Virtus mille scuta.
Courage (virtue, strength, excellence, worth, goodness) is a thousand shields.
(pron = weer-toos mee-lay skoo-tah).
Comment: I can see two sides to this motto. Clearly, courage when it moves from
somewhere deep within a person, enables him/her to face things that otherwise
would be daunting, that would prevent him/her from living and making a good
life. Courage (or the many other things this word can mean) can shield a
person from external hindrances like undue criticism, intimidation, and that
almost invisible force of “peer pressure” which all human beings face.
Likewise, real courage can enable a person to overcome all kinds of inner
demons and self-destructive inclinations.
The other side of this motto, though, is not so positive. If courage is a face,
a mask that a person puts on, a certain way of acting or appearing or talking,
then it begins to shield that person from him/her own self. The mask of
courage prevents us from seeing who we really are, and from tapping real
strength, real excellence, real virtue.
So, of this motto and its citation, I would want to ask: whose courage? Whose
courage are we using as a shield? And, this courage—a shield from what?
(Used with permission)
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