Lady Justice (Latin: ''Iustitia'') is an allegorical personification of the moral force in judicial systems. Her attributes are a blindfold, a beam balance, and a sword. She often appears as a pair with Prudentia, who holds a set of scales and a sword. Lady Justice originates from the personification of Justice in Ancient Roman art known as ''Iustitia'' or ''Justitia,'' who is equivalent to the Greek goddess Dike.

The goddess Justicia

The origin of Lady Justice was Justitia, the goddess of Justice within Roman mythology. 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 Iustitia was established in Rome on 8 January 13 BC by emperor Tiberius. Iustitia 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 ''Iustitia 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 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.


Lady Justice is most often depicted with a set of scales typically suspended from one hand, upon which she measures the strengths of a case's support and opposition. The Greek goddess Dike is depicted holding a set of scales. Bacchylides, Fragment 5 (trans. Campbell, Vol. ''Greek Lyric IV'') (Greek lyric c. 5th 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.


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. 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 Justice was 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 Memphis, Tennessee.


The sword represented authority in ancient times, and conveys the idea that justice can be swift and final.


The Greco-Roman garment symbolizes the status of the philosophical attitude that embodies justice.

In computer systems

Unicode version 4.1.0 implemented a symbol at code point U+2696 that may be used to represent the scales of justice.

In art


File:Berner Iustitia.jpg|Lady Justice with sword, scales and blindfold on the Gerechtigkeitsbrunnen in Berne, Switzerland—1543 File:A Justica Alfredo Ceschiatti Brasilia Brasil.jpg|''The Justice'', in front of the Supreme Court of Brazil File:Pediment courthouse, Rome, Italy.jpg|Lady Justice seated at the entrance of The Palace of Justice, Rome, Italy File:Justitia1.jpg|Sculpture of Lady Justice on the ' in Frankfurt, Germany File:Justicia Ottawa.jpg|''Justitia'', outside the Supreme Court of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada File:Statue of Justice, Central Criminal Court, London, UK - 20030311.jpg|The Central Criminal Court or Old Bailey, London, UK File:Itojyuku themis.jpg|Themis, Itojyuku, Shibuya-ku, Japan File:Justice statue.jpg|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 File:Statue of Themis.jpg|Themis, Chuo University, Tama-shi, Japan File:Chuo highschool themis.jpg|Themis, Chuo University Suginami high school, Suginami-ku, Japan File:Law place du Palais-Bourbon Paris.jpg|''The Law'', by Jean Feuchère File:JMR-Memphis1.jpg|Shelby County Courthouse, Memphis, Tennessee, United States File:Goddess of justice.jpg|Themis, outside the Supreme Court of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia File:NewarkJustice1.jpg|''Justice'' by Diana Moore, Government Center, Newark, New Jersey File:Justitia szobra a Kúria épületében.jpg|''Justitia'' in the Superior Courts Building in Budapest, Hungary. File:Fronton oud gerechtsgebouw, Gent.jpg|Themis, Old courthouse, Ghent, Belgium File:Justice Statue Iran.jpg|''Justitia'', Tehran courthouse, Tehran, Iran File:Campinas, detalhe do Palácio da Justiça.jpg|''Justiça'', high-relief in front of Justice Palace, Campinas, Brazil File:Carl Spitzweg - Das Auge des Gesetzes (Justitia) - 1857.jpg|, Carl Spitzweg, 1857


File:Sala di costantino, giustizia.jpg|Fresco in the , Raphael Rooms, Raphael, c. 1520 File:Luca Giordano 013.jpg|Luca Giordano, Palazzo Medici Riccardi in Florence, 1684–1686 File:Gerechtigkeit-1537.jpg|''Gerechtigkeit'', Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1537


Lady Justice and her symbols are used in heraldry, especially in the arms of legal government agencies. DEU Ilshofen COA.svg|Justitia in arms of Ilshofen in Baden-Württemberg Svea hovrätt vapen.svg|Scales and sword in the arms of a Swedish court of law Hörby kommunvapen - Riksarkivet Sverige.png|Scales balanced on a sword in the arms of Hörby Landskrona fulla vapen.svg|Prudentia and Justitia as supporters in the armorial achievement of Landskrona File:US-Fractional (3rd Issue)-$0.50-Fr.1355.jpg|Justice holding scales, $0.50 U.S. fractional currency.

See also

* (''Goddesses of Justice''): Astraea, Dike, Themis, Eunomia, Prudentia, Praxidice * (''Goddesses of Injustice''): Adikia * (''Aspects of Justice''): ** (''Justice'') Themis/Dike/Eunomia/Justitia (Lady Justice), Raguel (the Angel of Justice) ** (''Retribution'') Nemesis/Rhamnousia/Rhamnusia/Adrasteia/Adrestia/Invidia ** (''Redemption'') Eleos/Soteria/Clementia, Zadkiel/Zachariel (the Angel of Mercy) * 5 Astraea, 24 Themis, 99 Dike and 269 Justitia, main belt asteroids all named for Astraea, Themis, Dike and Justitia, Classical goddesses of justice. * Durga, Hindu goddess of justice * Lady Luck * Lady Liberty * Statue of Liberty (''Liberty Enlightening the World'')


External links

DOJ Seal - History and Motto
{{DEFAULTSORT:Justice Category:Justice goddesses Category:Personifications in Roman mythology Category:Roman goddesses Category:Heraldic charges