FACING YOUR NEMESIS – 12:15-12:45 Thursday 26th January
FACING YOUR NEMESIS: HOW AN ANCIENT GREEK GODDESS HAS BECOME THE ARCH-ENEMY OF MODERN SPORT AND POLITICS
Ancient Worlds Gallery, Leeds City Museum
Emma Stafford will explore the term ‘nemesis’, an ancient Greek word which, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is first attested in English in 1553. Its dictionary definition is ‘retributive justice’, though in modern popular culture it more commonly indicates an ‘arch-rival’, or an enemy who is all-but-impossible to overcome. It may not be immediately apparent what either meaning has to do with the ancient Greek goddess Nemesis, who first appears in ancient literature as a victim of Zeus’ unwanted attentions, apparently personifying the Homeric sense of nemesis as ‘righteous indignation’. Over time, however, this rather passive figure takes on an increasingly fearsome persona, emerging in late antiquity as a winged figure wielding a measuring rod, bridle and whip as she tramples her enemies underfoot.