Lorenzetti’s allegory of good and bad government

That’s great inspiration for my setting of Streets & Turmoil.

Ambrogio Lorenzetti: Allegory of good and bad government, paintings at the Council Room of the Nine, Palazzo Pubblico, City of Siena, Italy, 14th century.

Securitas flying over the City.

Below: The City with a good government. Girls are dancing, traders are coming in, there’s plenty of open shops: all is well .


Below: The good government itself,  presided by Old Ben. You know Ben, don’t you? Ben Comune (Common Good). He holds two ropes (cordia) that links him to the 24 elected citizens (city council) and with Concordia (left, bottom, in grey) and Justicia (sitting on a throne above Concordia). Each side of Justicia, rewards and punishments are being distributed: gifts, crowning, decapitation, y’know, usual judiciary stuff.

The trinity of angelic figures above Ben Comune are Faith, Hope and Charity. Besides him are six councilors. The slouched woman in a white gown is Peace (is she bored or something?). The others, in order, are Fortitude, Prudence, Magnanimity, Temperance and Justice (again).

Some guards watch prisoners, presumably from nobility (natural enemies of a Republic) that are prostrated and awaiting judgment.


But don’t take nothing as granted. Horrible Timor (Fear) reminds us:


Because everyone wants what’s good for themselves, in this City

Justice is subjugated to Tyranny.

And so no one can go

this way without fearing for his life,

since thievery is done both side of these walls. (1)

And so we get (Below): the City under a bad government (ironically or fittingly perhaps, the painting is a lot more deteriorated!).

Thugs are molesting citizens: rapes (presumably) and murders are committed. The only shop opened is the armourer’s. Clever.


Below: the bad government. Wouldn’t that be great if bad politicians would grow tusks and horns? No more pretending to be honest when you have those!

The leader this time is awful Tyrannia. Above Tyrannia is the Unholy Trinity: Superbia (Pride), Avaritia (Greed) and Vanagloria (Boastfulness?). The evil councillors are Crudelitas (Cruelty), Proditio (Treason), Fraus (Fraud), Furor (Anger), Divisio (Division) and Guerra (War). Damn them!

Oh, and Justitia is bound, helpless, at their feet.


Isn’t that impressive?

  1. Translation is mine, there must be a better one somewhere else.

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