The aim of this thesis is to give an overview on the iconography used in portraits of rulers during the Renaissance. In medieval art rulers are primarily displayed as donors together with saints and other biblical figures; this was changing, when at the end of the Middle Ages the autonomous portrait emerged. A large number of ruler portraits from the Renaissance has remained, all of which show a rich iconography.Due to the fact that the renaissance was a time of many revolutions that have direct influence on the display of humans, art historic developments of the portrait are looked upon first in this thesis. For this development clients like the Habsburgs were of crucial importance. Titian created a new type of portrait with his works of Charles V., i.e. portraits that are characterized by a distinct form and a specific iconography. His so-created types became standard forms for the representations of the European nobility throughout the next centuries. Next, different areas of usage and function of ruler portraits are shown in this thesis, because they directly influence the used iconography. The major chapter deals with the different iconographic elements. With the help of concrete portraits the usage of these elements is exemplified and, as well, their symbolic meaning explained. In order to get an overview, the different symbols are subsumed under the most common types of portraits afterwards.The used symbolism is very varied; it reaches from insignias to clothes and the elements used to create the surrounding in which the model is displayed. The symbolism follows the aim to emphasize den social rank of the model and, thus, differentiate the ruler portraits from the portraits of the bourgeois, which was gradually emerging during the Renaissance.