Fortuna Privata is the Goddess of the fortune or luck of the
individual or family life, as opposed to Fortuna Publica,
Who was concerned with the fortunes of the state.
Fortuna Privata had a temple on the Palatine Hill in Rome, traditionally
said to have been built by Servius Tullius, the sixth King of Rome, more legendary
than historical, who was credited with founding many of Fortuna's temples in
Rome. As he had been the son of a slave, it is not surprising that the worship
of Fortuna was linked with himfor She was the Goddess who brought about
changing circumstances and could even raise up a slave to become King.
According to Plutarch, Fortuna was so dedicated to Servius that
She was said to have been his lover, and entered his room in the night through
a small window in a gate. (Private Fortune, indeed!) This particular gate was
located at the beginning of the Sacra via, the "Sacred Way", the oldest
road in Rome: near to one of Fortuna's shrines, it was found not too far from
where the Arch of Titus stands at the entrance to the Forum today. In memory
of their assignations, this gate was called the Porta Fenestella, "the
Gate of the Window". However it's rather more likely that this small gate,
which was not a part of the city walls, was really a private entrance or back
door of some sort, as one of the other meanings of fenestella is "postern";
and I suspect the story was made up to explain the name of the gate, not the
other way around. At any rate, Servius was so associated with Fortuna's worship
that in other tales he was called Her son; by all accounts he certainly was
what we'd call "a child of fortune".
One would imagine that Fortuna Privata was given offerings within
the home on a personal basis, as that was Her sphere of influence, as well as
more public offerings at Her temple on the Palatine.