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Opulentia tyranni paupertas

A wealthy ruler means poor subjects

Humani quod splen est corporis, in populi re
Hoc Caesar[1] fiscum dixerat esse suum.
Splene aucto, reliqui tabescunt corporis artus.
Fisco aucto, arguitur civica pauperies.

It was a saying of Caesar that the imperial treasury has the same relation to the people as the spleen has to the human body: if the spleen is enlarged, all the other members of the body waste away. A swollen treasury is proof of poverty among the citizens.


1. The Emperor Trajan (as clarified in the commentary in other editions), one of the five ‘Good Emperors’. See Aurelius Victor, Epitome de Caesaribus, 42.21; Erasmus, Apophthegmata, 8.

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  • official acts of rulers, e.g. royal acts (ruler giving audience, granting mercy, etc.; ruler and his subjects) [44B12] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • bad government [44B620] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Wealth, Opulence; 'Opulenza', 'Richezza' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [55B1(+4):44B119] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • Poverty; 'Povertà', 'Povertà del doni', 'Povertà in uno ch'habbia bell'ingegno' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [55BB1(+4):44C1] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • the story of the justice of Trajan [98B(TRAJAN)51] Search | Browse Iconclass

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