Re: Strength

Posting this in Strength rather than The Lovers, as the figure with the column seems to link more strongly with the Strength card than Cupid alone does with the Lovers card.

Marco wrote (in another thread):
Francesco Petrarca wrote:Poco dinanzi a lei vedi Sansone,
vie più forte che saggio, che per ciance
in grembo a la nemica il capo pone.

"Closely beyond her, Samson you may see,
Stronger than he is wise, who foolishly
Laid low his head upon a hostile lap."
He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy...

Re: Strength

Hello Lamort,

She is rather reminiscent of Justice or the Force of Justice, yet the accompanying text (which was originally published without illustrations) reads:

Ripa's Iconologia:
A Woman in Armour; her Stature upright; big bon'd; plump Breasts; harsh Hair; sparkling Eyes; a Spear in her Hand; with an Oak Branch; a Shield on her Arm, with a Lion and a wild Boar.

All these denote Strength; The Oak Branch and Armour show Strength of Body and Mind. the Spear denotes Superiority secured by Strength; The Lion and Boar, The Strength of Mind and Body; the one acting with Moderation, the Boar runs headlong with Fury.
I couldn't find the boar...:)

He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy...

Raphael's Stanza della Segnatura

A lovely fresco of Prudence flanked by Fortitude and Temperance. Fortitude holds an oak branch rather than a column, but there's a cuddly lion under her right arm; she also has a lion's head on her boot.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Virtù Cardinali e Teologali
Artist Raphael
Year 1511
Type fresco
Dimensions ? cm × 660 cm
Location Vatican Museums, Vatican City

The Cardinal and Theological Virtues is a fresco by Raphael as part of his Stanza della Segnatura in the Palazzi Vaticani in Vatican City. It is 6.6m wide at the base. The cardinal virtues are personified as three women in a bucolic landscape, and the theological virtues by cupids:

* Fortitude, a woman holding an oak branch, with the branch shaken by the cupid Charity
* Prudence, with two faces, looking in a mirror, with a cupid Hope behind her holding a flaming torch
* Temperance, holding reins in her hand, guarding a cupid Faith, who points at the sky with his right hand
Here's the large image at wikimedia commons:

And one sized to fit:
He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy...

Re: Strength



Pallas Expelling the Vices was the second mythological garden painting Mantegna created for Isabella d’Este (Paris,
Louvre, 1500-02, Figure 3). Isabella described the idea for it as “a battle of Chastity and Lasciviousness, that is Pallas and Diana combating vigorously against Venus and Cupid.” The goddess, Diana, however, is not pictured in the painting. Here we have two virgins, Athena and Daphne, driving out Lust and the Vices from the garden. Three of the Cardinal Virtues, Temperance, Justice, and Fortitude, having been driven out previously by the depravities which had been occupying the place, return to the garden in an oval cloud formation.

The fourth Virtue, Prudence, is walled up inside the stone structure on the far right of the painting, and only a
white fluttering banner reflects her cry for help."

End Quote from "Gardens and Grottoes in Later Works by Mantegna" by Carola Naumer

According to Seznec in his 'The survival of the pagan gods':

"1. Compare in Mantegna's painting the Virtues which observe the battle from on high; an inscription even speaks of the Mother of Virtues (Et mihi virtutum matri succurite divi) which according to Foerster would be Truth, invisible."

Nicholos Web identifies Pallas with Prudence and the mater virtutem to "Sapiental Wisdom, Truth or Virtue herself."(Campbell n2, p344)

The inscription on the water's edge that serves to identify the armless figure of Otium in the lake reads:

Otium su tollas periere cupidinis arcus

A line from Ovid’s Remedia Amoris ‘Love’s Cure’:

"Put sloth aside, and at once you break in twain the shafts of Love; his torch is out, and henceforth is but a thing for jest and mockery. As the plane tree loveth wine, as the poplar loveth the pure stream, as the marshy reed loveth slimy soil, so doth Venus delight in idleness. Love flees from toil; if, then, you would banish love from your heart, find some work for your idle hands to do and then you will be safe. Dolce far niente, too much sleep, gambling, and overmuch wine-bibbing cloud the brain and, though they deal it no serious wound, filch away its energy."

The scroll of the 'talking' Olive Tree 'babbles in three ancient tongues. Two of these ... in pseudo greek and indecipherable. The Latin reads AGITE, PELLITE SEDIBUS NOSTRIS/FOEDA HAEC VICIORUM MONSTRA/VIRTUTEM COELITUS AS NOS REDEUNTIUM/DIVAE COMITES: "Come, divine companions in virtue who are returning to us from Heaven, expell these foul monsters of Vices from our seats." (p.147)

Campbell, Stephen J. The Cabinet of Eros: Renaissance mythological painting and the studiolo of Isabelle d'Este (Yale University Press 2004).

Web, Nicholas, "Momus with Little Flatteries: Intellectual Life at the Italian Courts," in Mantegna and Fifteenth-century Court Culture, ed. Francis Ames-Lewis and Anka Bednarek (London, 1993), 69.(quoted in Campbell n2, p344)
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: fortitude (without certitude)

Here is Daniel
or Heracles with lion,
or Samson maybe

though it's clearly a woman:
a lion for sure, or bear.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Strength

Samson and the Lion by Durer:

Three by the Master E.S.



(Both the Master E.S. and Durer after him were much copied by Italian engravers)
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Strength

I've been thinking about Fortitude, especially in relation to the early Fortezza cards.

In this thread, RLG says:
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.
I'm wondering if the meaning 'fortress' is irrelevant. We know that La Fortezza, Strength, Fortitude (call her what you will) had as her various symbols a column, a lion or references to a lion/lions (ie. on her clothing, shield etc.), and sometimes carried a club or sword.

From: Trionfi
Triumph of Chastity

She wore, that day, a gown of white, and held
The shield that brought Medusa to her death.
To a fair jasper column that was there,
And with a chain once dipped in Lethe's stream
A chain of diamond and topaz, such
As women used to wear, but wear no more
I saw him bound, and saw him then chastised
Enough to wreak a thousand vengeances:
Earlier in the verse Petrach writes of other virtues, although there's no mention of Fortitude or Strength, unless one could count Perseverence as Fortitude:
With her, and armed, was the glorious host
Of all the radiant virtues that were hers,
Hands held in hands that clasped them, two by two.
Honor and Modesty were in the van,
A noble pair of virtues excellent,
That set her high above all other women;
Prudence and Moderation were near by,
Benignity and Gladness of the Heart
Glory and Perseverance in the rear;
Foresight and Graciousness were at the sides,
And Courtesy therewith, and Purity,
Desire for Honor, and the Fear of Shame.
A Thoughtfulness mature in spite of Youth,
And, in a concord rarely to be found,
Beauty supreme at one with Chastity.
In The Orlando Furioso, by Lodovico Ariosto, Volume 3, LXV11, chastity and fortitude are mentioned in the same breath.
Of good Richarda first shall be my strain,
Mirror of chastity and fortitude,
Who, young, remains a widow, in distain
Of fortune: (that which oft awaits the good)...
It seems that chastity (not understood in the sense of 'virginity' until later) was especially highly regarded and linked with almost as many virtues as one could imagine.

I found a few google books in which lions are said to be symbols of chastity eg. From: Menacing virgins: representing virginity in the Middle Ages and Renaissance By Kathleen Coyne Kelly, Marina Leslie:
Through Petraca's association of Chastity with the ferocity of lions...
although I couldn't find the quote they were referring to.

Scroll down this page of Marinni's Journal for some beautiful illustrations of Chastity with a column. Admittedly the columns depicted are not broken, but nevertheless possibly worthy of some consideration.

I found the link on [url=ttp://]Michael Hurst's Pre-Gebelin Tarot History.[/url]

Somehow, I've never found the idea that Fortitude is actually breaking the column convincing - it looks more as if she's holding it together (which would also sit more comfortably with the meaning of fortitude), although the break remains a problem.

All I'm suggesting here is that it might be possible that Fortezza personified was understood to have another dimension - that of Chastity as a fortress. What do you think?

I'll end with Allegory of Chastity by Hans Memling.


He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy...