Quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi
Quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi is a Latin phrase, literally "What is permissible for Jove is not permissible for an ox" in reference to the myth wherein Jupiter took the form of a bull to seduce Europa. In his play Heauton Timorumenos, Terence, a playwright of the Roman Republic, coined a similar phrase, Aliis si licet, tibi non licet. The version referring to Jove was probably created in the Middle Ages.
The phrase is often translated as "Gods may do what cattle may not". It indicates the existence of a double standard (justifiable or otherwise), and essentially means "what is permitted to one person or group, is not permitted to everyone." It is also used as the maxim for victor's justice, where a State that wins a war tries and punishes the vanquished, while avoiding such procedures with their own personnel.
- The Concise Dictionary of Foreign Quotations, edited by Anthony Lejeune, 1998.
- "Terence: Heauton Timorumenos". Retrieved March 27, 2014.
- D. J. Boggs, Challenges to the Rule of Law: Or, Quod Licet Jovi Non Licet Bovi. Cato S. Ct. Rev. 2007: 7-18