Dikē

Lady Justice greek Themis or roman Justitia

Ἡ δέ τε παρθένος ἐστὶ Δίκη, Διὸς ἐκγεγαυῖα,
κυδρή τ᾽ αἰδοίη τε θεοῖς οἳ Ὄλυμπον ἔχουσιν·
καί ῥ᾽ ὁπότ᾽ ἄν τίς μιν βλάπτῃ σκολιῶς ὀνοτάζων,
αὐτίκα πὰρ Διὶ πατρὶ καθεζομένη Κρονίωνι
γηρύετ᾽ ἀνθρώπων ἄδικον νόον, ὄφρ᾽ ἀποτείσῃ
δῆμος ἀτασθαλίας βασιλέων, οἳ λυγρὰ νοέοντες
ἄλλῃ παρκλίνωσι δίκας σκολιῶς ἐνέποντες.
ταῦτα φυλασσόμενοι, βασιλῆς, ἰθύνετε μύθους,
δωροφάγοι, σκολιῶν δὲ δικέων ἐπὶ πάγχυ λάθεσθε.
οἷ τ᾽ αὐτῷ κακὰ τεύχει ἀνὴρ ἄλλῳ κακὰ τεύχων,
ἡ δὲ κακὴ βουλὴ τῷ βουλεύσαντι κακίστη.
πάντα ἰδὼν Διὸς ὀφθαλμὸς καὶ πάντα νοήσας
καί νυ τάδ᾽, αἴ κ᾽ ἐθέλῃσ᾽, ἐπιδέρκεται, οὐδέ ἑ λήθει
οἵην δὴ καὶ τήνδε δίκην πόλις ἐντὸς ἐέργει.
νῦν δὴ ἐγὼ μήτ᾽ αὐτὸς ἐν ἀνθρώποισι δίκαιος
εἴην μήτ᾽ ἐμὸς υἱός, ἐπεὶ κακὸν ἄνδρα δίκαιον
ἔμμεναι, εἰ μείζω γε δίκην ἀδικώτερος ἕξει·
ἀλλὰ τά γ᾽ οὔ πω ἔολπα τελεῖν Δία μητιόεντα.
(Hesiod, Erga kai Hēmerai 256-273)

There is a maiden, Justice, born of Zeus, celebrated and revered by the gods who dwell on Olympus, and whenever someone harms her by crookedly scorning her, she sits down at once beside her father Zeus, Cronus’ son, and proclaims the unjust mind of human beings, so that he will take vengeance upon the people for the wickedness of their kings, who think baneful thoughts and bend judgments to one side by pronouncing them crookedly. Bear this in mind, kings, and straighten your discourses, you gift-eaters, and put crooked judgments quite out of your minds. A man contrives evil for himself when he contrives evil for someone else, and an evil plan is most evil for the planner. Zeus’ eye, which sees all things and knows all things, perceives this too, if he so wishes, and he is well aware just what kind of justice this is which the city has within it. Right now I myself would not want to be a just man among human beings, neither I nor a son of mine, since it is evil for a man to be just if the more unjust one will receive greater justice. But I do not anticipate that the counsellor Zeus will let things end up this way. (tr. Glenn W. Most)

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