Virtus was an Ancient Roman virtue that was attributed to Roman emperors and members of the aristocracy who were expected to display a particular set of public conduct. It came from the Latin word vir, meaning ‘man’, and thus signified what the Ancient Romans perceived as masculine values, namely valour, manliness, excellence, courage, character, and worth.
Virtus was originally used to describe specifically martial courage—the Roman deity, Virtus, was looked upon as the deity of bravery and military strength and was often represented wielding a sword and shield—but it eventually grew to be used to describe a range of Roman virtues. It was often divided into different qualities including prudence, justice, and temperance, a more well-rounded depiction of a good man who did the right thing.
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