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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, one of the five ‘Good Emperors’. See Aurelius Victor, Epitome de Caesaribus, 42.21; Erasmus, Apophthegmata, 8.

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Iconclass Keywords

Relating to the image:

Relating to the text:

  • bad government [44B620] Search | Browse Iconclass
  • official acts of rulers, e.g. royal acts (ruler giving audience, granting mercy, etc.; ruler and his subjects) [44B12] 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
  • Wealth, Opulence; 'Opulenza', 'Richezza' (Ripa) (+ emblematical representation of concept) [55B1(+4):44B119] Search | Browse Iconclass

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