Under the name Aequitas Augusti, which also appeared on coins, Aequitas served as a divine personification in the Roman Empire and was a part of the emperor’s religious propaganda.
She is seen carrying a cornucopia and a balancing scale (libra), which to the Romans was more frequently a representation of “honest measure” than of justice. The Latin word meaning justice, equity, conformance, symmetry, or fairness is aequitas. It is where the term “equity” in English comes from.
Aequitas was described by Cicero as “tripartite,” with the first part having to do with the gods above (ad superos deos) and being equivalent to pietas, a religious duty; the second part having to do with the Manes, the underworld spirits or spirits of the dead, and being sanctitas, that which is sacred; and the third having to do with humans (homines) and being iustitia, “justice.”
Featured image: Aequitas on the reverse of this antoninianus struck under Claudius II. The goddess is holding her symbols, the balance and the cornucopia.
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