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Fortuna governs the circle of the four stages of life, the Wheel of Fortune, in a manuscript of Carmina Burana

In Roman mythology, Fortuna (equivalent to the Greek goddess Tyche) goddess of fortune, was the personification of luck; hopefully she brought good luck, but she could be represented veiled and blind, as modern depictions of Justice are seen, and came to represent the capriciousness of life. Atrox Fortuna claimed the lives of Augustus' two hopeful grandsons, educated to take up princely roles,[1] for she was also a goddess of fate. Her father was Jupiter, and though she had no lovers or children of her own, Fortuna was propitiated by mothers.

Fortuna had a retinue that included Copia, "bounty", among her blessings. Under the name Annonaria she protected grain supplies. In the Roman calendar, June 11 was sacred to Fortuna, with a greater festival to Fors Fortuna[2] on the 24th.[3]

Roman writers disagreed whether her cult was introduced to Rome by Servius Tullius.[4] or Ancus Marcius.[5] Fortuna had a temple in the Forum Boarium and a public sanctuary on the Quirinalis, as the tutelary genius of Roma herself, Fortuna Populi Romani, the "Fortune of the Roman people", for Fortuna, the embodiment of the chaotic chance event as modern historians would see it, was closely tied by the Romans to virtus, strength of character; flaws in the main public actors brought on the calamities of ill fortune, as Roman historians like Sallust saw her role: "Truly, when in the place of work, idleness, in place of the spirit of measure and equity, caprice and pride invade, fortune is changed just as with morality".[6]

Fortuna and Pontos

At an oracle in Praeneste connected with the Temple of Fortuna Primigena the future was chosen by a small boy choosing oak rods with possible futures written on them.

All over the Roman world, Fortuna was worshipped at a great number of shrines under various titles that were applied to her according to the various circumstances of life in which her influence was hoped to have a positive effect. Fortuna was not always positive: she was doubtful (Fortuna Dubia); she could be "fickle fortune" (Fortuna Brevis), or downright evil luck (Fortuna Mala).

She is invoked in a variety of domestic and personal contexts, demonstrating her importance across the Empire. For example, Fortuna is dedicated to in an amulet from a cupboard in room VII in the House of Menander in Pompeii, where she is linked with the syncretised Egyptian Goddess Isis to become Isis-Fortuna[7]. She is also very closely related to the God Bonus Eventus[8], who is often represented as some form of counterpart to Fortuna. Both Fortuna and Bonus Eventus appear on small artefacts such as amulets and intaglio engraved gems across the Roman world.

Her name seems to derive from Vortumna, "she who revolves the year", however the earliest reference to the Wheel of Fortune, emblematic of the endless changes in life between prosperity and disaster, occurs in Cicero, In Pisonem, ca. 55 BCE.

In Seneca's tragedy Agamemnon, a chorus addresses Fortuna in terms that would remain almost proverbial, and in a high heroic ranting mode that Renaissance writers would emulate:

"O Fortune, who dost bestow the throne’s high boon with mocking hand, in dangerous and doubtful state thou settest the too exalted. Never have sceptres obtained calm peace or certain tenure; care on care weighs them down, and ever do fresh storms vex their souls. ...great kingdoms sink of their own weight, and Fortune gives way ‘neath the burden of herself. Sails swollen with favouring breezes fear blasts too strongly theirs; the tower which rears its head to the very clouds is beaten by rainy Auster.... Whatever Fortune has raised on high, she lifts but to bring low. Modest estate has longer life; then happy he whoe’er, content with the common lot, with safe breeze hugs the shore, and, fearing to trust his skiff to the wider sea, with unambitious oar keeps close to land."[9]

Contents

Middle Ages

The traumatic humiliation of Emperor Valerian by king Shapur I of Persia (260) passed into European cultural memory as an instance of the reversals of Fortuna. In Hans Holbein's pen-and-ink drawing (1521), the universal lesson is brought home by its contemporary setting.

Fortuna did not disappear from the popular imagination with the ascendancy of Christianity by any means (illustration, left). In the 6th century, the Consolation of Philosophy, by statesman and philosopher Boethius, written while he faced execution, reflected the Christian theology of casus, that the apparently random and often ruinous turns of Fortune's Wheel are in fact both inevitable and providential, that even the most coincidental events are part of God's hidden plan which one should not resist or try to change. Events, individual decisions, the influence of the stars were all merely vehicles of Divine Will. Fortune crept back in to popular acceptance. In succeeding generations Boethius' Consolation was required reading for scholars and students.

Albrecht Dürer's engraving of Fortuna, ca 1502

The ubiquitous image of the Wheel of Fortune found throughout the Middle Ages and beyond was a direct legacy of the second book of Boethius's Consolation. The Wheel appears in many renditions from tiny miniatures in manuscripts to huge stained glass windows in cathedrals, such as at Amiens. Lady Fortune is usually represented as larger than life to underscore her importance. The wheel characteristically has four shelves, or stages of life, with four human figures, usually labeled on the left regnabo (I shall reign), on the top regno (I reign) and is usually crowned, descending on the right regnavi (I have reigned) and the lowly figure on the bottom is marked sum sine regno (I have no kingdom). Medieval representations of Fortune emphasize her duality and instability, such as two faces side by side like Janus; one face smiling the other frowning; half the face white the other black; she may be blindfolded but without scales, blind to justice. She was associated with the cornucopia, ship's rudder, the ball and the wheel. The cornucopia is where plenty flows from, the Helmsman's rudder steers fate, the globe symbolizes chance (who gets good or bad luck), and the wheel symbolizes that luck, good or bad, never lasts.

Fortune would have many influences in cultural works throughout the Middle Ages. In Le Roman de la Rose, Fortune frustrates the hopes of a lover who has been helped by a personified character "Reason". In Dante's Inferno, in the seventh canto, Virgil explains the nature of Fortune. Boccaccio's De Casibus Virorum Illustrium ("The Fortunes of Famous Men"), used by John Lydgate to compose his Fall of Princes, tells of many where the turn of Fortune's wheel brought those most high to disaster. Fortune makes her appearance in Carmina Burana (see image). Lady Fortune appears in chapter 25 of Machiavelli's The Prince, in which he says Fortune only rules one half of men's fate, the other half being of their own will. Machiavelli reminds the reader that Fortune is a woman, that she favours a strong, or even violent hand, and that she favours the more aggressive and bold young man than a timid elder. Even Shakespeare was no stranger to Lady Fortune:

When in disgrace with Fortune and men's eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state ...Sonnet 29

Pars Fortuna in Astrology

llustration by Al-Biruni (973-1048) of different phases of the moon, from the Persian Kitab al-tafhim

In Astrology the term ‘Pars Fortuna’ represents a mathematical point in the zodiac derived by the longitudinal positions of the Sun, Moon and Ascendant (Rising sign) in the birth chart of an individual. It represents an especially beneficial point in the horoscopic chart. In Arabic Astrology, this point is called Arabian Parts.[10]

The procedure followed for fixing one’s Pars Fortuna in ancient and traditional astrology depended on the time of birth, viz., during daylight or night time (whether the Sun was above or below the horizon). In modern western astrology the day time formula only was used for many years, but with more knowledge of ancient astrology,the two calculation method is now often in use.

The formula for calculating the day time Part of Fortune (PF) is (using the 360 degree positions for each point):

PF = Ascendant + Moon - Sun

The formula for the night-time Part of Fortune is PF = Ascendant + Sun - Moon

Each calculation method results in a different zodiac position for the Part of Fortune.[11]

Al Biruni (973 – 1048), an 11th-century mathematician, astronomer and scholar, who was the greatest proponent of this system of prediction, listed a total of 97 Arabic Parts, which were widely used for astrological consultations. Paul Vachier has prepared an Arabic Parts Calculator for all the Arabic Parts. [12]

Aspects of Fortuna

Lady Fortune in a Boccaccio manuscript
  • Fortuna Annonaria brought the luck of the harvest
  • Fortuna Belli the fortune of war
  • Fortuna Primigenia directed the fortune of a firstborn child at the moment of birth
  • Fortuna Virilis attended a man's career
  • Fortuna Redux brought one safely home
  • Fortuna Respiciens the fortune of the provider
  • Fortuna Muliebris the luck of a woman. Typical of Roman attitudes, the fortune of a woman in marriage, however, was Fortuna Virilis.
  • Fortuna Victrix brought victory in battle
  • Fortuna Augusta the fortune of the emperor [13]
  • Fortuna Balnearis the fortune of the baths[13].
  • Fortuna Conservatrix the fortune of the Preserver [14]
  • Fortuna Equestris fortune of the Knights [14].
  • Fortuna Huiusque fortune of the present day[14].
  • Fortuna Obsequens fortune of indulgence[14].
  • Fortuna Privata fortune of the private individual[14].
  • Fortuna Publica fortune of the people[14].
  • Fortuna Romana fortune of Rome[14].
  • Fortuna Virgo fortune of the virgin [14].

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Marguerite Kretschmer, "Atrox Fortuna" The Classical Journal 22.4 (January 1927:267-275).
  2. ^ Samuel Ball Platner and Thomas Ashby, A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome,; (London: Oxford University Press) 1929: on-line text.
  3. ^ Ovid, Fasti VI.773‑786.
  4. ^ Varro, De Lingua Latina VI.17.
  5. ^ Plutarch; see Samuel Ball Platner and Thomas Ashby, A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome,; (London: Oxford University Press) 1929: on-line text.
  6. ^ Verum ubi pro labore desidia, pro continentia et aequitate lubido atque superbia invasere, fortuna simul cum moribus immutatur, Sallust, Catilina, ii.5. Sallust's view of fortuna is discussed by Etienne Tiffou, "Salluste et la Fortuna" Phoenix 31.4 (Winter 1977):349-360), who adduces this quotation.
  7. ^ Allison, P., 2006, The Insula of Menander at Pompeii: Vol.III, The Finds; A Contextual Study, Oxford: Claredon Press
  8. ^ Greene, E.M., “The Intaglios”, in Birley, A. and Blake, J., 2005, Vindolanda: The Excavations of 2003-2004, Bardon Mill: Vindolanda Trust, pp187-193
  9. ^ Agamemnon, translation by Frank Justus Miller (on-line text),
  10. ^ -Part of Fortune; David Plant, "Fortune, Spirit and the Lunation Cycle"
  11. ^ David Plant, op. cit..
  12. ^ Paul Vachier, "Arabic Parts".
  13. ^ a b http://www.thaliatook.com/OGOD/augusta.html Augusta
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h http://www.mlahanas.de/RomanEmpire/Mythology/Fortuna.html Fortuna
  15. ^ Arabic Parts

References

External links

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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

There is more than one place called Fortuna:

Costa Rica

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Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

Fortuna
by Thomas Carlyle

The wind blows east, the wind blows west,
And the frost falls and the rain:
A weary heart went thankful to rest,
And must rise to toil again, ’gain,
And must rise to toil again.

The wind blows east, the wind blows west,
And there comes good luck and bad;
The thriftiest man is the cheerfulest;
’Tis a thriftless thing to be sad, sad,
’Tis a thriftless thing to be sad.

The wind blows east, the wind blows west;
Ye shall know a tree by its fruit:
This world, they say, is worst to the best;—
But a dastard has evil to boot, boot,
But a dastard has evil to boot.

The wind blows east, the wind blows west;
What skills it to mourn or to talk?
A journey I have, and far ere I rest;
I must bundle my wallets and walk, walk,
I must bundle my wallets and walk.

The wind does blow as it lists alway;
Canst thou change this world to thy mind?
The world will wander its own wise way;
I also will wander mine, mine,
I also will wander mine.


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