What is courage for a medieval author like Thomas Aquinas? In the wake of Aristotle, Thomas describes courage as a virtuous habit that a human being can acquire and is halfway between fear and audacity. Courage implies firmness of mind, a calculated consideration of imminent dangers, a reasoned choice to curb fear and moderate audacity. From Thomas’s perspective, being courageous does not mean being fearless or daring, but striving to be rationally able to manage fear and to discipline audacity, in order to nourish the hope of fleeing evil and pursuing good. Cicero teaches the way for acquiring this ‘habit’: in order to live in a courageous way we need to exert four virtues (highmindness, confidence, patience, and perseverance).
Keywords: Thomas Aquinas, Aristotle, Cicero, courage, reason, virtue