Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur

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Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur, a Latin phrase, means "The world wants to be deceived, so let it be deceived."


The saying is ascribed to Petronius, a Roman satirist from the first century AD.[1]

Other attributions include the following:

  • "Mundus vult decipi." Sebastian Franck, Paradoxa Ducenta Octoginta, CCXXXVIII (1542) "The world loves to be deceived." [2]
  • "Au[gu]stin[e], lib. 4. de civitat. Dei, cap. 27. censures ' Scævola saying and acknowledging expedire civitates religione falli, that it was a fit thing cities should be deceived by religion, according to the diverbe, Si mundus vult decipi, decipiatur, if the world will be gulled, let it be gulled, ’tis good howsoever to keep it in subjection." [3]
  • "The pontifex maximus Scævola thought it expedient that the people should be deceived in religion; and the learned Varro said plainly, that there are many truths, which it is useless for the vulgar to know; and many falsities which it is fit the people should not suppose are falsities. (Note: Vid Augustin. de civ. Dei, B. 4 [...].) Hence comes the adage "Mundus vult decipi, decipiatur ergo." [4]


  1. ^ Javier Martínez, Mundus vult decipi, Ediciones Clásicas, Madrid, 2012, p. 9 ff.; ISBN 84-7882-738-2
  2. ^ Thomas Benfield Harbottle, Dictionary of Quotations (Classical), The Macmillan Co., 1906
  3. ^ Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, Part 3, Sect. 4. Memb. 1. Subs. 2. (Nicolas K. Kiessling, Thomas C. Faulkner, Rhonda L. Blair (editors), Oxford University Press, Vol. 3, 1990, p. 347)
  4. ^ Plutarchus, and Theophrastus, on Superstition; with Various Appendices, and a Life of Plutarchus, Daniel Wyttenbach (translator), Printed by Julian Hibbert, No. 1 Fitzroy Place, Kentish Town, 1828, First Appendix: p5