Symbol of Justice (and Its Meaning)

Today, the symbol of justice is the scale, which represents balance and equality. It is thus presumed that the balance expresses the search for a fair, precise and exact evaluation of the facts in question.

This symbol is a synthesis of different cultural traditions, such as the Egyptian and the Greek, which have given it the current meaning.

Justice

The Lady of Justice

Justice

The lady of justice is an allegory of justice inspired by Greek mythology, particularly the goddess Themiswhose Roman equivalent is justice.

Themis or Istitia’s attributes make her the representation of equality, strength and impartiality. Those attributes are: the balance, the sword and the blindfold over her eyes.

The scales of the lady of justice are balanced, symbolically representing equality before the law and the “fair” measure to be taken by the judge.

The sword represents the strength or firmness of the decision that has been made, which cannot be evaded by those on trial.

Finally, the blindfolds represent the value of impartiality. Justice does not stop to look at the origin or social position of each person, but rather determines what is correct according to the laws. This is where the popular saying comes from: “justice is blind”.

However, some representations of Lady Justice are not blindfolded.

See also:

  • Justice.
  • Equity.
  • Fortress.

The balance in Egyptian culture

The judgment of Osiris

The judgment of Osiris. Egyptian art.

The oldest record of the balance related to the meaning of justice belongs to the Egyptian culture. For the ancient Egyptians, the soul of the deceased had to go through different stages before being able to reach the afterlife.

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The Egyptians had three gods associated with the ritual of death: Anubis, Thoth and Osiris. Once the soul had passed through different tests, it had to appear before these gods, who subjected it to one last test.

The test consisted of placing the human heart on one of the plates of a scale, which was believed to have good deeds engraved on it. On the other plate of the balance was placed the so-called “pen of truth”. This was an ostrich feather that, according to tradition, contained bad deeds. If the heart weighed more than the feather, the person could access the final resting place.