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Reply #: A random web search: Goddesses with a scale [View All]

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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-05-13 02:14 AM
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A random web search: Goddesses with a scale
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We associate with scales Justia, Roman goddess of Justice, and Minerva, Roman goddess of wisdom, war, arts and crafts, schools, medicine and commerce. (Minerva was born from the godhead of Jupiter with weapons.) Minerva came down to the Romans from the Etruscans

First, I note as an aside that it is odd that Romans assigned goddesses to these things, that were carried out almost exclusively by men.

Passing that, we (I, anyway) have tended to assume that the scales represent lofty and pure ideals.

However, that is not necessarily what they represented to the Romans who associated the scale with those two goddesses.

The small, hand-held balance scales used by bankers and moneychangers became a potent symbol on Roman coins. In the modern world we are familiar with this type of scales as a legal symbol, usually carried by a female personfication of Justice. In Rome, however, the symbolic value of these scales always retained a practical association with money and commerce. From the mid-first century CE emperors began minting coins with the goddess Aequitas, often identified as a quality of the emperor, AEQVITAS AVG or AVGVSTI. Aequitas means essentially evenness, flatness, symmetry, for which a balance scale provides an excellent visual representation; the emperors apparently used this personified goddess to emphasize their guarantee of fairness and equity with regard to the entire Roman monetary system. The goddess is usually shown also holding a cornucopia, which indicates the abundance and wealth produced by an economy in which the weights of coins are reliable and the merchants employ honestly balanced scales.

It is not surprising that Vespasian frequently used this symbolism on his coins, to emphasize his restoration of balance in the Roman economy after the upheavals caused by the excesses of Nero and the civil wars that followed his death. This double-struck denarius was issued in 70 CE:.....

Interesting that Justice, war, etc. were all associcated with money in Rome (as were many of the gods and goddesses, whose images, as imagined by the Romans, appeared on Roman coins, along with the emperors, some of whom were supposed to be gods. (Secular power, deity and money all came together as well.)

So, it's nothing new. I don't know whether that is comforting or depressing, but I found it interesting.
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