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" and "Fortune favours the strong" are common translations of a Latin proverb. The slogan has been used historically in the military in the Anglosphere, and it is used up to the present in the US Army and on the coats of arms of individual families and clans.


Fortune favours the bold is the translation of a Latin proverb, which exists in several forms with slightly different wording but effectively identical meaning, such as audentes Fortuna iuvat,[1] audentes Fortuna adiuvat, Fortuna audaces iuvat, and audentis Fortuna iuvat. This last is used by Turnus, an antagonist in the Aeneid.[2] "Fortuna" refers to luck or its personification, a Roman goddess.

Another version of the proverb, fortis Fortuna adiuvat ("fortune favours the strong/brave"), was used in Terence's comedy play Phormio, line 203.[3]

Pliny the Younger quotes his uncle, Pliny the Elder, as using the phrase when deciding to take his fleet and investigate the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79, in the hope of helping his friend Pomponianus: "'Fortes' inquit 'fortuna iuvat: Pomponianum pete.'" ("'Fortune', he said, 'favours the brave: head for Pomponianus.'")[4][5] The expedition cost the elder Pliny his life.

The Latin phrase Fortuna Eruditis Favet ("fortune favours the prepared mind") is also used. Louis Pasteur, the French microbiologist and chemist, made this remark: "Dans les champs de l'observation le hasard ne favorise que les esprits préparés", meaning "In the fields of observation, chance only favours the prepared mind."

Historical examples[edit]


The quote "Fortes Fortuna Juvat" is used by the Jydske Dragonregiment, or Jutish Dragoon Regiment, in the Royal Danish Army.[6]


The quote "Audentes fortuna iuvat" appears in the University of Milano Bicocca logo.[7]


"Fortuna Eruditis Favet" is the motto of Sunway University and Sunway College.


The motto for the Portuguese Commandos is "Audaces Fortuna Juvat" (A sorte protege os Audazes).


The motto for the Brazilian Navy Combat Divers Group is "Fortuna Audaces Sequitur" (A sorte acompanha os audazes).

United Kingdom and Ireland[edit]

Virtutis Fortuna Comes is used as the motto for the British Army's Yorkshire Regiment having been previously used by one of the Yorkshire's antecedent regiments, the Duke of Wellington's Regiment (West Riding [33rd/76th Foot]).[8] It is also the motto for Wellington College, Berkshire.[9]

The Latin version Audentes Fortuna Juvat is the motto of Clan MacKinnon and features on the clan crest.[10]

It is the motto for Clan Turnbull.[11]

It is used as the motto for the O'Flaherty family in Ireland and is also used on their coat of arms.[12]

This is used as the motto for the Dickson family and is presented on their family crest.[13]

The motto Fortuna Audaces Juvat was used by the Clevland family of Tapeley Park, Westleigh, Devon, in the 18th and 19th centuries, as seen with their armorials on several of the family's mural monuments in Westleigh Church.[citation needed]

The phrase was used as the motto of the Royal Air Force station based at East Fortune, in East Lothian. The base was operational in the First World War and between 1940 and 1947.[14]

It is the motto of the football club Linfield F.C.

United States[edit]

It is the official motto of the United States Coast Guard Academy Class of 1982, which has produced more Coast Guard flag officers than any other class that graduated from the Academy.[citation needed]

"Fortuna Favet Fortibus" (fortune favors the brave) is the official motto of the United States Naval Academy Classes of 1985, 2004, and 2012.[citation needed]

The motto "Fortes Fortuna Juvat" appears on the gates of Honor Hill at Ft. Benning, Georgia, where U.S. Army infantrymen ceremoniously receive the iconic cross rifle insignia.[citation needed]

It has been the motto of several United States Navy ships:

The Latin equivalent "fortuna audentes juvat" is used as the motto for the Turing family, dating back to 1316 AD.[18]

The motto is used by the 366th Fighter Wing of the United States Air Force and appears on the wing patch. The motto is also used by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, 3rd Field Investigation Region, Detachment 327, Little Rock Air Force Base.

It is the unit motto for 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines, stationed out of Marine Corps Base Hawaii.

It is the unit motto for 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, stationed out of Marine Corps Camp Lejeune, NC.

The motto is also used on the Seattle Police Department's SWAT unit patch.

The Latin equivalent "fortuna favet audaci" is the motto of Trumbull College of Yale University.


The motto is used by the Cornielje family of The Netherlands alongside their coat of arms.[19]

South Korea[edit]

Motto used by the 80th Fighter Squadron stationed at Kunsan AB, Republic of South Korea.[citation needed]

Examples in popular culture[edit]

It is widely known that "historia magistra vitae est,” or in the Common Tongue, “history is life's teacher." Her students, however, have heretofore preferred to partake of her lectures from afar, namely amidst the quiet stacks of university libraries. They knew her teachings solely from the accounts of third parties, accounts inevitably colored by these individual prejudices or imperfect memories. I, by contrast, have decided the time has come to break with this convenient yet harmful practice and begin to draw knowledge from the source, writing history where it is made, on the front lines of conflict. Many will say this way madness lies, and that my venture will indubitably end in my untimely death. To them I say with pride, “audentes fortuna iuvat!" - or in the Commo (The writing ends abruptly.).

— Aldert Geert, in CD Projekt, Aldert Geert, unfinished book.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "audentes fortuna juvat". Merriam Webster. Retrieved 2017-03-17.
  2. ^ Aeneid 10.284
  3. ^ "Latin Texts & Translations". (in Latin). The ARTFL Project. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
  4. ^ Letters, Book 6, Letter 16
  5. ^ "Translating Pliny's letters about Vesuvius, pt. 6. Fortune Favors the Brave". 1 January 2013.
  6. ^ "Hæren Jydske Dragonregiment". (in Danish). Retrieved 23 February 2017.
  7. ^ "Il nome e il logo". (in Italian). Retrieved 29 March 2018. External link in |website= (help)
  8. ^ "The British Army - About the Regiment". The British Army. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  9. ^ "Wellington College - The Wellington Identity". The British Army. Retrieved 17 June 2018.
  10. ^ "Clan MacKinnon Society". Retrieved 2016-10-05.
  11. ^ "Turnbull Clan Association". Retrieved 2014-05-30.
  12. ^ "Name History - The Chieftain Clan O'Flaithbheartaigh Kings and Queens of Connemara {english variants:O'Flaherty, Lafferty}". Retrieved 2014-05-30.
  13. ^ "Dixon Family Crest and History". 2014-05-22. Retrieved 2014-05-30.
  14. ^ Pine, L.G. (1983). A dictionary of mottoes (1st publish. ed.). London [u.a.]: Routledge & Kegan Paul. p. 86. ISBN 0-7100-9339-X.
  15. ^ "USNS Carl Brashear (T-AKE 7)". United States Army Institute of Heraldry. Retrieved 2017-08-24.
  16. ^ "USS La Jolla (SSN 701)". Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  17. ^ "About our Namesake - John S. McCain". U.S. Navy. Archived from the original on 21 August 2017. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  18. ^ Turing, Sara (2012). Alan M. Turing: Centenary Edition.
  19. ^ "".
  20. ^ EA Capital Games (November 24, 2015). Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes. iOS, Android. Electronic Arts. Level/area: The Endurance Abilities List. Ability Name: Fortune Favors the Bold / Ability Description: Deal Physical damage to target enemy and all enemies affected by Target Lock, then grant all allies Valor for 2 turns. This ability's cooldown is reduced by 1 for each enemy struck.

External links[edit]