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Since ancient times, there have been gods and goddesses that oversee justice, law, and order. While the best-known deity of justice is Justitia, who is seen as the supposed moral compass across all judicial systems today, there are many others who are not as well-known but served an equally important role in their mythologies. This list covers the most popular, from the Greek deity Themis to the Babylonian god Marduk.
Egyptian Goddess Maat
In ancient Egyptian religion, Maat, also spelled Mayet, was the personification of truth, cosmic order, and justice. She was the daughter of the sun god, Re, and she was married to Thoth, the god of wisdom. Maat was seen as much more than a goddess by the ancient Egyptians. She also represented the crucial concept of how the universe was maintained. When it comes to Lady Justice, Maat influenced her with Egyptian ideologies of balance, harmony, justice, and law and order.
Greek Goddess Themis
In Greek religion, Themis was the personification of justice, wisdom, and good counsel. She was also the interpreter of the gods’ will, and she was the daughter of Uranus and Gaea. Themis was Zeus’ advisor, and she carried a scale and sword while blindfolded. Lady Justice drew her fairness and law and order from Themis.
Greek Goddess Dike
In Greek mythology, Dike was the goddess of justice and moral order. She was the daughter of gods Zeus and Themis. Although both Dike and Themis were considered personifications of justice, Dike represented more the justice-based socially enforced norms and conventional rules, human justice, while Themis represented divine justice. In addition, she was considered a young woman holding a balance scale, whereas Themis was depicted in the same way and blindfolded. Therefore Dike embodied fair judgment and moral order when it came to Lady Justice.
One of the most prominent figures and allegorical personifications to ever exist is Lady Justice. Almost all high courts in the world feature a sculpture of Lady Justice, distinguished by the many symbolic insignia she wears and carries.
The modern concept of Lady Justice is most similar to the Roman goddess Justitia. Justitia has become the ultimate symbol of justice in Western civilization. But she is not the Roman counterpart of Themis. Instead, Justitia’s Greek counterpart is Dike, who is Themis’ daughter. Justitia’s blindfold, scales, toga, and sword each hold meanings that together represent unbiased justice and law.
In Hinduism, Durga is one of the deities who are in eternal opposition to the forces of evil and fight against demons. She is a figure of protection and a goddess who signifies justice and the victory of good over evil.
The name Durga in Sanskrit means ‘a fort’, indicating a place difficult to take over. This represents her nature as an invincible, impassable, and impossible-to-defeat goddess.
Inanna, also known as Ishtar, is an ancient Sumerian goddess of war, justice, and political power, as well as love, beauty, and sex. Viewed as a daughter of the moon god Sin (or Nanna), Inanna had a massive cult following and was a highly popular deity. In earlier times, her symbol was a bundle of reeds, but later became a rose or a star during the Sargonic period. She was also seen as the goddess of the morning and evening stars, as well as the rain and lightning goddess.
A Norse deity, Baldr was seen as the god of the summer sun and was beloved by all. His name meant brave, defiant, or prince. He was wise, fair, and just, and was associated with peace and justice. As the symbol of the summer sun in northern Europe and Scandinavia, Baldr’s premature death in the Norse myths signified the coming of dark times and the eventual end of the world.
Another Norse god of justice and reconciliation, Forseti (which means the presiding one or the president) was the son of Baldr and Nanna. Even though he wields a large, often depicted as two-headed, golden axe, Forseti was a peaceful and calm deity. His axe wasn’t a symbol of strength or power but of authority. Little is known of Forseti, and although he’s one of the major deities of the Norse pantheon, he doesn’t feature in many myths.
Also known as Yamaraja, Kala, or Dharmaraja, Yama is the Hindu god of death justice. Yama rules over Yamaloka, the Hindu version of Hell where sinners are tormented and is responsible for meting out punishments to sinners and for dispensing the law. In Hindu mythology, Yama is described as the first man who died, thus becoming the trailblazer of mortality and death.
The chief deity of Babylon, Marduk was the protector and patron of Babylon and one of the most important deities of Mesopotamia. A god of thunderstorms, compassion, healing, magic, and regeneration, Marduk was also the deity of justice and fairness. Marduk’s symbols could be seen everywhere in Babylon. He was typically depicted riding a chariot, holding a spear, scepter, bow, or a thunderbolt.
The Iranian god of the sun, war, and of justice, Mithra was worshiped in pre-Zoroastrian Iran. The worship of Mithra is known as Mithraism, and even after Zoroastrianism took over the region, the veneration of Mithra continued. Mithra is associated with the Vedic god Mitra and the Roman god Mithras. Mithra was the protector of order and law, and the omnipotent god of justice.