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Ultima Virtues

Codex of Ultimate Wisdom
Symbol of the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom

After the victory over Mondain, Minax and Exodus, the population of Britannia lacks a spiritual direction and an idealistic sense of life. Lord British, the ruler of Britannia, establishes a system of eight virtues for this reason, created as a new version of spiritual life for people to aspire to.

Each of the eight great cities of Britannia is dedicated to one of the eight virtues, and a shrine of the respective virtue is built near each of these cities. To find enlightenment at such a shrine requires meditation. For this, the corresponding mantra is required.

The great dungeons of Britannia sometimes embody the antithesis of an ideal, the antithesis of a virtue. Often, artifacts associated with the respective virtue can be found in them.

In Ultima IV - Quest of the Avatar the quest is for a master, an Avatar, who embodies these eight virtues and can thus also serve as a guiding example for others [1].

Again, it is the Stranger from Earth who responds to Lord British's quest and is the only one in Britannia's history to achieve Avatar status.

The eight virtues are Honesty, Compassion, Valor, Justice, Sacrifice, Honor, Spirituality, and Humility.

These virtues are based on the three principles of Truth, Love, and Courage and are symbolized by the symbol of the Code of Ultimate Wisdom. A location and an artifact are associated with each of the principles.

The Three Principles

The principles are represented by the rings in the Codex symbol.

Color Principle associated location associated artifact
Blue Truth Lycaeum Book of Truth
Yellow Love Empath Abbey Candle of Love
Red Courage Serpent's Hold Bell of Courage

The Eight Virtues

The colored lines in the Codex symbol touch either one or two principles and stand for a virtue resulting from this connection. The white ring in the center of the Codex symbol symbolizes the connection of all three principles to the virtue Spirituality. The black outer ring symbolizes the reversal of the absence of all three principles - Pride thus becomes Humility. The three principles are thus combined into the eight virtues as follows:

Color Virtue Principle Mantra Class Location Dungeon
Blue Honesty Pure Truth Ahm Mage Moonglow Deceit
Yellow Compassion Pure Love Mu Bard Britain, Cove [2] Despise
Red Valor Pure Courage Ra Fighter Jhelom Destard
Green Justice Truth & Love Beh Druid Yew Wrong
Orange Sacrifice Love & Courage Cah Tinker Minoc Covetous
Purple Honor Truth & Courage Summ Paladin Trinsic Shame
White Spirituality Truth & Love & Courage Om Ranger Skara Brae Hythloth
Black Humility - Lum Shepherd New Magincia [3] -

Description of the Eight Virtues

The following is a brief description of the eight virtues[4]


The pursuit of truthfulness, with respect to oneself and with respect to other beings.


The quality of empathy, of recognizing and sharing the feelings of others.


The courage to uphold virtue, even in the face of physical or psychological threat.


The wisdom that perceives what is right and wrong in human action.


The placing of the interests of others and the ends of virtue over one's own well-being.


The courage to stand for truth regardless of circumstances.


The concern for one's own inner being, and awareness of the love that unites one's own inner being to those around one.


The recognition of the worthiness of all beings, and the perception of one's own place among them, regardless of one's own personal accomplishments or mistakes in the world.

Virtue and Character creation

The questions of the gypsy

In Ultima IV, Ultima V, Ultima VI und Ultima IX, the player is asked several questions by a gypsy woman at the beginning of the adventure. In each of these questions, a situation is described to which there are two possible answers. The player must decide how he would behave in the situation, each of the two possible answers corresponding to a virtue. There are no right or wrong answers, it is only determined which is the current favorite virtue of the player. This virtue then determines the class (fighter, wizard, bard, etc.) and the attributes with which the player plays the game. Details are explained on the Character creation page.

In Ultima IV, the favorite virtue determines not only the class, but also the city where the player starts - and thus also the character that cannot be included in the party, since the character has the same class as the player and each class may only appear once in the party.


The Ankh - Sign of Avatarhood
The Ankh - Sign of Avatarhood

The Ankh cross, also known as Crux Ansata [5], is originally an ancient Egyptian symbol for survival in the afterlife. In the Ultima series, however, it has a special meaning as a representative of the eight virtues.

The Ankh first appeared in Ultima II as a symbol of the Age of Legends. In Ultima III, the Ankh is featured on the cover Ancient Liturgy Of Truth - the book of cleric magic.

From Ultima IV on, the Ankh symbolizes the Avatar's ideals and striving to live in accordance with the eight virtues. The Avatar wears the ankh on his armor as a visible sign of his Avatarhood. In Britannia, ankhs can be found at locations and shrines dedicated to the eight virtues.



  1. Ingame Ultima IV - Quest of the Avatar
  2. Britain is the city of compassion, the associated shrine is near Cove
  3. Magincia was destroyed by demons because of its pride before the events of Ultima IV. New Magincia was founded on its ruins as a location of Humility, and first appeared in Ultima V
  4. Ultima Underworld II, A Safe Passage Through Britannia, page 15
  5. In Ultima Underworld, the order Knights of Crux Ansata populates die the fourth level of the Stygian Abyss