Coins of Cardinal Virtues Part 3: FORTITUDE


A virtue is a habitual disposition to do good. Among all the virtues, there are four that play a pivotal role and accordingly are called cardinal.

This article series highlights the coins from Vatican City that depicts the Four Cardinal Virtues. I've previously shown two cardinal virtues:

  • Coins of Cardinal Virtues Part 2: JUSTICE

    Justice, which consists in the firm and constant will to give others their due.

  • Coins of Cardinal Virtues Part 1: PRUDENCE.

    Prudence, which disposes the practical reason to discern in every circumstance one's true good and to choose the right means of achieving it.

  • Today, we will look at a third Vatican City coin that depicts the cardinal virtue FORTITUDE, a virtue which ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good.


    1953 Vatican CIty 2 Lire - Pivs XII

    A standard circulation coin minted from 1951-1958.

    Lira was the currency in Italy from 1929 to 2001.

    Depicted on the reverse of the coin is Fortitude with a lion at feet.

    Papal coat-of-arms upon crossed keys joined by cord and tassels, surmounted by Papal Tiara (Triregnum).

    Source: Numista

    The virtues are traditionally depicted as young women in long robes, sometimes with wings. One reason they are women maybe that in Latin and Greek the virtues are feminine nouns (as are most abstract nouns). Therefore, we find Fortitude represented in two common ways: (1) a young woman holding a marble column, which is often broken; (2) a young woman holding a lion's jaws

    In Latin, fortitudo means both physical strength, vigor, and courage. It derives from fortis, which means strong, vigorous, healthy, robust, brave, bold and heroic.

    The lion itself is a symbol of courage and strength, but also of the danger of untamed nature. In classical times, demigods (such as Hercules) were often depicted defeating lions, a symbol of the triumph of human nature over animal nature. Therefore, Lady Fortitude we see personified human strength and courage taming animal strength and courage. Source

    St Thomas writes:

    Fortitude strengthens a man's mind against the greatest danger, which is that of death. Now fortitude is a virtue; it is essential to virtue to tend to good; wherefore it is in order to pursue some good that man does not fly from the danger of death. But the dangers of death arising out of sickness, storms at sea, attacks from robbers, and the like, do not seem to come on a man through his pursuing some good. On the other hand, the dangers of death which occur in battle come to man directly on account of some good, because, to wit, he is defending the common good by a just fight. (ST. II-II.123, a. 5)

    This is the third installment of four articles that depict the Cardinal Virtues. I hope to see you again when I show you the last coin in this series.


    #worldcoinwednesday is hosted by @silverd510, a tag that may be used by anyone to show coins from the different world mints.

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    Love the Vatican coins. Just beautiful ❤️

    !trdo 🙏


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    A very nice round and some interesting facts as well. Thank you for sharing sis! Have a lovely night!🤗😘🤗🌸

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