The blindfolded goddess of Justice

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The lady of Justice, blindfolded, holding a sword in one hand and a balance in the other is one of the most well-known statues in the world. Although, this statue is not typically attributed to any sculptor, the fact that it adorns so many of the world’s courthouses has rendered it one of the most well-known sculptures.

The origin of the Goddess of Justice goes back to antiquity. She was referred to as Ma’at by the ancient Egyptians and was often depicted carrying a sword with an ostrich feather in her hair (but no scales) to symbolise truth and justice. The term magistrate is derived from Ma’at because she assisted Osiris in the judgment of the dead by weighing their hearts.

To the ancient Greeks, she was known as Themis. Her ability to foresee the future enabled her to become one of the oracles at Delphi, which in turn led to her establishment as the goddess of divine justice. Classical representations of Themis did not show her blindfolded (because of her talent for prophecy, she had no need to be blinded) nor was she holding a sword (because she represented common consent, not coercion).The Roman goddess of justice was called Justitia and was often portrayed as evenly balancing both scales and a sword and wearing a blindfold.

THE SCALES

They represent that Lady Justice carefully weighs the claims of each side. They are referred as the ‘scales of justice’. Each scale presents a measure of evidence. The scales that she holds represent the impartiality with which justice is served.

THE SWORD

The sword represents the enforcement measures of Lady Justice and signifies the power that is held to make judgments. It means Themis stands ready to obligate faithfulness to her decision of reason and justice by both parties. Justicia holds a sword that is oversized to her body proportion as the swords’ size symbolises a very important facet of justice, respect. Thus she does not reign by fisted threat or fear of the use of a weapon but instead she rules and openly exhibits she is prepared to get respect.

THE BLINDFOLD

Today probably her most famous symbol – it first appeared in the fifteenth century. The blindfold represents decisions of objectivity and/or impartial decision or decision not influenced by wealth, politics, popularity or infamy etc. During the 16th century, artists started showing the lady blindfolded to show that justice is not subject to influence. From this, the statue earned the name Blind Justice.

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About maheshspeak

I write randomly on law, jurisprudence, polity, travel, food and anything else interesting. You can also visit my personal homepage at maheshsreenivasan.com
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