Mounted in a stunning 18 karat gold ring.
Tyche, Greek goddess of luck or chance, known
as Fortuna to the Romans, was a popular deity,
especially in the Roman world. The benevolent
blessings of Tyche/Fortuna were eagerly sought,
especially in matters involving risk taking,
contests, business or war. It was not uncommon
for a temple of Fortuna to be located near the
central business district of a roman town, so the
goddess could preside over the transactions of
daily life. The largest temple of Fortuna in the
classical world was located at Palestrina, south of
Rome, the ruins of which still awe visitors today.
Fortuna appears frequently on roman coins
minted to pay the army, for she was thought to
bring victory in battle. The coins of many Greek
cities were minted wearing the image of Tyche,
meant to promote successful commerce. Tyche
was also seen as the personification of a city's
spirit, its presiding genius. Tyche is usually
depicted as a beautiful woman, dressed in
flowing robes, and carrying a cornucopia (a horn
of plenty) as a symbol of wealth and abundance.
When she represents a city, she wears a crown of
turrets and walls (as in the case of this intaglio).
She appears also holding a wheel, a metaphor
for life’s ever-changing circumstances. Small
devotional statues of Fortuna and talismanic
jewelry bearing her image were popular
throughout the vast Roman Empire. Her cult
survives in the modern world in the person of
"lady luck", frequently invoked by gamblers.