Fortuna Viscata is one of the odder aspects of the Roman Luck-Goddess Fortuna. Her title, Viscata, means "glue", specifically bird-lime, a sticky substance made from the bark of the holly tree (or from mistletoe) that was used to catch birds; it was smeared on perches or twigs and the birds, upon landing, would stick fast. (Viscata is related to our English word "viscous", meaning "sticky" or "of a thick fluid texture".) Viscata in Fortuna's case is usually taken to mean "Fortuna the Fowler", referring to the type of hunter who ensnares fowl. She was evidentially considered important enough to warrant a shrine or temple in the city of Rome, which like so many others belonging to Fortuna was credited to the early Roman King Servius Tullius. This shrine may have been on the Palatine hill; however all evidence of it is now lost.

Though Plutarch, a writer of Greek birth active in the 1st century CE, calls Viscata "a ridiculous name", he explains that perhaps the name is a metaphor for Fortune's ability to catch and hold people in Her net of fate from afar. So, then, as "Sticky Fortune" She is the one who entangles and fixes mankind in the circumstances of Fate, from which there is little hope of escape.

An alternate and rather happier interpretation sees Fortuna Viscata as the Goddess Who entices or brings good things from afar and fixes them permanently in an individual's life, and Who makes prosperity stick around.

She was called in the Greek Tykhe Ixeuteria "Fortune Who is Like Bird-Lime"; this epithet is defined as being the equivalent of aucupium, "Fowler", though another definition of aucupium is "eavesdropper".

Also called: Fortuna Aucupium

















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