Fors Fortuna: Roman Goddess of Luck

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The Romans have two Goddesses of Luck – the more well-known Fortuna and the more ancient Fors Fortuna. By the time of the Roman Empire, Fors Fortuna became an aspect of Fortuna. I regard Them to be separate Goddesses.

Fors Fortuna brought prosperity and divine blessings. (“Fors” means “she brings forth” from the Latin “fero.”) For this reason, She is a favorite of gamblers, slaves and common people. Gamblers placed bets in her name to win. Meanwhile, She brought poor people riches. Several of her temples were founded by former slaves in gratitude of their great fortune. They credit Her from raising them up from “rags to riches.”

Varro says that King Servius Tullius established the formal cultus for Fors Fortuna in the early days of Rome. Tullius built her main temple near the Forum Boarium. The King felt favored by the Goddess since She had raised him from being a son of a slave to the King of Rome.

The Festival for Fors Fortuna is on June 24. Ovid writes that this festival was a rowdy affair. Romans would decorate boats with flowers, and then race to her temple. They would gamble and get falling down drunk. Today people can celebrate in similar ways with boat races, betting, and drinking.

A Modern Prayer to Fors Fortuna

Salve Fors Fortuna!
Goddess of Good Luck
Goddess of Gamblers who bless their craps
In Your Name
Goddess of Poor People who bless their lottery tickets
In Your Name

You raise them from rags to riches
Roll the die in Your Name
Place the bets in Your Name
Bless our piety
In Your Name
Grant us good luck
Salve Fors Fortuna!

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