Fortune favours the bold

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Salvator Rosa's 1658 painting Allegory of Fortune shows Fortuna, the Goddess of luck, as an Allegory of Fortune

"Fortune favours the bold", "Fortune favours the brave", "Fortune helps the brave", and "Fortune favours the strong" are common translations of the Latin proverbs:

  • Audentes Fortuna Iuvat (present participle of the verb audeo, to dare), literally: "Fortune helps those daring"
  • Audentes Fortuna Adiuvat, literally: Fortune comes to the aid of those daring
  • Fortuna Audaces Iuvat (from the adjective audax, audacis, from the verb audeo), literally: "Fortune helps the bold".

"Fortes Fortuna Juvat" USS La Jolla (SSN-701)


The phrase means that Fortuna, the Goddess of luck, is more likely to help those who take risks or action. Its earliest recorded use is by the second century BC playwright Terence, Phormio, 203 (Fortis Fortuna adjuvat) and by Ennius, Ann. 257 (Fortibus est Fortuna viris data). A similar phrase (Audentis Fortuna iuvat) is shouted by Turnus in Virgil's Aeneid, 10.284, as he begins the charge against Aeneas' Trojans. This phrase is often quoted as Audentes Fortuna iuvat or Audaces Fortuna iuvat.

Historical examples[edit]

Ancient history[edit]

The Roman dictator and consul Lucius Cornelius Sulla was said to believe in the influence of the goddess Fortune in his life. He was a consummate risk-taker, achieving martial distinction by taking risks on the battlefield such as wearing disguises and living among the enemy. He was also the first of the great Republican Romans to march upon Rome — a great taboo, but one which cemented his power and influence. Sulla so believed in his favor with Fortuna that he took the agnomen Felix which means "lucky" and gave his twin son and daughter the antiquated praenomina Faustus and Fausta because those names were also associated with luck.

Julius Caesar also transformed his fortunes when he marched on Rome, declaring alea iacta est (the die is cast) as he crossed the Rubicon river. The utterance was a commitment of his fate to Fortune. While Caesar was a professional soldier, many of his victories were achieved by taking bold risks which exposed him and his troops to significant danger, but resulted in memorable victories.

Pliny the Younger quotes his uncle Pliny the Elder as saying Fortune favors the brave! (fortes, inquit, fortuna iuvat) when commanding his ship to sail closer to Vesuvius in AD 79, an action that led to his death in the eruption.

Portuguese Commandilos, Elite Forces of the Portuguese Army[edit]

This is used as the motto of The Portuguese Commandilos in the Portuguese Army, ancient ties in Portuguese literature.

Her Majesty's Armed Forces, The Yorkshire Regiment (British Army)[edit]

This is used as the motto of The Yorkshire Regiment in the British Army.

USS Florida[edit]

This is used as the motto of the USS Florida (SSGN-728)

Clan Mackinnon[edit]

This is used as the motto of the ancient clan.

Clan Turnbull[edit]

This is also the motto for Clan Turnbull.[1]

Jednostka Wojskowa Komandosów[edit]

This is used by the Polish Special Forces unit JW Komandosów as part of the Task Force 50 in Afghanistan.

Jutish Dragoon Regiment[edit]

This is used by the Jutish Dragoon Regiment in the Royal Danish Army[2]

Her Majesty's Armed Forces, 25 Flight Army Air Corps (British Army)[edit]

This is used as the motto of 25 Flight Army Air Corps in the British Army.

Liverpool John Moores University[edit]

The proverb "Fortes fortuna adiuvat" is the official motto of Liverpool John Moores University in Liverpool, England. It is featured on the university coat of arms.

Matthew Covalt Disappearance[edit]

On June 17th, 1978, pilot Matthew Covalt, aviator of many of the most influential mapping forays into the Congolian forests, uttered the quote shortly before radio communication was lost. His Piper J-3 Cub aircraft was never recovered.

Turing Family[edit]

A Latin equivalent (fortunas audentas juvat) is used as the motto for the Turing family, dating back to 1316 AD.[3]

O'Flaherty Family (Ireland)[edit]

This is used as the motto for the O'Flaherty family in Ireland and is also used on their coat of arms.[4]

Dixon Family[edit]

This is used as the motto for the Dixon family and is presented on their family crest.[5]

Cornielje Family[edit]

This motto is used by the Cornielje family of The Netherlands. It is used alongside their coat of arms.[6]

Clevland Family[edit]

The motto Fortuna Audaces Juvat was used by the Clevland family of Tapeley Park, Westleigh, Devon, in the 18th & 19th centuries.[7]

United States Army[edit]

A variant of the phrase, "Fortes Fortuna Juvat" (Fortune helps the strong), is the motto of the US Army Infantry based on Sand Hill, Fort Benning, GA.

United States Marine Corps[edit]

This motto is used by the US 3rd Marine Regiment and subordinate commands 1st Battalion 3rd Marines 2nd Battalion 3rd Marines and 3rd Battalion 3rd Marines based in Marine Corps base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay.

United States Coast Guard Academy Class of 1982[edit]

Each third class (junior) year, the cadets at the United States Coast Guard Academy vote on a class motto. This Latin saying was voted upon by the graduating class of 1982 and is engraved on the class ring.

United States Air Force[edit]

A variant of the phrase, "Aduentes Fortuna Javat" (Fortune Favors the Bold), was the motto on the patch of the 366th Air Expeditionary Wing, Mountain Home Air Force Base, Mtn Home Idaho.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Turnbull Clan Association". Retrieved 2014-05-30. 
  2. ^ Jydske Dragonregiment
  3. ^ Turing, Sara (2012). Alan M. Turing: Centenary Edition. 
  4. ^ "Name History - The Chieftain Clan O'Flaithbheartaigh Kings and Queens of Connemara {english variants:O'Flaherty, Lafferty}". Retrieved 2014-05-30. 
  5. ^ "Dixon Family Crest and History". 2014-05-22. Retrieved 2014-05-30. 
  6. ^ "". 
  7. ^ As seen with their armorials on several of the family's mural monuments in Westleigh Church

External links[edit]