What does John Wick’s tattoo mean 2023
John’s tattoo reads, “Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat,” or “fortune favours the brave” in Latin. This is also a loose translation of the motto of the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines — although their spelling is “Fortes Fortuna Juvat.” This is common enough that it’s not conclusive evidence alone, but it’s definitely a starting point.
FORTIS FORTUNA ADIUVAT should never be translated as “Fortune Favours the Bold”; nor is this the motto of the US Marine Corps. (who use, ‘fortES Fortuna Juvat’); Notably, it is not Christian. In fact, it’s a proverb about a pagan goddess. One must note that revenge itself is thoroughly un-Christian, to say nothing of homicidal killing sprees.
You can skip my notes, straight to my translation, but you shouldn’t. With this spelling, in particular, Latin is of the oldest kind. It is much older than the modern Latin the US Marine Corps uses, and older even than medieval or Church Latin. It is a proverb that was considered ancient even in the pre-Christian times of Caesar.
What does John Wick’s tattoo mean?
I guess 2,500 years old. It is obviously pagan in spirit, as were the people that spoke it in the polytheism of global prehistory. Moreover, it is this very pagan-ness that is critical to understanding Latin in the context of this Anti-Hero’s scratched out and contradictory tattoos.
fortis = “(The) Strong (ones)”. A plural noun — it refers to a specific class of people, not to abstract like ‘Strength’, nor the intention or attitude of ‘boldness’ or ‘bravery’ — for which there are robust, Audacia or fortitude respectively.
Fortuna = is a Roman Goddess, the personification of Luck and/or Fate.
A spiritual force that could be just as much bad as good. Note that Her name is placed at the centre of the tattoo and — if you look closely — slightly capitalized in the tattoo’s calligraphy in the same way that we Capitalise proper nouns in English.
It is not mere ‘good fortune’, in the sense of good luck, nor of ‘a fortune’ in the sense of money. This is the goddess of fate and luck.
Adiuvat = AD ‘to/toward’ + IUVAT ‘help/aid/save’ — particularly of a goddess, ‘comes to save’/’comes to the aid of’ is the best choice here. Not ‘favours’ which takes poetic license to give an F-F alliteration in English.
What does John Wick’s tattoo mean?
While “John Wick” was broadcast last night on France 2, focus on the enigmatic tattoo worn by the character played by Keanu Reeves and on its meaning.
“Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat.”
Fortune favours the brave. It is at the beginning of John Wick (broadcast last night on France 2), while the ex-assassin played by Keanu Reeves patiently ruminates on his revenge in the shower, that we can see this mysterious inscription on his shoulders.
This tattoo is inspired by a famous Latin quote between a flame and a wolf’s head, above a Catholic cross and two praying hands. But what does he tell us about the character’s past?
Former particularly feared hitman, linked to the criminal organizations of the Continental and the Great Table, John Wick is an enigmatic character, especially in the first instalment of the franchise where his life before is very little detailed. However, according to specific theories, this inscription allows determining with precision what his training was.
Indeed, “forts Fortuna juvat” ( “fortune favours the bold” ), a very slight variation of the phrase used by John Wick, corresponds to the motto of the 3rd Marine Infantry Regiment of the United States.
Therefore, does this Latin proverb popularized by Virgil in The Aeneid mean that John Wick cut his teeth in the US Marine Corps? None of the first three games in the franchise allows us to confirm this, even if one would be tempted to think so, given his exceptional combat skills.
Note also that in a scene cut from the second opus, this same formula is pronounced by a cardinal of the Vatican to the address of John Wick, who come to seek his advice. Would she thus be linked to the organization of which the ex-assassin belonged?
Anyway, everyone will agree that this quote is perfect for the character, who never hesitates to show exceptional “daring” and does not usurp his back tattoo.
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Knowing these things you can render it into modern English, and English word order, to catch the sentiment better like this:
fortes Fortuna Aduivat:
- “It is only the strong ones that Fortuna (The Goddess) comes to save.”
- N.B. This is the polar opposite of ‘the meek will inherit the earth.’
in re Praying Hands tattoo: Note, that this literally pagan, absolutely unchristian proverb is placed above — i.e. superior — to the praying hands on his back, and written with the particular late-republican Latin spelling of precisely those Romans that hung Christ on his cross.
How to interpret this contradiction? It is not straightforwardly Christian. One could suggest that the praying hands are supplicating the pagan god of luck.
in re Shoulder Cross tattoo: It is struck through with a scar. A bullet? A knife scar? Self-inflicted?
Perhaps done by an old mafia boss so that a previously Catholic or Protestant cross then resembled the Russian Orthodox ones favoured by his last employer.
If so, was it a kind of professional badge? Perhaps an accident of fate? (See the image in Nupur Shers’s post below, and make up your own mind.)
Finally, these tattoos appear on the back of John Wick. A really dark character, dressed in black, with a deep gritty voice, in a violent revenge film, and a decidedly unchristian one at that.
What does John Wick’s tattoo mean?
It is obvious to me that these tattoos are not about the superiority of US Navy training, nor of a Christianity that is any more than literally superficial.
Quite the opposite, these marks are a testament to the superficial, utterly broken, and all but discarded faith of a man who only believes in Luck— and even then, only because of his own strength (and weapons.)
- Need we comment on his previous life as a paid assassin for multiple organized crime syndicates. Not the ordinary trajectory for a Christian saint.
- It first appears in written history c.160 BCE, in a play by Terence, this recording is noted by Cicero as a Vetus prōverbium (Old proverb) C.f. ‘Usage notes’ in fortis Fortuna Adiuvat from Wiktionary.
- Interestingly, the Romans these manly virtues had a specific word virtus, which comes from their word for a man vir. We get our word virtue.
- In heraldry, placing images above means ‘more important’ or ‘stronger’. Here, we also have the very word for ‘the strong’ placed in this precise position, redoubling this meaning; Note also that the praying hands are beseeching this pagan, unchristian phrase… begging it to change? Or, praying to that pagan god capitalized directly above the hands.
P.S. It is fitting that the final sequence has John choose a Pit Bull for his dog. Not a golden retriever, Not a pug. Not a french poodle.
IMHO The only thing that would be more fitting is if he chose a Roman war dog (now extinct) that this Latin proverb has outlived.
What does John Wick’s tattoo mean?
Before John Wick goes on a killing spree from her mourning husband to a vengeful assassin pulled back into the world he wanted to leave behind, we see Reeves in the shower, with the Latin phrase, “Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat” tattooed across his back.
Fortune favours the bold is the loose translation of the Latin proverb. It is around in various forms with slightly different wording, where Fortuna is the goddess of luck, for example
- audentes Fortuna iuvat ( “fortune favors the bold”)
- audentes Fortuna adiuvat (“Fortune comes to the aid of those daring”)
- Fortuna audaces iuvat ( “Fortune helps the bold”)
- audentis Fortuna iuvat is used by Turnus, the antagonist of Aeneid.
- These Proverbs, in turn, descended from Fortes Fortuna Adiuvat. ( “fortune favors the strong”) used in Terence’s comedy play Phormio, line 203
The origin of the phrase is also military, used as the motto of several military units over the world. (Jutland Dragoon Regiment)
This might be a hint about Wick’s military past before his stint as an assassin.
The tattoo is never explained or referenced in the film apart from that short scene, leaving a hint of mystery, adding some extra texture and intrigue without the need to explain every detail.
What does John Wick’s tattoo mean 2022
John Wick’s backstory has never been explicitly explained in the films or accompanying comic series. Though the third film or prequel TV series may give us more concrete evidence, we’ve been given enough puzzle pieces to confidently say he served in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Given his extreme handiwork with firearms, hand-to-hand combat proficiency, cold demeanour, proper posture, and dispensation of absolute wrath towards anyone who harms the things he loves, it’s not too much of a stretch to say that he once was a Marine. No single point is definitive proof but it’s fun to speculate. Vet On The StreetVET ON THE STREET – Word Assoc. 2Shareh
Chad Stahelski, the director of the franchise, was asked by Collider in a 2017 interview about John Wick’s backstory. He said that the series isn’t about overloading the audience with dry exposition, but rather shows the audience little things. Stahelski said,
john wicks tattoo
What is the meaning of Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat? fortune favours the strong/brave”Fortuna” refers to luck or its personification, a Roman goddess. Another version of the proverb, fortis Fortuna adjuvant (“fortune favours the strong/brave”), was used in Terence’s comedy play Phormio, line 203. … The Latin phrase Fortuna Eruditis Favet (“fortune favours the prepared mind”) is also used.
Is John Wick a Marine?
John Wick, prior to being a hitman, served in the United States Marine Corps. This can be noticed by the tattoo on his back, which from Latin to English says “Fortune Favors the Brave”, the motto of the United States Marine Corps, 3rd battalion, 3rd Marines who have been through 5 tours of duty.
Are Keanu Reeves tattoos real in John Wick?
And more importantly, nobody could forget Keanu’s tattoos throughout the John Wick series. … Despite his on-screen body art, though, the real Keanu Reeves doesn’t actually have any tattoos, according to Toddler.
What is the tattoo on the adjudicator in John Wick 3?
einfühlungTrivia. The Adjudicator is the first main antagonist in a John Wick film not to die in their debut film. Tattooed on the left side of their neck is “einfühlung”, which is German for empathy. Movie John Wick Back Tattoo Back Tattoos, Tattoos For Guys, Cool Tattoos, Tattoos … John Wick – Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Tattoo | Full-Size PNG Download |
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