PBP: J is for Justice (Dike)

Yeah I know that this isn’t very creative but I really have been stuck for about a week on what to write as nothing was really coming to mind. So this is the best y’all are getting for the letter J. But that said, she is a very important figure as Dike is the goddess who sees all acts of injustice and acts against them, and likewise hears all falsehoods and witnesses all treachery. With that in mind, consider too that she is considered the councillor of Zeus and it certainly sets a certain weight on her importance, as she not only imparts all that she witnesses, but also often personally carries out action against injustice.

Of course in the U.S, we like to imagine Dike as a figure which is blinded. Blind justice. On one hand I can imagine that it is supposed to represent that justice is blind to social status, ethnicity, wealth etc, but on the other, especially in these times, it seems that blinding her can also make her seem as a goddess who is not capable of seeing injustice, and her scales are weighted down and tampered with as she stands unknowing with sword in hand. So, whereas in my youth I appreciated the image of the blinded Dike because of what that represented, it seems anymore that I have become jaded towards what we call “justice” that is so against the divine providence of Dike who is the defender of law….to a degree mortal law, but to a greater degree the greater laws of nature and the gods, so much so that it is not surprising to see Dike equated directly as the same being as her mother Themis who bore her from union with Zeus. If Themis provides divine law, Dike is that law which she has born forth for divine law itself is not injustice. The only injust laws are the fallable ones of humanity, and in such we can make good laws or good order by Eunomia which is but an echoe of the right law, the divine law, of Themis . In such fashion Dike is also the law of her father even as she is the law of her mother. This is what makes her the perfect councillor of Zeus who is as father and judge of all men and gods. Naturally, Dike brings forth her own result that we see in her own daughter Hesykhia, or Tranquility. For one who lives in accordance to Dike, who is not injust, nor acting in an unlawful manner and deceitful, nor filled with hubris, experiences happiness and contentment. Making it even more so reasonable that Dike herself is part of a triumvate of goddess bent towards this end, her two sisters being Eunomia, or Good Order or Lawfulness, and Eirene, or Peace. But to get back to my point, I see no reason to make Justice blind, because by her nature she sees all but has a different system of value. It is not necessary to make her blind. For it is said by Aeschylus in Agamemnon: “From gilded mansions, where men’s hands are foul, she departs with averted eyes and makes her way to pure homes; she does not worship the power of wealth stamped counterfeit by the praise of men, and she guides all things to their proper end.” Dike will happily dwell with the humble and poor, if they hold justice and rightful action in regard.

Of course there are other gods with whom Dike can be associated with remotely. As Apollon is a god of truth, I have often considered him a protector of law which would be a part of his nature as a god of the demos in Athens and god of the assembly in Sparta. He is the preserver of divine law. It was for this reason that it inspired me some months ago to write a poem regarding Justice and Apollon against the injust legal systems. And then there is Ares too, whom Dike has been depicted, by the aid of Hermes, to have Ares chained that the implimentation of war should be controlled by Justice with the aid of Intelligence (represented by Hermes). But Dike is foremost devoted to her father Zeus, as by Dike he overthrew his father’s injust rule, for which she sits by the throne of her father as stated in a fragment of Aeschylus. On his part she follows every man and woman, to speaks of all she sees into the ear of her father, and she is established by Zeus and the Fates to bring Justice to men and punish those who are injust, represented by an image of her striking the personification of injustice with a hammer.

There are some versions of astral myth which say that the constellation of Virgo, the maiden holding the wheathead, is alternatively not Persephone but rather Dike who, in disgust with the ages of man that followed the golden age, removed herself to heavens where she watches over all. However it makes a certain sense that Virgo could represent both goddesses, as both goddesses are children of earth goddesses (respectively Demeter and Themis), and Persephone’s passage into her marriage represents part of the divine order and law that blesses mankind who embraces her with tranquility/peace of mind and heart rewarded to those who submit themselves to divine law and act justly.

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