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Vices

virtues art anger covetousness

Contrasting to and opposing the catalogue of *virtues necessary for the Christian life, the vices were also avidly described by early Christian and medieval authors and frequently illustrated in art. Authors such as Cassian, Ter-tullian, *Prudentius, Saint *Gregory the Great, and Saint *Thomas Aquinas were among the many especially concerned with this topic. The seven principle vices (or: Seven Deadly Sins, for which the punishment is eternal damnation) are: Pride, Covetousness, Lust, Envy, Gluttony, Anger , and Sloth . Related or derivative vices include: Rebellion, Dishonesty, Despair, Cowardice, Heresy, Intemperance , and so forth. As with the virtues, variant descriptive terms occur; Covetousness is often termed Greed or Avarice , and Anger may be translated as Wrath . The vices are represented in medieval art as female warriors battling with the virtues (as described in the Psychomachia of Prudentius), in other personified allegorical forms, and in narrative exemplars. Typical formats may include: Heresy represented by a figure kneeling before an *idol, Anger killing herself with a sword, Pride falling from horseback, and Cowardice fleeing from small, harmless animals (like rabbits). Covetousness and Lust were especially popular in art; the former is often shown by a figure hoarding coffers of goods or money, and the latter by a woman whose breasts are attacked by serpents. Comprehensive cycles of virtues and vices are frequently found in Gothic sculpture and stained glass windows.

Victor, Frances Auretta Fuller (1826–1902) - Local History [next] [back] Viète, François

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