Justice is an allegorical personification of the moral force in
judicial systems. Her attributes are a blindfold, a balance, and
a sword. She often appears as a pair with Prudentia, who holds a
mirror and a snake.
Justice originates from the personification of
Justice in Ancient
Roman art known as Iustitia or
Justitia after Latin: Iustitia, who
is equivalent to the Greek goddesses
Themis and Dike.
1 The Goddess Iustitia
Justice in art
4 See also
6 External links
The Goddess Iustitia
The origin of Lady
Justice was Iustitia, the goddess of
Roman mythology. Iustitia was introduced by emperor Augustus, and was
thus not a very old deity in the Roman pantheon.
Iustice was one of the virtues celebrated by emperor
Augustus in his
clipeus virtutis, and a Temple of Iustitia was established in Rome 8
January 13 CE by emperor Tiberius. Iustitia became a symbol for the
virtue of justice that every emperor wished to associate his regime
Vespasian minted coins with the image of the goddess
seated on a throne called Iustitia Augusta, and many emperors after
him used the image of the goddess to proclaim themselves protectors of
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
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The Ancient Egyptian
Book of the Dead
Book of the Dead depicts a scene in which a
deceased person's heart is weighed against the feather of truth.
The personification of justice balancing the scales dates back to the
Goddess Maat, and later Isis, of ancient Egypt. The Hellenic deities
Themis and Dike were later goddesses of justice.
Themis was the
embodiment of divine order, law, and custom, in her aspect as the
personification of the divine rightness of law.
There are three distinctive features of Lady Justice: a set of scales,
a blindfold, and a sword.
Justice is most often depicted with a set of scales typically
suspended from her left hand, upon which she measures the strengths of
a case's support and opposition. The depiction dates back to ancient
Egypt, where the God
Anubis was frequently depicted with a set of
scales on which he weighed a deceased's heart against the Feather of
The Greek goddess Dike is depicted holding a set of scales.
Bacchylides, Fragment 5 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric IV) (Greek
lyric C5th B.C.):
If some god had been holding level the balance of Dike (Justice).
The scales represent the weighing of evidence, and the scales lack a
foundation in order to signify that evidence should stand on its own.
Justice at the Castellania
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 about the end
of the 15th century. The first known representation of blind Justice
is Hans Gieng's 1543 statue on the Gerechtigkeitsbrunnen (Fountain of
Justice) in Berne.
Instead of using the
Janus approach, many sculptures simply leave out
the blindfold altogether. For example, atop the
Old Bailey courthouse
in London, a statue of Lady
Justice stands without a blindfold; the
courthouse brochures explain that this is because Lady
originally not blindfolded, and because her "maidenly form" is
supposed to guarantee her impartiality which renders the blindfold
redundant. Another variation is to depict a blindfolded Lady
Justice as a human scale, weighing competing claims in each hand. An
example of this can be seen at the Shelby County Courthouse in
The cover of a 2006 issue of Rolling Stone proclaimed TIME TO GO!,
focusing on the perceived corruption that dominated Congress. The
drawing showed a bunch of figures evoking reactionary politics
emerging from the Capitol. One of the figures was Lady
her blindfold, implying that the then-composition of Congress had
politicized the criminal justice system.
The last distinctive feature of Lady
Justice is her sword. The sword
represented authority in ancient times, and conveys the idea that
justice can be swift and final.
Greco-Roman garment symbolizes the status of the philosophical
attitude that embodies justice.[unreliable source?]
Justice in art
Justice in sculpture
Justice with sword, scales and blindfold on the
Gerechtigkeitsbrunnen in Berne, Switzerland—1543
The Justice, in front of the Supreme Court of Brazil
Justice seated at the entrance of The Palace of Justice, Rome,
Sculpture of Lady
Justice on the Gerechtigkeitsbrunnen
(Frankfurt) (de) in Frankfurt, Germany
Justitia, outside the Supreme Court of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
The Central Criminal Court or Old Bailey, London, UK
Themis, Itojyuku, Shibuya-ku, Japan
19th-century sculpture of the Power of Law at Olomouc, Czech
Republic—lacks the blindfold and scales of Justice, replacing the
latter with a book
Themis, Chuo University, Tama-shi, Japan
Chuo University Suginami high school, Suginami-ku, Japan
The Law, by Jean Feuchère
Shelby County Courthouse, Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Tehran courthouse, Tehran, Iran
Themis, outside the Supreme Court of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland,
Justice by Diana Moore, Government Center, Newark, New Jersey
Justitia in the Superior Courts Building in Budapest, Hungary
Justice in painting
Fresco in the Sala di Costantino (it),
Raphael Rooms, Raphael, c.
Gerechtigkeit, Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1537
Palazzo Medici Riccardi
Palazzo Medici Riccardi in Florence, 1684–1686
Justitia (Spitzweg) (de), Carl Spitzweg, c. 1857
Justice and her symbols are used in heraldry, especially in the
arms of legal government agencies.
Justice in heraldry
Justitia in arms of Ilshofen in Baden-Württemberg
Scales and sword in the arms of a Swedish court of law
Scales balanced on a sword in the arms of Hörby
Justitia as supporters in the armorial achievement of
Justice in numismatics
Justice holding scales, $0.50 U.S. fractional currency.
(Goddesses of Justice): Astraea, Dike, Themis, Prudentia
(Goddesses of Injustice): Adikia
(Aspects of Justice): (see also: Triple goddess/Triple
goddesses/Triple deity/Triple Goddess (neopaganism))
Justitia (Lady Justice), Raguel (the Angel of
(Redemption) Eleos/Soteria/Clementia, Zadkiel/
Zachariel (the Angel of
5 Astraea, 24 Themis,
99 Dike and 269 Justitia, main belt asteroids
all named for Astraea, Themis, Dike and Justitia, Classical goddesses
Hindu goddess of justice
^ Hamilton, Marci. God vs. the Gavel, page 296 (Cambridge University
Press 2005): "The symbol of the judicial system, seen in courtrooms
throughout the United States, is blindfolded Lady Justice."
^ Fabri, The challenge of change for judicial systems, page 137 (IOS
Press 2000): "the judicial system is intended to be apolitical, its
symbol being that of a blindfolded Lady
Justice holding balanced
^ a b c "IUSTITIA". treccani.it.
^ a b c Brent T. Edwards. "Symbolism of Lady Justice". Retrieved 24
^ See "The Scales of
Justice as Represented in Engravings, Emblems,
Reliefs and Sculptures of Early Modern Europe" in G. Lamoine, ed.,
Images et representations de la justice du XVie au XIXe siecle
(Toulouse: University of Toulose-Le Mirail, 1983)" at page 8.
^ Image of Lady
Justice in Berne.
^ Image of Lady
Justice in London.
^ Colomb, Gregory. Designs on Truth, p. 50 (Penn State Press, 1992).
^ Image of Lady
Justice in Memphis.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Iustitia.
DOJ Seal - History and Motto
Origin of Lady of Justice
Images of the Goddess of Justice
Photos of Lady Justice