their parents).

Nemesisreportedly sanctioned excesses and did not allow mens they were too lucky. In her intention to safeguard the universal balance, the goddess could bring about the ruin of those who had been favored by fortune. He was also in charge of avenging unhappy lovers for their partner’s perjury.

To Hesiod, this goddess was the daughter of Erebus Y Nix (darkness and night). As a primordial deity, Nemesis it was not subject to the dictates of the Olympian gods.


It is common for the concept of nemesis to be linked to the notion of rivalry or opposition.

Envy is the name of the Roman goddess who acts as the equivalent of this goddess Nemesis who has been venerated by many peoples and cultures throughout the centuries. Thus, for example, the Egyptians as well as the Babylonians or the Persians worshiped him.

Artists of all time have represented Nemesis with a crown and, sometimes, with a veil that does not allow to appreciate his face completely. A daffodil flower, an apple tree branch, a wheel and a deer antler are other elements that are usually included in their representations due to various symbolisms.

Nemesis as enemy

It should also be noted that, on certain occasions, nemesis is often used as a synonym for enemy. This use comes from the desire that an individual may have to exact revenge against his enemy, just as the goddess Nemesis would do to administer retributive justice.

For instance: “The Joker is Batman’s nemesis”, “This man, once again, had to face his nemesis”.

The concept in literature

Works by authors such as Christie Agatha, Isaac asimov, Max hastings Y Louise cooper have been baptized as “Nemesis”.

In the case of the first cited writer, considered the great lady of suspense, we can establish that said novel revolves around the death of the millionaire Mr. Rafiel. A character who before dying leaves a commission, through a letter, to one of the most emblematic characters created by Christie: Miss Marple. Specifically, he asks her to solve a murder having as the only clue the word that gives this book its title.

A theme, that of the aforementioned narrative work, which has nothing to do with the one addressed in the publication of the same title by Asimov. The latter is part of the science fiction genre and is set in the year 2236, a time when men live in an anarchic, overpopulated and degenerate society. For this reason, when they discover the star Nemesis, it will be considered that it is the salvation for the human being.