Justitiae

Justitia, the Roman goddess of Justice (in English often called "Lady Justice") is equivalent to the Greek goddess Dike (illegitimate and rather unknown daughter of Zeuss). "She is an allegorical personification of the moral force in judicial systems", whatever that means. In other words: "She is the spirit of moral order and fair judgement based on immemorial custom, in the sense of socially enforced norms and conventional rules". It's not so easy to define justice, it seems.
I collect Justitiae whenever I see them and have a camera ready. So far all but one Justitiae have a sword, quite a few but not all have a balance, and none has a sheath for her sword. That can only symbolize that they are not available for you know what.
Here is a particularly interesting one because she lives in Backnang, the town where I was born.
     
Justitia in Backnang; Germany
Justitia in Backnang; Germany
Source: Photographed there in 2012
     
The judicial system is not always pretty to behold, and that's sometimes also true for the Ladies symbolizing it.
     
Justitia in Coburg, Germany
Justitia in Coburg, Germany
Source: Photographed there in 2014
     
Jusitita in Lüneburg, Germany; homely one
Rather homely Justitia in Lüneburg; Germany
Source: Photographed there in 2012
     
Note that this one carries a real executioners sword, always without a tapered sharp tip (see below).
The Lüneburger in their heydays could afford a spare Justitia and made her a bit prettier:
     
Justita in Lueneburg, Germany; pretty one
Pretty Justitia in Lüneburg; Germany
Source: Photographed there in 2012
     
Here is a rather unusual one - no sword! She resides in a small castle in Schmalkalden, Germany (the one with the scythe weapon)
   
 
Justitia in Schmalkalden
Swordless Baroque Justitia in Schmalkalden; Germany
Source: Photographed there in 2013
     
This Justitia is engraved on a sword. The sword is a " Pallasch mit Scheide", Solingen 1664; inscribed "Me vecit Solingen". It might be alluding to the victory over Turks on Aug. 1664. The sword is shown in a Dresden museum.
     
Justitia "etched" or inlaid into a 17th century sword
     
Here is a new one - as far as sculptures go. She is not called Justitia but "Verity". However, according to the artist (Damien Hirst), she holds the traditional symbols denoting justice - a sword and scales. Hirst said: "without the perfect equilibrium enacted by the scales, the sword becomes a dangerous instrument of power, rather than justice". True - especially because his (20 tall, left-handed, 45.000 pounds) damsel also doesn't have a sheath and appears to have severely cut herself.
   
Verity; Damien Hirst
Verity, as seen in the Net
     
Here is a very nice and traditional one, found on top of some building in Dublin, Ireland. If she ever uses her sword, she would become partially undressed.
   
Justitia in Dublin
Irish Justitia
Source: Photographed there in 2015
     
Tallin,the capital of Estonia, sports a somewhat disraught Justitia:
   
Justitia in Tallin, Estonia
Estonian Justitia
Source: Photographed there in 2015
     
In Gdansk (Danzig), Poland, you find many Justitiae, all pretty. Here are three:
   
Justitia in Gdansk (Danzig)
   
Justitia in Gdansk (Danzig
   
Justitia in Gdansk (Danzig)
Justitiae in Gdansk
Source: Photographed there in 2015
     
Even in the old and unlamented DDR they had Justitias if not real justice. Here is one from the castle Heidecksburg in Rudlstadt, the residence of the princes to Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt. Contrary to general baroque traditions, this female is rather flat-breasted
   
Justitia in Rudolstadt
Rudolstadt Justitia
Source: Photographed there in 2017
     
Florence in Italy must have several justitiae, here is the one from the Dome Museum
   
Florenced Justitia
Florence Justitia. Blagio di Antonino Tuggi; around 1470
Source: photographed in the Museum in 2018
     
´´ Of course, the ufficies, world-famous art museum, boasts justitiae as well:
     
Floremce uficies justitia
Florence Justitia.
Source: photographed in the Museum in 2018
     
Siena in Italy, competing with Florence in the good old times, sports an interesting justitia somewhere around the town center.
   
Siena justitia
Siena Justitia
Source: photographed in Siena in 2018
     
She holds her sword like some disgusting object and isn't so fond of the scales either. In contrast to almost all other marble women found in Siena, Florence or other Italian cities of Renaissance fame, she is no only not bare breasted but rather heavily clothed. Fed up with meting out justice and with men, it seems.
A second one; inside the old City Hall (Pallazo Pubblico), is painted high up on the ceiling (by one Domenico Beccafumi around1530). She holds her sword in a monstrously large hand and her scale seems to be a dual purpose construction since it looks like it it also serves as her bra.
     
Siena justitia
Siena Justitia.
Source: photographed inSiena in 2018
     
Koper is a small but thriving harbour town in Slowenia with a really good Justitia up there on some old palace or town hall:
   
Justitia in Koper, Slowenia
Koper Justitia.
Source: photographed there in 2018
     
Brussels, the capital of Belgium (and of the European Union, sort of) features a pretty if confused looking Justitia with a particular hue sword:
   
Justitia in Brussell
Brussels Justitia.
Source: photographed there in 2019
     
In Rome right at the Tiber is an enormous palace of Justice with a Justitia (flanked by two groupies) sitting high above the entrance. She carries an oversize sword (no sheath, of course) and looks pretty grim:
   
Justita Rome
Justitia in Rome
Source: photographed there in 2019
     
Finally some real swords of justice without a Justitia attached:
  Note the blunt points. The second from the right sports an inscription saying something about giving eternal life to the poor sinner.
     
Executioners swords
(Used) executioners swords in Coburg; Germany
Source: Photographed there in 2014
     
With a sword, beheading was usually done with the delinquent standing, kneeling or siting in a chair. This took a bit of skill in proper aiming and misses tended to be messy. The use of an axe plus a block made thing a bit easier. Here is a sword and an axe / block combination, found in the town museum of Saalfeld, Germany:
     
Executioners sword (late medieval), robe plus axe and block (19th century)
Source: Photographed in Saalfeld in 2017
   
Signs of use
Source: Photographed in Saalfeld in 2017
     
As one can see, the aim was mostly pretty good but occasional misses did happen.
     

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go to Critical Museum Guide: Dresden

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go to Critical Museum Guide: Museums in Istanbul, Turkey

go to Critical Museum Guide: Roemer- und Pelizaeus-Museum, Hildesheim, Germany

go to Critical Museum Guide: Archaeological Museum in Heraklion (Crete)

go to Critical Museum Guide: Landesmuseum Schleswig-Holstein in Schleswig, Germany

go to Swords and Symbols

go to Old Sagas, Heroes and Swords

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© H. Föll (Iron, Steel and Swords script)