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Fortuna

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Archaeological Museum in Milan, (Italy). Roman...

Archaeological Museum in Milan, (Italy). Roman goddess Fortuna (good luck); fresco from a Roman ara. Picture by Giovanni Dall'Orto, July 25 2003. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fortuna is a Roman deity, equivalent to the Greek Tyche. The most notable difference between the Roman and Greek forms is that the Roman Fortuna is, at times, less universal than Tyche.

Like Tyche, Fortuna represents a general concept of chance and luck. Her temples were in specific cities like Rome, with an unrivaled site at Palestrina. But unlike Tyche (who had altars at Thebes and Athens), the Romans observed a “Fortune of the Day.”

The Romans also invoked Fortuna for victory in battle. In the Middle Ages and Renaissance Fortuna was very popular, often depicted with a wheel turning through cycles of good and bad luck, joy and sadness. She’s also depicted with a rudder, a globe or with wheels or wings.

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