Quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi

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Quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi is a Latin phrase, literally "What is permissible for Jupiter may not be permissible for a bull". The locus classicus (origin) for the phrase is the novella Aus dem Leben eines Taugenichts (1826) by Joseph Freiherr von Eichendorff, although it is not entirely clear that Eichendorff coined the phrase himself. In his play Heauton Timorumenos,[1] Terence, a playwright of the Roman Republic, coined a similar phrase, Aliis si licet, tibi non licet ("to others it is permitted; to you it is not permitted").

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 important person or group, is not permitted to everyone."[2]

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  1. ^ "Terence: Heauton Timorumenos". Retrieved 2016-06-07.
  2. ^ Danny J. Boggs. Challenges to the Rule of Law: Or, Quod Licet Jovi Non Licet Bovi. Cato Supreme Court Review 2006-2007. Cato Institute. pp. 7–18.