Fortuna Romana ("The Luck of Rome"), also called Fortuna
Populi Romani ("Fortune of the Roman People"), is an aspect of the
Roman Goddess of Luck and Fate Who specifically watches over and provides for
the city of Rome and its people. As patron Deity of Rome, She was considered
the guardian spirit, or juno (equivalent to the
male genius) of that city. Her worship in Rome comes at a time when Fortuna's
Greek equivalant, Tykhe, was being used in the eastern stretches of the Empire
as a guardian Goddess of cities.
The 4th century CE Emperor Constantine had a temple to the Goddess
Fortuna built in his new city of Constantinople (now it's Istanbul, not Constantinople,
been a long time gone), even though by that time he had already converted to
Christianity! This temple was complete with a grand statue of the Goddess as
Fortuna Romana. He had moved the capital of the Roman Empire from Rome to Constantinople,
and it may be that he felt it ritually necessary to bring the protective Deity
of the Empire with him to Her new capital, so that Her Luck would follow him
On one coin of Constantine is an image of the Genio Populi
Romani, the (male) guardian spirit or genius of the Roman people.
Like Fortuna, He holds a cornucopia or horn of plenty. He is probably to be
associated with the Emperor himself as guardian of the state.
The Goddess Roma is closely connected
to Fortuna Romana, as She was also first worshipped as the spirit of the city
of Rome, and in Imperial times became the city itself personified.