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0616: Astraea (Justice) leaves the Earth. Painting by Salvator Rosa, 1615-1673. Künsthistorische Museum, Wien.

"…listen to right and do not foster violence…The better path is to go by on the other side towards Justice; for Justice beats Outrage when she comes at length to the end of the race…" (Hesiod, Works and Days, 214ff.).

"Neither famine nor disaster ever haunt men who do true justice…But for those who practice violence and cruel deeds far-seeing Zeus, the son of Cronos, ordains a punishment. Often even a whole city suffers for a bad man who sins and devises presumptuous deeds…" (Hesiod, Works and Days, 230ff.).

"And there is virgin Justice, the daughter of Zeus, who is honored and reverenced among the gods who dwell on Olympus, and whenever anyone hurts her with lying slander, she sits beside her father, Zeus the son of Cronos, and tells him of men's wicked heart, until the people pay for the mad folly of their princes who, evilly minded, pervert judgement and give sentence crookedly." (Hesiod, Works and Days, 255ff.).

"…a life passed in power and great fortune and authority needs justice to make it divine; by injustice it is made bestial." (Plutarch, Parallel Lives Aristides 6.4).

"Wealth I desire to have; but wrongfully to get it, I do not wish. Justice, even if slow, is sure." (Solon. Plutarch, Parallel Lives Solon 2.3).

Sancho: "Según lo que aquí he visto, es tan buena la justicia, que es necesario que se use aun entre los mesmos ladrones."

(Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quijote de la Mancha, Segunda Parte, Capítulo LX).

Sancho: "Well, justice must needs be a good thing, and the old proverb still holds good, 'Thieves are never rogues among themselves'"

(Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote, Part II, Chapter LX).

Dike is Justice, a great goddess, worshipped by all and denied by none.

Dike is Justice, also called Astraea (starry) because she is the constellation of the Virgin (Virgo). During the Golden Age, she had her dwelling on earth, and was still upon the earth in the Silver Age. At that time, no nations were attacked in war, and there were no fleets, for no one knew how to sail, but instead they took care of their fields. Gradually mankind became less observant of duty and more greedy, and so Dike associated more rarely with men and rebuked them harshly:

"Behold what manner of race the fathers of the Golden Age left behind them! Far meaner than themselves! but you will breed a viler progeny! Verily wars and cruel bloodshed shall be unto men and grievous woe shall be laid upon them." (Dike to the men of the Silver Age. Aratus, Phaenomena 123).

As men became more and more diseased, the Race of Bronze was born. These were the first to forge the sword of the highwayman, and the first to eat of the flesh of the ploughing-ox. Justice detested this race, and not being able to endure any more, she left the earth and went to heaven, establishing herself near Bootes (Bear-Watcher) as the constellation of Virgo.

Sisters of Dike

Dike, who is one of the HORAE, has been called the secure foundation of cities, as has Eirene 1 (Peace). Along with their sister Eunomia (Order), they are the guardians of wealth for all men.

Great goddess

Justice is so great a goddess that nobody ever dare go against her openly, and so she is worshipped by the whole of mankind. And it is said that whoever does not make pretension to Justice must needs be mad. Mankind is often seen divided into groups which continuously stand against each other, having arguments about every imaginable thing. So, for example, those who are for "red" say "we are red", and those who are for "white" say "we are white"; and so there are, in most situations, "reds" and "whites", and sometimes also "pinks." But mankind can hardly be divided into those who worship Justice, and those who are against worshipping her; for both "reds" and "whites", and even "pinks", claim to be her greatest worshippers. So some of them will say: "We the reds know how to worship Justice." And the others will similarly declare: "We the whites are the true worshippers of Justice." So no matter how unjust anyone may be when acting in private or public life, none will ever be seen making declarations against Justice herself. And if anyone acts unjustly, he will conceal his deed by all means, just as if he had stolen something from a temple. Instead he will go on pretending to be a true follower and worshipper of Justice. For it is a great shame to fail to worship Dike, and no one dares to stand against her openly.

No one defends Injustice

Parents and children alike claim to be just, and both teachers and pupils claim to be just, and so do businessmen, chiefs, judges, generals, and priests. But also thieves have the same claim, and those who attack others, or take bloody revenge, also claim to be assisted by Dike. That is why Orestes 2 says:

"… not without justice did I slay my mother …" (Aeschylus. Libation-Bearers 1026).

In other words: the man doesn't exist who would defy Dike and openly declare: "I worship Injustice." And if someone utters those words, he is immediately regarded as a madman or a fool. Such is the power of this goddess, who thus controls the tongues of men, their written declarations, their contracts, and many other things. For proclamations against Dike are impossible to be found, and every State on earth continuously invokes her, knowing that it would not be able to exist without her. And only a lunatic could dream of founding a State upon injustice—an impossible thing. Such is the extraordinary power and influence of this goddess. And being so great, there is no mortal that does not wish to be regarded as a faithful worshipper of Dike, thus earning the honor of being called "Just." For those who do not partake in Justice, and are therefore called "unjust," are justly regarded as wretched or evil men.

More important than profession

When learning about other men and women, people do not just ask about their trade and profession, whether he or she is a physician, a farmer, a public servant, or a soldier, but also whether he or she is a just person. For only a fool wishes to meet a physician who deals in poisons, or a farmer who cheats, or a public servant who abuses his power, or a soldier who acts like a bandit. In short, very few love to meet people who do not know about Justice, and even a robber would prefer to share with a man who worships Dike, than with someone who doesn't. This is why the popularity of Dike is always close to 100%. No doubt that she would win every election in every country if she cared to run for office. For, as it may be noticed, every candidate in every democracy is always referring to her, quoting her, and making promises in her name. And tyrants cannot stop talking about her either, or stop putting on her garments in their public appearances. Regardless of the social system or the colors of the flag, everybody praises Dike as much as possible. For deep in their hearts they know that, no matter how things look like, this goddess cannot be defeated. And those who secretly oppose her, can only hope, at best, to live the impoverished life of the wicked.

RI.1-1019: Dike and Adikia (Justice and Injustice). Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher (Göttingen, 1845- Dresden, 1923), Ausfürliches Lexikon der griechisches und römisches Mythologie, 1884.

Everything above could be nonsense

And yet, all this could be nonsense, for many believe in their hearts (though they are reluctant to say it aloud) that they might achieve happiness by depriving others of their share, or by having their will done by the support of force. That is why some say that the just man always comes out at a disadvantage in his relation with the unjust. For in all his dealings, the unjust man always manages to seize the lion-share, whereas the just man gets the rabbit's out of their partnership. And when it comes to paying taxes, the just man pays more and the unjust less. But when social benefits are distributed, the unjust man receives more and the just man less. And when a just man holds office, he profits nothing from the state, is unwilling to serve his friends unjustly, and as a result his own affairs fall into disorder. But when the unjust man holds office, he knows how to take advantage of his position, pleasing his acquaintances with every kind of privileges, and becoming richer himself. A pleasant life, this man reasons, is equal to the largest possible amount of inflow.

Itching and scratching

But then again, others affirm that a large amount of inflow normally increases the outflow, and that these men feel compelled to constantly increase their share, or else suffer extreme distress, and that therefore neither happiness nor freedom can be found in their lives. Rather, itching and scratching. For they have an itch and they want to scratch, and they may scratch in all freedom, and also pass their lives happily in continual scratching. But he who follows Dike, it is said, has no itch.

Dike fairest

Money-making is a wonderful thing: it relieves mortal citizens from poverty. And medicine is also quite extraordinary: it vanquishes diseases. But Dike, some reason, is even fairer than those two, and yields greater benefit and pleasure, for nothing is more painful than being wicked. And for that reason they also believe that it is far worse to wrong than to be wronged.

The superiority of Dike

The superiority of Dike, it is said, is proved by the fact that all unjust men or unjust states, have to rely on Justice in order to perform any undertaking. Upon injustice nothing can be built, and even robbers could not achieve anything if they were continuously wronging each other. And this, they affirm, reveals the power of Dike, and shows that success is proportional to the degree in which she is practically honored. This is why Dike's power is present whenever a state is founded, or a family, or an army, or even a gang of thieves, making possible any action in common. Without her, they assert, each thing would be enemy to itself, being incapable of cooperation, and a victim of faction and dispute. Accordingly, it is believed that if men or states were thoroughly unjust, they could accomplish nothing. But when they do carry out something, it is because some amount of justice has prevented them from wronging each other, letting them work for their common good. And that proves, they conclude, that Justice is indispensable if any success is to be achieved.


Parentage (two versions)


Astraeus 1 & Eos

Astraeus 1 has been called father of the stars. He is the son of the Titan Crius 1 and Eurybia 1, daughter of Pontus (Sea) and Gaia (Earth).

Related sections

Apd.1.3.1; Ara.Phae.105ff.; Hes.The.902; Hes.WD.256; Hyg.Ast.2.25; Hyg.Fab.183; Nonn.6.249, 40.1; Ov.Fast.1.24; Pin.Oly.13.7; Pla.Pro.323a et seq.; Pla.Gor.471a, 478b, 489a, 492c, 494c; Pla.Rep.343d, 352c; QS.13.378; Stat.Theb.2.360.