In terms, justice (CR:100) (LH:9) (TL:109), from the Egyptian universal moral order goddess Maat (3100BC), and her principle of right order "maa"; which was rescripted into the Greek justice goddess Dike (Δικη) (NE:42) (800BC), secret name: the "42" nomes or law-governing bodies of Egypt, defined as daughter of "Themis" (Θέμις) (NE:264), secret name: "truth", and Zeus, secret name: "power"; which became rescripted into the Roman goddess Justicia (300BC), conceptualized as one of the four virtues, along with: prudence, fortitude, and temperance; eventually being defined as being in conformity with what is morally upright or good.
The term "justice" derives conceptually and etymologically, from the following god character rescript basis:
|Principle||Maa||Justice (right order / action)|
Icons of justice
The history of “icons of justice” originated in the Egyptian goddess Maat and her "scales of justice", which measure the weight of the soul in the afterlife, balanced against the feather of truth, all of which is said to be infused with her "maa" principle or "principle of right action".
Metis + Zeus → Athene (wisdom)
The Greek rescript of Maat becomes a bit involved. Firstly, the Egyptian version of Maat, being born out of the head of Atum-Ra, becomes, in the Greek version, Athene (wisdom goddess) born out of the head of Zeus (supreme god). This is summarized below, mostly based on Hesiod (Theogony, 750BC):
- “The wives of Zeus were numerous as well as his offspring. First he married Metis, the wisest and most sagacious of the goddesses; but Gaea and Uranus forewarned him that if he permitted himself to have children by her, they would be stronger than himself and dethrone him. Accordingly, when Metis was on the point of being delivered of Athene, he swallowed her up, and her wisdom and sagacity thus became permanently identified with his own being. His head was subsequently cut open, in order to make way for the exit and birth of the goddess Athene.”
- — George Grote (1899), Greece (pgs. 9-10)
This was the first splitting or recension of the Maat into parts. The aim of the Greeks, Hesiod in particular, in this period, was to portray the "forces of the universe as cosmic divinities", with the Egyptian divinities being the starting point of basis of logic.
Themis (truth) + Zeus → Dike (law or justice)
Next, the goddess "Themis", in Greek: Θέμις (NE:264), daughter of Uranus (sky god) and Gaia (earth god), was introduced, originally conceptualized as the goddess associated with "keeping order at social gatherings" (Homer, 800BC). The secret names of Themis are:
- Of truth (αληθειας) (NE:264)
- The virginity (η παρθενια) (NE:264)
The "virginity" aspect of Themis is seen in the Roman rescript, wherein her daughter Dike, aka Justitia (or Iustitia) in the Roman rescript, is described as a virgin living among humans until the wrongdoings of mortals forced her to take flight and become the constellation Virgo.
Themis, in turn, became, the second wife of Zeus, whom with in union mothered the "Moirai", or the three fate goddesses, namely: Clothon, Lachesis, and Atropos, and the "Horai", the three gods of justice, peace, and lawful government, namely: Dike, in Greek Δικη (NE:42), Roman rescript: justice, Eirene, Roman rescript: peace, and Eunomia, Roman rescript: lawful government.
Dike = 42
Dike, in Greek: Δικη (NE:42), has isopsephy value of "42", which we know to be symbolic of a number of things, including: the number of "nomes" (states) of Egypt; the number of the negative confessions (Roman rescript: sins) involved in the weighing of the soul, against the feather of Maat, on the scale of Maat, each negative confession corresponding to one "ounce" of soul weight, so to say; and the number of "nome gods", each of whom presided over the weighing of the soul in the Judgment Hall of the after life. Beyond this, Kieren Barry (1999) gives us the following candidate or potential "secret names" associated with the number forty-two, as presumably Hesiod and Homer would have known:
- law = δικη (dike) (Acts 25:15)
- Ill-treatment (αικια)
- Assembly (αλια)
- Together, at once (αμα)
- Troubles, evils (κακα)
Here, these collection of candidate secret names, would seem to be code for the fact that the Egyptian system of justice involved one leader of each state or nome, convening, "together" or "at once", say yearly or periodically, at the national "assembly" of Egypt, so to pass "laws" to correct growing "troubles", "evils", or "ill-treatments", seen in the country of Egypt, so to re-establish justice in the nation.
In sum, Dike, the daughter of the offspring of "truth" + "order" (Themis) and "power" (Zeus), becomes, in the Greek rescript of the former Egyptian model, the goddess of "justice". In other words, what is "just", according to the Egyptians and Greeks, is what is determined by a presiding body of 42 leading representatives of a country, or something to this effect (intermixed with some divine solar religio-mythology cosmological logic in basis).
Details of the Greek rescript of the Egyptian model, of course, become more complicated than this basic overview. The marriage of Zeus to Themis, and his other wives, according to the Hesiod version of things, is summarized as follows:
- “By Themis, Zeus begat the Horae, by Eurynome, the three Charities or Graces; by Mnemosyne, the Muses; by Leto (Latona), Apollo and Artemis. and by Demeter, Persephone. Last of all he took for his wife Here, who maintained permanently the dignity of queen of the gods; by her he had Hebe, Ares, and Eileithyia. Hermes also was born to him by Maia, the daughter of Atlas: Hephaestus was born to Here, according to some accounts, by Zeus; according to others, by her own unaided generative force.”
- — George Grote (1899), Greece (pgs. 9-10)
In 550BC, Aeschylus, in his play Prometheus Bound, rescripts the story such that Themis is defined as the mother of Prometheus, who gives him foreknowledge of what was to come.
In Roman mythology, aka Roman recension of the Greek version, Dike becomes "Justitia" (Justicia) or “justice”, who is defined as one of the four virtues, along with: prudence, fortitude, and temperance.
The modern icon version of justice is pictured adjacent which shows a "blind" woman, presumably the Roman goddess Justita, holding the scales of justice, modeled on the "scales of Maat", and the Egyptian goddess Maat and her "maa" principle of universal justice. Sun light shines through in the background, indicative of the idea that the light of truth or justice will always prevail in the end, or something to this effect. The books in the background are the law books, which change per change in state of society.
The blind-folded aspect of the justice goddess or "lady of justice" is a bit difficult to track down. The following are two oft-cited quotes:
- “Justice is justly represented ‘blind’, because she sees no difference in the parties concerned. She has but one scale and weight, for rich and poor, great and small. Her sentence is not guided by the person, but the cause. Impartiality is the life of justice, as that is of government.”
- — William Penn (1693), Fruits of Solitude, Part One (§:Impracticality)
- “Lady Justice is a blend of Themis and Justitia. The blindfold with which Justice is now associated probably started in the 16th century. In some of the Washington D.C. statues, Justice holds scales, blindfolds, and swords. In one representation she is fighting evil with her gaze, although her sword is still sheathed.”
- — N.S. Gill (2003), “The Goddess of Justice” (from a U.S. Supreme Court website)
In 1543, sculptor Hans Gieng, made a blindfolded statue of "Lady Justice" on the Well of Justice in Bern, Switzerland. Blindfolded sculptures prior to this lacking, for the most part.
One conjecture, in respect to the origin of the "blind" aspect of "lady justice", is that in all of the original Egyptian illustrations of the "weighing of the soul" in the judgment hall, as shown adjacent, the goddess Maat is never present, but only her "feather", aka truth, is present during the judgment. This could be a possible origin of the later "blindfolded" aspect of the justice goddess seen in artwork? In this sense, during the judgment, "blindness" could mean that the goddess herself is not present, but only her justice principle, e.g. maa, truth, or feather, is present.
The following are quotes:
- “In a universe of electrons and selfish genes , blind physical forces  and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky , and you won’t find any rhyme or reason  in it, nor any justice . The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose , no evil  no good , nothing but pitiless indifference.”
- “Schopenhauer prided himself on being the first true atheist in German philosophy, and scorned his contemporaries’ attempts to substitute a world spirit for a bankrupt deity. Yet he never abandoned a notion of cosmic justice.”
- — Susan Neiman (2004), Evil in Modern Thought: an Alternative History of Philosophy (pg. 198)
- Melnyk, Lauren. (2020), “Asserted Without Evidence, Dismissed without Evidence” (Ѻ), Stevens and Bolton, Oct 19.
- Hitchens razor – Wikipedia.
- Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, 2000.
- Grote, George. (1899). Greece: I. Legendary Greece. II. Grecian History to the Reign of Peisistratus at Athens, Volume One (pgs. 9-10). Publisher.
- Themis – Wikipedia.
- (a) Adkins, Roy; Adkins, Lesley. (1996). Dictionary of Roman Religion. Publisher.
(b) Gill, N.S. (2003). “The Goddess of Justice” (WB), About.com.
(c) Gill, N.S. (2017). “Lady of Justice” (Ѻ), ThoughtCo.com, Mar 8.
- (a) Gill, N.S. (2003). “The Goddess of Justice” (WB), About.com.
(b) Gill, N.S. (2017). “Lady of Justice” (Ѻ), ThoughtCo.com, Mar 8.
- Nome god – Hmolpedia 2020.
- Figures of Justice (2003) – SupremeCourt.gov.
- White, Penny. (2004). “A Matter of Perspective” (pdf), UNC School of Law, Dec 1.
- Fountain of Justice – Wikipedia.
- Dawkins, Richard. (1995). River Out of Eden (pg. 131-32). Publisher.
- Neiman, Susan. (2004). Evil in Modern Thought: An Alternative History of Philosophy (cosmic justice, 2+ pgs; Schopenhauer, pg. 198). Princeton, 2015.
- Justice – Hmolpedia 2020.