Angilbert (fl. ca. 840/50), On the Battle Which was Fought at Fontenoy

The Law of Christians is broken,
Blood by the hands of hell profusely shed like rain,
And the throat of Cerberus bellows songs of joy.

Angelbertus, Versus de Bella que fuit acta Fontaneto

Fracta est lex christianorum
Sanguinis proluvio, unde manus inferorum,
gaudet gula Cerberi.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

DIKH-An Orphic Hymn to Equity

O Blessed Equity, mankind's delight,
Th' eternal friend of conduct just and right:
Abundant, venerable, honor'd maid,
To judgments pure, dispensing constant aid,
A stable conscience, and an upright mind;
For men unjust, by thee are undermin'd,
Whose souls perverse thy bondage ne'er desire,
But more untam'd decline thy scourges dire:
Harmonious, friendly power, averse to strife,
In peace rejoicing, and a stable life;
Lovely, loquacious, of a gentle mind,
Hating excess, to equal deeds inclin'd:
Wisdom, and virtue of whate'er degree,
Receive their proper bound alone in thee.
Hear, Goddess Equity, the deeds destroy
Of evil men, which human life annoy;
That all may yield to thee of mortal birth,
Whether supported by the fruits of earth,
Or in her kindly fertile bosom found,
or in the depths of Marine Jove profound.

("To Equity," Orphic Hymn LXII, Thomas Taylor, trans., The Hymns of Orpheus (London: 1792); see


O bona cura hominum locuples iustissima virgo,
Semper amans homines aequalia iura colentes,
O Veneranda, beata Dia, o Iuritis honora
Puris iudiciis dispensans optima iura,
Nec mentem labefacta, etenim cunctos labefactas
Qui tua non subiere boni iuga, sed magis ipsa
Indomiti horrifico declinant ubere flagri,
Concors omnibus aequa, venusta, dicacula, amica,
Munia pacis amans, certae cupidissima vitae
Nam plus deteriusque odisti, et diligis aequum,
In te habet virtus, in te sapientia finem,
Adsis Dia hominum frangens audacia facta,
Ut semper iustam aequa serant vestigia vitam
Omnium, qui terrae vescuntur munere opimo,
Atque animantum alium quaeque educat omniparenti
Alma sinu tellus, et quae maris aequoreus Dis.

From: Gottfried Hermann Orphica (1805).

From: The Book of Orphic Hymns (1827).

Dikē (Δίκη), also known as was Astraea. was the Greek goddess that personified justice or equity. According to the poet Hesiod, Dikē was the daughter of Zeus and Themis, and the sister of Eunomia ("good law" or "good order") and Eirene ("peace"). Hesiod, Theog. 901. She was one of the second-generation Horae, watcher of men's deeds, and advocate before Zeus whenever there was a violation of justice on earth. Hesiod, Work and Days, 239 ff. Before Zeus she lamented the violation of justice especially by judges who accepted bribes. Id. Not only was Dikē an advocate before Zeus, but she also had a role in piercing consciences with the sword of Aesa, and, in connection with the Erinyes, in meting out divine punishment. She did not punish only, but she also distributed out just deserts for acts of justice and virtue. These roles are particularly elaborated in the Greek tragedians such as Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. The Orphic Hymns and Pindar in his Thirteenth Olympian Ode, praise her.

From Themis sprung, Eunomia pure,
Safe Justice [Dikē,] and congenial Peace [Eirene],
Basis of states; whose counsels sure
With wealth and wisdom bless the word
world's increase.

Pindar, Olympian Ode XIII, in Nathan Haskell Dole, The Breviary Treasures (Boston 1903), 95.

While her mother Themis was charged with divine justice, Dikē was in charge of human justice. Her enemy was Adikia (Ἀδικία), the goddess of injustice. Pausanias, the Greek historian and traveler who flourished in the second century A.D., in his description fo the Chest of Kypselos, describes a variety of scenes, among them he observes: "A beautiful woman punishing an ugly one, throttling her with one hand and beating her with a stick with the other, is Justice [Dikē] doing this to Injustice [Adikia]. Pausanias, Guide to Greece (Peter Levi, trans.) (London: Penguin, 1971), Vol. II, 5.18.2, p. 251)

Dikē's daughter through virgin birth was Hesychia (Ἡσυχία), that is, serenity or peace.

Dikē's was blended with her mother Themis to arrive at the the Roman counterpart, Iustitia.

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