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On this page: Nemesis – Nemesius

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NEMESIS.

in a volume containing also the poem of Gratius Faliscus upon hunting, and a bucolic ascribed to Nemesianus. It will be found along with the lines De Aucupio^ in the Poetae Latini Minores of Burmann, 4to. Lug. Bat. 1731, vol. i. pp. 317, 453, and of Wernsdorf, 8vo. Altenb. 1780, vol. i. pp. 3, 123. The best edition is that of Stern, entitled "Gratii Falisci et Olympii Nemesiani carmina venatica cum duobus fragmentis De Au- cupio," 8vo. Hal. Sax. 1832. There is a trans­ lation into French by M. S. Delatour, 18mo. Paris, 1799. [W.R.]

NEMESIS (Ne^etm), is most commonly de­scribed as a daughter of Night, though some call her a daughter of Erebus (Hygin. Fab. praef.) or of Oceanus (Tzetz. ad Lye. 88 ; Paus. i. 33. § 3, vii. 5. § 1). Nemesis is a personification of the moral reverence for law, of the natural fear of com­mitting a culpable action, and hence of conscience, and for this reason she is mentioned along with At'&ws, i. e. Shame (Hes. Theog. 223, Op. et D. 183). In later writers, as Herodotus and Pindar, Nemesis is a kind of fatal divinity, for she directs human affairs in such a manner as to restore the right proportions or equilibrium wherever it has been disturbed ; she measures out happiness and unhappiness, and he who is blessed with too many or too frequent gifts of fortune, is visited by her with losses and sufferings, in order that he may be­come humble, and feel that there are bounds beyond which human happiness cannot proceed with safet}r. This notion arose from a belief that the gods were envious of excessive human happiness (Herod, i. 34, iii. 40 ; Pind. Ol. viii. in fin., Pyili. x. 67). Nemesis was thus a check upon extravagant favours conferred upon man by Tyche or Fortune, and from this idea lastly arose that of her being an avenging and punishing power of fate, who, like Dike and the Erinyes, sooner or later overtakes the reckless sinner (Apollon. Rhod. iv. 1043 ; Sophocl. PMloct. 518; Eurip. Orest. 1362; Catull. 50, in fin.; Orph. Hymn. 60). The inhabitants of Smyrna worshipped two Nemeses, both of whom were daughters of Night (Paus. vii. 5. § 1). She is frequently mentioned under the surnames Adrasteia [adrasteia, No. 2] and Rhamnusia or Rham-nusis, the latter of which she derived from the town of Rhamnus in Attica, where she had a celebrated sanctuary (Paus. i. 33. § 2). Besides the places already mentioned she was worshipped at Patrae (Paus. vii. 20, in fin.) and at Cyzicus (Strab. p. 588). She was usually represented in works of art as a virgin divinity, and in the more ancient works she seems to have resembled Aphro­dite, whereas in the later ones she was more grave and serious, and had numerous attributes. But there is an allegorical tradition that Zeus begot by Nemesis at Rhamnus an egg, which Leda found, and from \vhich Helena and the Dioscuri sprang, whence Helena herself is called Rhamnusis (Callim. Hymn, in Dian. 232 ; Paus. i. 33. § 7). On the pedestal of the Rhamnusian Nemesis, Leda was represented leading Helena to Nemesis (Paus. 1. c.\ Respecting the resemblance between her statue and that of Aphrodite, see Plin. H. N. xxxvi. 4 ; comp. Paus. i. 33. § 2 ; Strab. pp. 396, 399. The Rham­nusian statue bore in its left hand a branch of an apple tree, in its right hand a patera, and on its head a crown, adorned with stags and an image of victory. Sometimes she appears in a pensive stand­ing attitude, holding in her left hand a bridle or a

NEMESIUS. '1

branch of an ash tree, and in her right a wheel, with a sword or a scourge. (Hirt, MytJiol. Bilderb* p. 97, &c.) [L, SJ

NEMESIUS (Ne^ueW). 1. The author of a Greek treatise, Ilepi O&rews 'Aj/0pw7rou, De Natura Hominis, of whose date and personal history little is known. He is called bishop of Emesa, in Syria} in the MSS. of his work, and also by Anastasius Nicenus (Quaest. in S. Script, ap. Bibliofh. Patrurn^ vol. vi. p. 157, ed. Paris, 1575), and was evidently a Christian and a man of piety. The time in which he lived cannot be determined with much exact--ness, as the only ancient writers by whom he is quoted or mentioned are probably Anastasius and Moses Bar-Cepha (De Parad. i. 20, p. 55, ed. Antw. 1569), which latter author calls him " Nu-mysius Philosophus Christianus." He himself men­tions Apollinaris (p. 77, ed. Oxon.) and Eunomius (p. 73), and therefore may be supposed to have lived at the end of the fourth or beginning of the fifth century after Christ. He has sometimes been confounded with other persons of the same name ; but, as these erroneous conjectures have already been corrected by other writers, they need not be noticed here particularly. His work has sometimes been attributed to St. Gregory of Nyssa, an error which has probably arisen from confounding this treatise with that entitled Tlepl Kcvrao-iceirijs 'Ai>-fywTrou, De Hominis Opijicio, written by St. Gre­gory to complete the Henaemeron of his brother St. Basil. The treatise by Nemesius is an interest­ing philosophical little work, which has generally been highly praised by all who have mentioned it. The author has indeed been accused of holding some of Origen's erroneous opinions, but has been defended by his editor, bishop Fell, who, however, confesses that, with respect to the pre-existenee of souls, Nemesius differed from the commonly received opinion of the Church. (Annot. p. 20.) Probably the principal source of the celebrity obtained by Nemesius is his having been brought forward as a person who was aware of the functions of the bile, and also of the circulation of the blood ; and the passages which have been supposed to contain these doctrines are certainly sufficiently striking to deserve to be given here at full length. The former is as follows (c. 24, p. 242, ed. Matth.) :—"fc The motion of the pulse (called also the vital power) takes its rise from the heart, and chiefly from the left ventricle. ........ The artery is, with great

vehemence, dilated and contracted, by a sort of constant harmony and order, the motion com­mencing at the heart. While it is dilated, it draws with force the thinner part of the blood from the neighbouring veins, the exhalation or vapour of which blood becomes the aliment for the vital spirit. But while it is contracted, it exhales whatever fumes it has through the whole body and by secret passages, as the heart throws out whatever is fuliginous through the mouth and nose by expiration." The other passage is almost equally curious (c. 28. p. 260):—"The yellow bile," he says, " is constituted both for itself and also for other purposes ; for it contributes to diges­tion and promotes the expulsion of the excrements ; and therefore it is in a manner one of the nutritive organs, besides imparting a sort of heat to the body, like the vital power. For these reasons, therefore, it seems to be made for itself; but, inasmuch as it purges the blood, it seems to be made in a manner for this also." It is hardly necessary to say, that

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