Fortuna, who is equated with the Greek goddess Tyche, is an ancient goddess of the Italic peninsula. Her name means "fortune." She is associated with both bona (good) and mala (bad) fortune, chance, and luck. Mala Fortuna had an altar on the Esquiline; King Servius Tullius (known for his building projects in Rome and reforms) is said to have built Bona Fortuna's temple in the Forum Boarium+.
In her depictions, Fortuna may hold a cornucopia, sceptre, and the rudder and helm of a ship. In this picture, she is shown with her feet balancing on a globe of the world. Some archaeologists think she has the remnants of wings in this picture, according to 'The Renaissance of the Greek Ideal,' by Diana Watts. Wings and also wheels are associated with this goddess*.
Sources for Fortuna are both epigraphic and literary. There are a number of very different cognomina (nicknames) that let us see which specific aspects of fortune Romans associated with her. In a 1900 TAPha Vol. XXXI article, 'The Cognomina of the Goddess 'Fortuna'," Princeton University's Jesse Benedict Carter argues the cognomina emphasize the place, time, and people affected by Fortuna's protecting powers. Those common to both literature and inscriptions are:
- Huiusce Diei (cult seems to have started in 168 B.C., as a vow at the battle at Pydna, with a temple probably situated on the Palatine)
- Publica (had 2+ temples in Rome, both on the Quirinal, with birth dates of April 1 and May 25; fully, Fortuna Publica Populi Romani [Quiritium])
- Respiciens (who had a statue on the Palatine)
- Virilis (worshiped on April 1st)
+The Art of Building in Ancient and Modern Times, Volume 1, by Johann Georg Heck; 1856
* Bell's New Pantheon; or Historical Dictionary of the Gods, Demi-gods, Heroes, and Fabulous Personages of Antiquity, London: 1790.