A colleague of mine found an interesting essay on the cardinal virtues here:http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/cgi-local ... ?id=dv4-49
Which led me to discovering the following iconography of Fortitude, grasping the neck of a dragon as it comes out of a tower, (seen on the far right):
The caption reads: Ms 927 fol.17v Theological and Cardinal Virtues, from "Ethics, Politics and Economics' by Aristotle (384 - 322 BC) (vellum) Artist: French School, (15th century). Artist nationality: French. Date C15th. Medium: vellum. Location, Bibliotheque Municipale, Rouen, Francehttp://fotobank.ru/image/BR01-1799.html
According to the essay by Helen North, this 'Rouen iconography' can be found at least as early as 1454, and probably as far back as 1410, putting it right in the time-frame of the first tarots.
Another version of the same iconography of Fortitude can be found at the tomb of Francis II, the Duke of Brittany, in Nantes Cathedral, by Michel Colombe, from 1507:
Has anyone else come across this peculiar representation of Fortitude in other places? Is it possible that this imagery is related to the pillar and/or lion of the later Fortitude cards? ( a dragon/tower is not too far from a lion/pillar in my eyes). This imagery seems to parallel the depictions of the Devil imprisoned in the castle keep that was discussed in another thread on the Tower card.
With that in mind, given that Temperance was sometimes depicted with a clock, as a pun on the word tempus - 'time', is it possible that the tarot card XI was named la Fortezza, which literally means 'the fortress', as a play on the tower imagery found in this 'Rouen iconography'?
Admittedly it's a stretch, but I've always been curious about the use of the word Fortezza for the card depicting Fortitude.
According to Michael Dummett's The Game of Tarot : "In all early Italian sources, the card is called la fortezza, which (apart from the irrelevant meaning of 'the fortress') can only mean 'fortitude.'"
Is it really irrelevant that the word means fortress? What is he saying with "(it) can only
mean 'fortitude'? Is he saying that since it can't possibly mean fortress, that it must
mean fortitude? Because his phrasing makes it sound as if he's deducing this meaning, as though it were not obvious as in the cases of many of the other card names. With the use of puns being common, I'm not so sure we can just dismiss the word offhandedly, but I could be totally wrong.
At any rate, I found these images very interesting.