in Roman religion, goddess of chance or lot who became identified with the Greek Tyche; the original Italian deity was probably regarded as the bearer of prosperity and increase. As such she resembles a fertility deity, hence her association with the bounty of the soil and the fruitfulness of women. Frequently she was an oracular goddess consulted in various ways regarding the future. Fortuna was worshiped extensively in Italy from the earliest times. At Praeneste her shrine was a well-known oracular seat, as was her shrine at Antium. Fortuna is often represented bearing a cornucopia as the giver of abundance and a rudder as controller of destinies, or standing on a ball to indicate the uncertainty of fortune.
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