The town of Rhamnous, 5 km. north of the Marathon Plain, is a coastal fortified site, with impressive remnants of the city, wallwork and a theater. The antique remains are easily accessible and are approximately 1 km away. from the famous sanctuary of Nemesis, with the much more famous cult statue of Agorakritos, a disciple of Pheidias (not of Pheidias himself, as Pausanias claims.). By means of copies and some fragments of the cult statue itself, it is possible to make a fairly reliable reconstruction of the statue. Next to the temple of Nemesis was a small temple (6.4 x 10.7 m.) dedicated to the goddess Themis [Recht]. Her cult image has been found in the temple itself. Along the way down from the sanctuary to the city, countless fragments of monumental funerary monuments have been found, many of which have been identified.


The goddess Nemesis herself was so strongly associated with Rhamnous that the goddess was sometimes called Rhamnousia. Several stories were told about her ancestry, sometimes that she was a daughter of the goddess Night, sometimes also (as in Rhamnous) of the god Oceanus. However, she always had her dark aspects: originally a goddess who ‘gives everyone what he deserves’ (according to the Greek verb nemein, allocate), she has developed into a goddess who punishes, and is especially opposed to ‘hybris’ or pride. It is therefore not surprising that Pausanias links the cult image to the defeat of the Persian invading army at Marathon: the Persians themselves would have brought a huge block of marble from the island of Paros to erect a victory monument in Marathon; after their defeat, the Greeks would have used the block to honor the goddess Nemesis, who had punished the Persians for their pride.


The cult image of Nemesis is quite known through a Roman copy in the glyptotheque in Copenhagen, that of her ‘neighbor’ Themis, the goddess of justice, has even been found almost completely in the small temple next to that of Nemesis. The cult statue of Nemesis, the work of the Greek sculptor Agoracritus, was considered one of the most beautiful images from all of ancient times. The statue was cut into small pieces by religious fanatics in late antiquity at the same time that both temples were destroyed. The British Museum shows the heavily damaged head of this statue, while dozens of fragments have been preserved in Greece. Both temples in Rhamnous date from the late archaic period.