Aequitas on the reverse of this antoninianus struck under Claudius II. The goddess is holding her symbols, the balance and the cornucopia.

Aequitas (genitive aequitatis) is the Latin concept of justice, equality, conformity, symmetry, or fairness.[1] It is the origin of the English word "equity".[2][3] In ancient Rome, it could refer to either the legal concept of equity,[4] or fairness between individuals.[5]

Cicero defined aequitas as "tripartite": the first, he said, pertained to the gods above (ad superos deos) and is equivalent to pietas, religious obligation; the second, to the Manes, the underworld spirits or spirits of the dead, and was sanctitas, that which is sacred; and the third pertaining to human beings (homines) was iustitia, "justice".[6]

During the Roman Empire, Aequitas as a divine personification was part of the religious propaganda of the emperor, under the name Aequitas Augusti,[7] which also appeared on coins.[8] She is depicted on coins holding a cornucopia and a balance scale (libra),[9] which was more often a symbol of "honest measure" to the Romans than of justice.[10]


  1. ^ Jordan, Michael (2014-05-14). Dictionary of Gods and Goddesses. Infobase Publishing. p. 6. ISBN 978-1-4381-0985-5.
  2. ^ "Equity | Origin and meaning of equity by Online Etymology Dictionary". Online Etymology Dictionary. Archived from the original on September 29, 2022.
  3. ^ Jr, Daniel L. Rentfro (2019-10-29). The Law of Freedom: Justice and Mercy in the Practice of Law. Wipf and Stock Publishers. ISBN 978-1-5326-5102-1.
  4. ^ Vit-Suzan, Ilan (2016-04-15). Architectural Heritage Revisited: A Holistic Engagement of its Tangible and Intangible Constituents. Routledge. p. 54. ISBN 978-1-317-17950-4.
  5. ^ Quentin Skinner, Visions of Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2002), p. 49 online. See also George Mousourakis, The Historical and Institutional Context of Roman Law (Ashgate, 2003), pp. 28, 32–35.
  6. ^ Cicero, Topica 90, as cited by Jerzy Linderski, "Q. Scipio Imperator," in Imperium sine fine: T. Robert S. Broughton and the Roman Republic (Franz Steiner, 1996), p. 175.
  7. ^ Adkins, Lesley; Adkins, Roy A.; Adkins, Both Professional Archaeologists Roy A. (2014-05-14). Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome. Infobase Publishing. p. 281. ISBN 978-0-8160-7482-2.
  8. ^ J. Rufus Fears, "The Cult of Virtues and Roman Imperial Ideology," Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt II.17.2 (1981), pp. 897–898, 900, 903–904.
  9. ^ McIntyre, Gwynaeth; McCallum, Sarah (2019-01-24). Uncovering Anna Perenna: A Focused Study of Roman Myth and Culture. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 120. ISBN 978-1-350-04844-7.
  10. ^ Linderski, "Q. Scipio Imperator," p. 175.