A reader sent an e-mail question on the origin of the Lady of Justice. This page includes only the brief statement given in answer to the question.
Image: Justice by Raphael. Vatican Museums.
A daughter of Themis and Zeus, Dike, known as a goddess of justice but not divine justice, presided over the apportionment of things among mortals, the protection of individuals and the keeping of social and political order. She carried a sword without a scale of justice. At times Dike is said to be the same (or is she confused with?) Astraea. Astraea is also said to be a daughter of Themis and Zeus and is known as a goddess of justice. Also known as daughter of Eos and Astraeus 1, her head was crowned with ears of grain and for its measure carried a balance or scale. Astraea was the last of the immortals to leave earth after the Golden Age. She has also been called a goddess of purity and innocence. She became the constellation Virgo. Dike left earth when the Race of Bronze was born.
The Egyptians honored Maat, the daughter of the sun god, Ra. She also carried a sword but without a scale of justice.
Justitia, a Roman goddess of justice, wore a blindfold. She had been depicted with sword and scales, but was not always so.
Representations of the Lady of Justice in the Western tradition occur in many places and at many times. She sometimes wears a blindfold, more so in Europe, but more often she appears without one. She usually carries a sword and scales. Almost always draped in flowing robes, mature but not old, no longer commonly known as Themis, she symbolizes the fair and equal administration of the law, without corruption, avarice, prejudice, or favor.