The desire to seek equality, fairness, and honesty has been with people since civilization began. Perhaps that is why the Egyptians, the Romans, and the Greeks each had a goddess devoted to the concept of justice for all. How those three great ancient civilizations portrayed justice varied from culture to culture, yet much of what those societies valued still influences us today.
According to ancient-egypt-online.com, the Egyptians prayed to the goddess Maat, the daughter of the sun god, Ra. The universe revolved around Maat who ensured truth, justice, harmony and balance in nature and society. Her influence in Egyptian society was felt in leadership, philosophy, and law, but perhaps her most vital role included serving as a judge at death. She decided if someone’s soul was given eternal life or not.
Images of Maat developed over many centuries. She often appears as a slender woman with symmetrical features. Wearing a white ostrich feather on her head, she often carries a scepter or an ankh. Some depictions of Maat have her carrying scales. Maat would weigh the heart of each person against the weight of her white ostrich feather. Any person with a heart the same weight or lighter than the feather was considered just and worthy of continuing into the Duat, or the everlasting afterlife.
The Greeks named their goddess of fairness “Themis”, and she was the wife and counselor to Zeus. She provided justice over the gods while her daughter, Dike, had power over human justice. These two are often interchangeable, while the Romans seemed to have rolled both the Greek goddesses into one goddess of justice. The Romans called their goddess “Justitia” (or in Latin, Iustitia).
These three goddesses have been illustrated naked, clothed in a flowing gown, with and without sandals, and accompanied with a number of animals including dogs, snakes, and even ostriches. In general, the Western goddesses shared two common features. Like Maat, they tend to appear with scales. Unlike Maat, they carry a double edge sword.
In modern Western culture, the images of the goddesses became associated with our court systems, and according to Yale Law Professors Judith Resnik and Dennis Curtis, these goddesses have transformed into the figure we know as Lady Justice. In their book “Representing Justice” the authors trace how Lady Justice has become tied to our legal system and how she has been drawn, painted, and sculpted in a number of ways. Perhaps the biggest difference between Lady Justice and the Roman/Greek goddesses came in roughly the 17th century. The authors claim Lady Justice began appearing with a blindfold in addition to the traditional trappings of a scale and a sword. The authors explain in a New York Times article, the blindfold has not always been part of Lady Justice’s wardrobe. “Sight was the desired state,” Professors Resnik and Curtis write, “connected to insight, light and the rays of God’s sun.”
Recently, we at Hit Trophy have included two new awards featuring Lady Justice with all of her accessories: a sword, a scale, and a blindfold. Our Lady Justice Statue (item #RFB263) measures over a foot tall (4” x 13”) and is made from a durable electroplated resin. Standing on an ebony base, this incredibly detailed statuette has the blindfolded Lady Justice raising the scales of justice with her right hand while she holds a double edge sword in her left hand to mete out judgement. The base comes with room for personalization and our graphic arts department will be happy to engrave up to four lines of text onto the base. Our second award featuring Lady Justice is item # WP236E, our Lady Justice Plaque. Mounted on a walnut plank with a glossy finish, a three dimensional casting of the blindfolded Lady Justice with scales and sword is underscored by laurel leaves. Below the casting, a black brass engraving plate provides ample room for law firm logos or other images and up to six lines of type.
Either award makes an excellent tribute for any officer of the court from bailiff, recorder, attorney, or judge. These accolades may serve as a gift of welcome or as a marker celebrating the number of years worked in the legal system. Both Lady Justice gifts come with free engraving and a free digital proof of all engraving before the item is shipped to you. Spend more than $100 per order and we will include free shipping too!
So if you need a gift for anyone who fights for what is right and fair, why not use a symbol of truthfulness? Give that crusader one of our Lady Justice awards. To do otherwise would simply be a miscarriage of justice!