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Non sufficit orbis

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Medal with the motto of Philip's monarchy after the union of crowns The world is not enough
Medal with the motto of Philip's monarchy after the union of crowns: The world is not enough

Philip II of Habsburg became king of Portugal in 1581. To celebrate the union of Spain and Portugal, he commissioned the minting of medals showing his reign over Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean.

In 1583 a gilded bronze medal was minted, the obverse of which depicted the king’s head surrounded by the inscription “Philip II, King of Spain and the New World”, and the reverse of the uncompromising motto NON SUFFICIT ORBIS (“The world is not enough”). The Latin words are from the Roman poet Juvenal and originally referred to Alexander the Great. Below the inscription, Alexander’s horse, Bucephalus, treads the globe with its hooves. The cloud that separates the word SUFFICIT into two parts symbolizes God and reminds us that even the one who conquers the whole world has his limitations.

Author: Grzegorz Piekarczyk (translated from Polish: Jakub Jasiński)
  • Geoffrey Parker, Filip II. Król nieprzezorny, PIW, Warszawa 2021

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