“You, the all-seeing, watch the lives of multi-tribal people,
You, the honourable, alone are pleased by fair speeches,
Knowing shame, you hate the shaky, untrue word,
Mortal men, the imposers of millstone, tremble at your sight,
People’s thoughts worry you; there is no hiding from you
In the common flow of speeches for a soul imagining too much –
Everything will you see, hear and judge”.
Unknown author II-III AD
Nemesis (ancient Greek) is the goddess of justice, fair revenge, and was one of the most ancient and honoured in Greece. Nemesis controls the fair distribution of welfare between the people (Greek: nemo - “divide”) and brings her wrath (Greek: nemesao – “fairly resenting”) on those who break the law. Depending on people’s deeds, Nemesis granted them fortune or misfortune. However, most of all she had to punish people for their wicked and unfair actions. The most severely punished by the goddess were the ones who, blinded by unexpected luck, get above themselves and behave arrogantly towards the gods. She instantly remembers any injustice and makes revenge unpreventably follow it.
Nemesis could appear in thousands of different images. She was usually portrayed as a thoughtful young woman surrounded by symbols-attributes.
The scales are a symbol of fairness and in this meaning they are associated with justice and embody the understanding of correlation between guilt and punishment.
The sword is the symbol of belligerence, the heroic origin, strength, justice. Like weapon of any other kind, it reflects the symbolism of power. It is also linked with reason, shrewdness, light, truth and wisdom.
The wings stand for the speed of retribution.
The griffon is an unreal mythical beast, half-eagle and half-lion, with a long snake’s tail. It symbolizes domination over two elements of being: land (the lion) and air (the eagle). The image of the griffon united the symbolism of the eagle (swiftness) and the lion (strength, bravery). The combination of two major sun animals indicates the general positive nature of the creature – the griffon embodies the Sun, power, alertness and revenge.
In myths and legends of different cultures the griffon plays the role of the guard. He, like a dragon, guards the ways to salvation. These terrible fast birds were also harnessed into the carriage of Goddess Nemesis, which symbolized the promptness of retribution for sins. Being the embodiment of Nemesis, they turned the wheel of fortune.