Courage, also known as bravery, fortitude, will, and intrepidity, is the ability to confront fear, pain, risk/danger, uncertainty, or intimidation. "Physical courage" is courage in the face of physical pain, hardship, Death, or threat of death, while "moral courage" is the ability to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal, or discouragement.
In Roman Catholicism, courage is referred to as "Fortitude" as one of the four cardinal virtues, along with prudence, justice, and temperance. ("Cardinal" in this sense means "pivotal"; it is one of the four cardinal virtues because to possess any virtue, a person must be able to sustain it in the face of difficulty.) In both Catholicism and Anglicanism, courage is also one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.
The Tao De Ching states that courage is derived from love ("慈 loving 故 causes 能 ability 勇 brave") and explains: "One of courage, with audacity, will die. One of courage, but gentle, spares death. From these two kinds of courage arise harm and benefit."
Courage (shauriya) and Patience (dhairya) appear as the first two of ten characteristics (lakshana) of dharma in the Hindu Manusmruti, besides forgiveness (kshama), tolerance (dama), honesty (asthaya), physical restraint (indriya nigraha), cleanliness (shouchya), perceptiveness (dhi), knowledge (vidhya), truthfulness (satya), and control of anger (akrodh). Islamic beliefs also present courage as a key factor in facing the Devil and in some cases Jihad to a lesser extent; many believe this because of the courage the Prophets of the past displayed against people who despised them for their beliefs.
J.R.R. Tolkien identified in his 1936 lecture "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics" a "Northern 'theory of courage'"—the heroic or "virtuous pagan" insistence to do the right thing even in the face of certain defeat without promise of reward or salvation:
|“||It is the strength of the northern mythological imagination that it faced this problem, put the monsters in the centre, gave them victory but no honour, and found a potent and terrible solution in naked will and courage. 'As a working theory absolutely impregnable.' So potent is it, that while the older southern imagination has faded forever into literary ornament, the northern has power, as it were, to revive its spirit even in our own times. It can work, as it did even with the goðlauss Viking, without gods: martial heroism as its own end.||”|
Virtuous pagan heroism or courage in this sense is "trusting in your own strength," as observed by Jacob Grimm in his Teutonic Mythology,
|“||Men who, turning away in utter disgust and doubt from the heathen faith, placed their reliance on their own strength and virtue. Thus in the Sôlar lioð 17 we read of Vêbogi and Râdey â sik þau trûðu, "in themselves they trusted"||”|
Civil courage (sometimes also referred to as "Social courage") is defined by many different standards. In general, the term is usually referred to when civilians stand up against something that is deemed unjust and evil, knowing that the consequences of their action might lead to their death, injury or some other form of significant harm.
In some countries (e.g. Brazil, France and Germany) civil courage is enforced by law; this means that if a crime is committed in public, the public is obliged to act, either by alerting the authorities, or by intervening in the conflict. If the crime is committed in a private environment, those who witness the crime must either report it to the authorities or attempt to stop it.
Its accompanying animal is the lion. Often, Fortitude is depicted as having tamed the ferocious lion. Cf. e.g. the Tarot trump called Strength. It is sometimes seen as a depiction of the Catholic Church's triumph over sin. It also is a symbol in some cultures as a savior of the people who live in a community with sin and a corrupt church or religious body.
Courage, also known as fortitude, is the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty or intimidation. It can be divided into "physical courage" — in face of physical pain, hardship, and threat of death — and "moral courage" — in the face of shame, scandal, and discouragement.
Reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895).
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That quality which enables one to encounter danger and difficulties with firmness, calmness, and intrepidity; Hebrew, (missing hebrew text) ("Be of good courage," 2 Sam 10:12), or (missing hebrew text) ("Be strong and of a good courage," Deut 31:7, 23; Joshua i. 6).
Physical courage, the result of man's struggle against conditions that threaten his very existence, and which often develops boldness, fearlessness, and an utter disregard of physical pain, is extolled by the Hebrews as a valued possession (compare Jdg 8:21; Eccl 10:17; 1 Kg 16:27; 2Kg 18:20; Mic 3:8). Often the victor was made a popular idol. "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands" (1Sam 18:7), the women of Israel sang when David returned from a campaign against the Philistines. The angel of the Lord says to Gideon: "The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valor" (Jdg 6:12).
The examples of courage found mentioned in the records of ancient Israel are numerous. The undaunted valor of Barak, of Gideon, and of Jephthah; the fearlessness of Samson, of Saul, and of David, are eloquent testimonies of physical courage. But the Bible sets more value upon moral courage, which is so prominent in the life-history ofthe Jew, and which goes far to explain the power of resistance that he has shown at all times against those who made plans for his destruction. This courage is fostered by confidence and trust in God. "Hope in the Lord, be strong, keep thy heart steadfast, yea, hope thou in the Lord" (Ps 2714, Hebr.); "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength" (Isa 40:31); "Through God we shall do valiantly" (Ps 6014; compare Num 24:18; Ps 3125; Prov 3:23-26); "Fear thou not; for I am with thee. . . . I will strengthen thee" (Isa 41:10); "Yet now be strong O Zerubbabel . . . and be strong, O Joshua . . . and be strong, all ye people . . . for I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts" (Hag 2:4; compare Zech 8:9, "Let your hands be strong, ye that hear").
In post-Biblical times the Jew displayed both physical and moral courage while standing for truth and right against a hostile world. He would face the obloquy of centuries to support a principle which, though unpopular, he believed to be true. "Strive for the truth unto death; and the Lord shall fight for thee" (Ecclus. [Sirach] iv. 28; compare ib. iv. 9, ii. 12; Baruch iii. 14). "In a place where there are no men, endeavor thou to be a man" (Ab. ii. 6b). Crushed to earth, defeated, driven from his native soil, pining in dungeons, made to furnish murderous sport for the wild beasts of the Colosseum and food for the flames of pyres and stakes, he still refused to surrender; struggling against terrible odds for national and political independence, for liberty of conscience, and for the rights of man.
Nothing stirred the Jew to resistance so much as interference with his religious belief and practises; for the abandonment of the Law was deemed the most heinous of crimes. Men had fought at all times for house and hearth; but to fight for one's religion was new. The plan of Antiochus Epiphanes to uproot the religion of Judea met with stubborn resistance. "God forbid," says Mattathias, the aged priest of Modin, "that we should forsake the law and the ordinances. We will not harken to the king's word to go from our religion, either on the right hand or the left" (1Macc 2:21, 22). Eleazar, one of the scribes, chose rather to die the glorious death of a martyr than to be faithless to his religion. "But when he [Eleazar] was ready to die . . . he groaned, and said, It is manifest unto the Lord . . . that . . . whereas I might have been delivered from death, I now endure sore pains in body . . . but in soul am well content to suffer. . . . And thus this man died, leaving his death for an example of a noble courage . . ." (2 Macc 6:30, 31). Seven brothers, who were seized by the minions of Antiochus and scourged, to compel them publicly to abjure their faith by eating forbidden food, refuse to do so, and suffer the penalty of most cruel deaths. One of them voices the sentiment of all when he exclaims, "We are ready to die rather than to transgress the laws of our fathers" (ib. vii. 2; compare ib. xiv. 18). Though the seven were tortured in the presence of their mother, the awful sight did not weaken her resolution to endure a similar fate. "But the mother was marvelous above all, and worth of honorable memory: for when she saw her seven sons slain within the space of one day, she bore it with a good courage, because of the hope she had in the Lord" (ib. vii. 20). Even the king, and those who were with him to witness the torture of the seven brothers, marveled at their remarkable courage (ib. vii. 12; IV Macc. viii. 9).
Later, in the desperate life-struggle of the Jews against the trained legions of mighty Rome, which ended in the overthrow of the Jewish state and the loss of Jewish independence (70 C. E.), the heroism and self-sacrifice of the Jews were such as to elicit the admiration of all time. Josephus extols the courage of his fellow believers in facing death for the sake of the Law. "I do not mean such an easy death as happens in battles, but that which comes with bodily torments and seems to be the severest kind of death" ("Contra Ap." ii. 33).
A person has courage if he does something even though he is afraid. Courage can be doing things that other people think should be scary. A person has courage if he puts himself in danger to save another person. If someone has courage, it is said that they are courageous, standing up for what you believe in.