Baring the Aegis: Hellenismos
Hellenismos, otherwise known as Greek Reconstructionist Paganism, is the traditional, polytheistic religion of ancient Greece, reconstructed in and adapted to the modern world. It's a vibrant religion which can draw on a surprising amount of ancient sources. Baring the Aegis blogger Elani Temperance blogs about her experiences within this Tradition.
Dikē, Theia of justice
Administering justice is often placed in the sphere of influence of either Athena or Nemesis, and both Goddesses do, indeed, have connections to it. There is one Theia, however, who is the personification of the phenomenon of justice. Dikē (Δικη) is the Goddess of justice placed upon mortals, fair judgements and the rights established by custom and law. According to Hesiod, She was born from a joining of Zeus and Themis, the Titan Goddess of divine law, custom and prophecy. She has five sisters, Eunomia (Ευνομια, Goddess of good order and lawful conduct) and Eirênê (Ειρηνη, Goddess of peace and spring), with whom Dikē forms the Horai (Ὡραι), the Goddesses of the seasons and the natural portions of time; and the Moirai, the Goddesses of fate. Their names are Kloto (Κλωθώ, spinner), Atropos (Ἄτροπος, unturnable), and Lakhesis (Λάχεσις, Alotter).
Returning to Dikē's genealogy: her family tree would look as follows:
It should be noted that Aratos' Astraia was born not to Zeus and Themis, but to Astraios (Ἀστραῖος) and Eos (Ἠώς). Eos's family line is quite clear, as She is said to have Hyperion and Euryphaessa as Her parents. Astraisos' family line is less clear, with options ranging from Krios and Eurybia to Tartaros and Gaea. As such, it is far more logical to place Her into the sky after Her departure from earth than at Zeus's feet.
Aeschylus wrote of the fucntion and tasks of Dikē the best, I feel, although the final lines are mostly lost to us:
"Dike: And he [Zeus] has his seat upon his father's very throne, having overcome Kronos by means of Justice (Dike); for Zeus can now boast, since his father began the quarrel, that he paid him back with Justice on his side. That is why Zeus has done me great honour, because after being attacked he paid him back, not unjustly. I sit in glory by the throne of Zeus, and he of his own will sends me to those he favours; I mean Zeus, who has sent me to this land with kind intent. And you shall see for yourselves whether my words are empty.
Chorus: How then shall we rightly address you?
Dike: By the name of Dike, her who is greatly revered in heaven.
Chorus: And of what privilege are you the mistress?
Dike: As for the just, I reward their life of justice.
Chorus: (...) this ordinance among mortals.
Dike: But in the reckless I implant a chastened mind.
Chorus: By Persuasion's [Peitho] spells, or in virtue of your might?
Dike: I write their offences on the tablet of Zeus.
Chorus: And at what season do you unroll the list of crimes?
Dike: When the proper time brings the fulfilment of what is theirs by right.
Chorus: Eagerly, I think, should the host welcome you.
Dike: Much would they gain, should they receive me kindly." (part of frag. 282)
Dikē is regarded as a great Goddess whom no one mortal man or woman would defy openly. We all claim our actions are justified (even when they are not so in the eyes of others), and in an argument, even opposites call upon Her, because they are sure She will favor them. Both the oppressors in a war, as the oppressed will say Dikē is on their side, and even thieves and murderers are sure that what they did was just. We had to do it, in order to feed our families, protect our spouse, etc. All are right to call upon Dikē--whose Roman equivalent Iustice became Lady Justice--but it is up to Zeus to pass the final judgement. At that time, He will send Nemesis to strike down the unjust party.
All mortals do well to honor Dikē, she can be petitioned for guidance in times when moral and ethical questions weigh heavily upon you. Dikē can not be bribed, however, and unlike us mortals, She knows exactly when an action is just. Petition Her for counsel, but never expect Her to lie to Zeus about your actions. If you must request something as extreme as that, you can be sure Nemesis will not be on your side.
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