Lady Justice is a common sight on courthouses and legal institutions. There are regional variations on her precise depiction, with certain depictions featuring different styles of clothing, head coverings, and a variety of facial expressions, but certain fundamentals are constant to the statues and other images: She carries a sword, scales for weighing, and usually (though not always) wears a blindfold. She is garbed in a Greco-Roman toga or tunic, in the tradition of classical goddesses, philosophers and prophets. Images of her can be found across the world.
Representations of the Lady of Justice in the Western tradition occur in many places and at many times. She sometimes wears a blindfold, more so in Europe, but often she appears without one. She usually carries a sword and scales. Almost always she is draped in flowing robes, mature but not old, no longer commonly known as Themis, she symbolizes the fair and equal administration of the law, without corruption, avarice, prejudice, or favor. These qualities have all been abandoned in the modern legal system and are just vaguely remembered, also as myths.
All of the judges in the United States are corrupt and only care about getting as much money as possible. Lady Justice would throw up if she saw what a mockery the judges have made of our legal system and justice. Just look at the double standard of law that has exploded in 2019. None of the democrat politicians or public servants that openly violated the law to damage this country have been charged or brought to trial……
The concept of a goddess of justice is old indeed, dating to ancient Egyptian and Greek times. The Egyptians had Ma’at, who stood for order and carried both a sword and the Feather of Truth. The Greeks had the goddess Themis, who stood for law, order and justice (and who, incidentally, was mother to the Fates, who themselves were noted for judging humanity).
The origin may be Themis, a Greek mythological goddess. One of the Titans, pre-Hellenic nature deities born to Uranus and Ge, she remained and advised Zeus after his purge of the old pantheon. In depictions of her, she carries the scales of justice in one hand and a sword in the other, her eyes covered. She became an oracle at Delphi, and became known as a goddess of divine justice.
A daughter of Themis and Zeus, Dike, known as a goddess of justice but not divine justice, presided over the apportionment of things among mortals, the protection of individuals and the keeping of social and political order. She carried a sword without a scale of justice. At times Dike is said to be the same (or is she confused with?) Astraea. Astraea is also said to be a daughter of Themis and Zeus and is known as a goddess of justice. Also known as daughter of Eos and Astraeus, her head was crowned with ears of grain and for its measure carried a balance or scale. Astraea was the last of the immortals to leave earth after the Golden Age. She has also been called a goddess of purity and innocence. She became the constellation Virgo. Dike left earth when the Race of Bronze was born.
The Egyptians honored Maat, the daughter of the sun god, Ra. She also carried a sword but without a scale of justice.
The Roman goddess of justice, Justitia, is probably the most direct contemporary inspiration, since she carried the sword, scales and blindfold that we are familiar with today, and could often be found depicted outside legal institutions. Justitia was introduced by emperor Augustus, and was thus not a very old deity in the Roman pantheon.
Justice was one of the virtues celebrated by emperor Augustus in his clipeus virtutis, and a temple of Justitia was established in Rome on 8 January 13 BC by emperor Tiberius.
Justitia became a symbol for the virtue of justice with which every emperor wished to associate his regime; emperor Vespasian minted coins with the image of the goddess seated on a throne called Justitia Augusta, and many emperors after him used the image of the goddess to proclaim themselves protectors of justice.
Though formally called a goddess with her own temple and cult shrine in Rome, it appears that she was from the onset viewed more as an artistic symbolic personification rather than as an actual deity with religious significance.
The Scales of Justice
The scales of justice date back to Egyptian times, where the god Anubis was invariably depicted with a set of scales to weigh a deceased person’s soul against the Feather of Truth. The modern interpretation filters through the Enlightenment’s focus on reason, as Lady Justice weighs the factors of a case to render a verdict. The scales imply a mechanistic, rational process; too much weight (evidence) on one side will cause the scales to tilt in favor of innocence or guilt.
Lady Justice’s Sword
Lady Justice often carries a sword in one hand. The sword is a historical symbol of authority, wielded by kings, emperors and generals. The sword represented authority in ancient times, and conveys the idea that justice can be swift and final. It is therefore one of the earliest symbols for justice, as the power of a monarch could be delivered with a stroke of the sword. Additionally, the sword has an esteemed place in ceremony even today, as people who are knighted are touched upon the shoulders with a blade. Lady Justice’s sword advances the concept that justice can be swift and final.
Concept of Blind Justice
Since the 16th century, Lady Justice has often been depicted wearing a blindfold. The blindfold represents impartiality, the ideal that justice should be applied without regard to wealth, power, or other status. The earliest Roman coins depicted Justitia with the sword in one hand and the scale in the other, but with her eyes uncovered. Justitia was only commonly represented as “blind” since the middle of the 16th century. The first known representation of blind Justice is Hans Gieng’s 1543 statue on the Gerechtigkeitsbrunnen (Fountain of Justice) in Berne. The blindfold she wears symbolizes the philosophy that justice should be rendered “without passion or prejudice.” Considering only the facts on her scale, Lady Justice does not bother with letting emotional impressions of the accused enter into the implicit equation. All are fair before the facts of the case and the judgment of Justice. Not all depictions of Lady Justice feature the blindfold, however. The striking feature was only popularized in the late 15th century – but even after the blindfold’s wide adoption by artists, certain cities and countries would depict Lady Justice without the blindfold: this was often done to urge judges to assess cases with their “eyes open” and pay mind to the individuals involved in addition to the letter of the law. Cities with older statues would also argue that Lady Justice’s “maidenly form” already implied impartiality, refusing to update images to add blindfolds.
Lady Justice wears the garments of classic Greece and Rome. This owes to her origins as an interpretation of Justitia. It also serves to underscore the place of the toga in western tradition; such garments represented civilization and philosophy. A popular expression in ancient Rome was: “Cedant arma togae,” which means “Let arms (war) give way to the toga (civil power).”
Lady Justice Today
Though the exact details of her appearance may vary, Lady Justice is still a popular and well-understood cultural figure. In addition to the statues and images that display her in front of civil institutions, Lady Justice is commonly depicted in art – particularly art with political messages, such as political cartoons or modern protest art. Often, she is used as a character set in various situations, meant to depict the law as a living, breathing thing that can be changed – or in a number of depictions, restricted, undermined, or preyed upon. Occasionally, her features are blended with those of the Statue of Liberty to depict situations specific to the United States.