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Virtues

represented saint female christian

Early Christian and medieval theologians devoted much attention to describing and cataloguing the virtues required for Christian life. Saint *Pau lists Faith, Hope , and Charity; to these three “theological” virtues were added the four “cardinal” virtues: Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence , and Justice . These latter four values were adapted by Saint *Ambrose from the writings of Plato and further expounded by Saint *Augustine, *Isidore of Seville, Hrabanus *Maurus, Saint *Thomas Aquinas, and others. Many other virtues derive from, or represent semantic variations on the canon of the major seven (e.g., Beneficence, Chastity, Humility, Obedience ). The virtues are represented in a number of different ways in medieval art: as personifications with attributes, in narrative exemplars, and as female warriors paired in combat with their opposite *vices (the later format derived especially from the Psychomachia of *Prudentius). Detailed cycles of virtues and vices were especially popular in Gothic sculpture and stained glass windows. Faith may be represented by a female figure holding a chalice or *cross-inscribed shield; Hope gazes up to *heaven; Charity gives alms to the poor; Humility holds a small *bird; Obedience may be represented with a kneeling camel. The triumph of virtue over vice may be represented by female figures trampling on or spearing contorted figures or *demons.
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