Take a tour of the Temple of Firstborn Fortune in Palestrina because you’ve never heard of it! And you’ll learn how Goddess Fortune had great appeal in antiquity. After all, she was a talisman in a world that was full of uncertainties.
Fortune-worship was ubiquitous. She was Fortuna in and around Rome, Tyche or Eutyche in the Greek world, and comparable to Isis in Egypt. Ancient sculptors crafted her holding a cornucopia, proving that she was a bountiful goddess on a good day. But statues of capricious Fortune tread on men. Fortune was at times “Firstborn,” because she was the primordial chaos in which all things were possible. And from her creative chaos came order, structure, and civilization, which her children Jupiter and Juno represented. The ancient sculpture seen here shows her with her son Jupiter.
Despite her importance, very few modern scholars give her the attention she deserves. And guides rarely mention that her temples stood (and still stand in some cases) in and near Rome. But the maximum expression of ancient Fortune-worship is now in the town of Palestrina (about 45 kilometers/27 miles from Rome).