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date: 04 December 2020


  • Nicholas Purcell


Fortuna/Fors, the goddess of Chance or Luck, Greek *Tyche, of great importance in Italian and Roman religion, but not thought by the Romans to be part of the oldest stratum of their religious system (no feast-day in the oldest calendar, and no flamen; see flamines). Instead, her introduction was importantly attributed to the rather anomalous figure of King Servius *Tullius, who was associated with several of the more important of her numerous cults at Rome (Plut.Quaest. Rom. 74). Oracles of Fortuna existed at *Antium (Macrob.Sat. 1. 23. 13) and at *Praeneste, where the important cult of Fortuna Primigenia (the First-born: Plut. Quaest. Rom.106) was much embellished during the age of Roman and Italian success in Mediterranean conquest and its economic rewards. The combination of political achievement and a patronage of procreation is common in Fortuna-cults (for the latter, see e.g. ILLRP101, dedication by a local woman to Praenestine Fortuna as daughter of *Jupiter, to secure procreation, and note the existence of an important cult of Fortuna Muliebris, Women's Luck).

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