The Emperor (Tarot card)

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The Emperor (IV)

The Emperor (IV) is the fourth trump or Major Arcana card in traditional Tarot decks. It is used in game playing as well as in divination.


The Emperor sits on a ram-adorned throne, a symbol of Mars. His long white beard bearing the symbol of "wisdom".[1] He holds an Ankh scepter in his right hand, and a globe, symbol of domination, in his left. The Emperor sits atop a stark, barren mountain, a sign of "sterility of regulation, and unyielding power."[2] He symbolizes the top of the secular hierarchy, the ultimate male ego. The Emperor is the absolute ruler of the world.


The essential features of the design for The Emperor card have changed very little through the centuries. The Emperor sometimes got caught up in the censorship placed on the Papess (The High Priestess) and the Pope (The Hierophant), as when the Bolognese card makers replaced the Papess (High Priestess), Pope (Hierophant), Empress, and Emperor with four Moors or Turks. In the Minchiate, the first of the two Emperors are assigned number III because of the removal of the Papess (High Priestess) from the deck.

Alternative decks[3][edit]

  • The parallel, fourth Major Arcana card in the Osho Zen Tarot deck is called The Rebel, and carries some similar connotations.
  • In the Vikings Tarot Ullr depicts the Emperor. He is shown with a bow, a pair of skis, a shield, and a sleigh.
  • In the X/1999 Tarot version made by CLAMP, The Emperor is Kyougo Monou.
  • In The Legend of the Legendary Heroes Tarot, The Emperor is Sion Astarl.
  • In the Mythic Tarot deck, the Emperor is depicted by Zeus.

In pop culture[edit]

  • The Emperor is the name of the final boss in The House of the Dead 2 (produced by Sega.) and is depicted as a Shape-Shifting Liquid Creature. All of the bosses in the House of the Dead series are named after the Major Arcana.
  • In Saint Seiya Episode G series, Saga of Gemini is depicted as The Emperor in the tarot cards version of the manga.
  • In the SNES video game Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen, the Emperor is portrayed as a shaggy bearded king wearing blue robes and a crown, standing upright, with both hands resting on a scepter. On drawing the Tarot card after liberation of one of the towns, it increases the characters' charisma by 2, and when used in battle, it gives each of them an extra attack point.[4]
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Hol Horse's Stand, Emperor, is named after this card. It manifests as a Revolver. Upon being fired, the Emperor can control the bullet's flight path, allowing it to turn in midair.
  • Along with other Major Arcana, the Emperor is a playable character in Data East's puzzle video game series, Magical Drop.
  • The Emperor card, along with the other Tarot cards of the Major Arcana, appears in the 2011 video game, The Binding of Isaac, and its 2014 remake, The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, where they act as consumable items with varying effects. The Emperor card teleports the player to the boss fight of the current level.


  1. ^ "The Emperor Tarot Card | Articles at". Retrieved 2017-02-16. 
  2. ^ Gray, E. (1960). The tarot revealed: A modern guide to reading the tarot cards. New York, N.Y.: Bell Publishing Company.
  3. ^ "The Emperor card from the Universal Waite Tarot Deck". Retrieved 2017-02-16. 
  4. ^ Ogre Battle - Tarot Cards

External links[edit]