The Emperor sits on a ram-adorned throne, a symbol of Mars (mythology). 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." 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.
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.
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. The Emperor means authority and control, which could tie into his ability to control the bullet's trajectory.