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Tales beyond belief

Tyche for kids
Discover the myths surrounding Tyche, the Greek goddess of Fortune and luck and associated with chance and fate. She was a goddess of fate and therefore linked to the Three Fates in ancient Greek mythology. Tyche was often worshipped in the cities as the guardian of good luck and prosperity.

If at any time their behavior was deemed prideful or arrogant, they would be severely admonished by the goddess Nemesis. Her powers of granting excessive favors to mortals who then became full of pride or arrogance were tempered by Nemesis the goddess of Revenge and the "dispenser of dues".

Who was Tyche?
Tyche was the Greek goddess of Fortune and one of the extraordinary number of gods and goddesses worshipped by the Ancient Greeks. The legend and myth about Tyche has been passed down through the ages and plays an important role in the history of the Ancient World and the study of the Greek classics. Tyche was associated with the myth of the Oceanides in which she was depicted as was an elder nymph, a goddess of the heavenly clouds, who was associated with the Titans and personified the blessing of Good Fortune. Her father was the Titan god Oceanus and mother was Tethys. She was given immortality and the powers of a goddess through Zeus after she helped saving Olympus from the scheming of
Gaia during the battle with the Titans. Later stories Oceanus and his wife Tethys. Later myths concerning the Olympian gods tell that Tyche was the daughter of Hermes and Aphrodite. She was worshipped in various parts of Greece, but more particularly by the Athenians, who believed in her special preference for their city.

Facts about Tyche
Tyche features in the religious beliefs of the ancient Greeks which are based on the idea that these supernatural beings resembled mortals but possessed great magical and mystic powers. The following information, facts and profile provides a fast overview of Tyche:

  • Greek Name: Tyche

  • Role & Function: Her function is described as being the goddess of fortune and luck

  • Status: Daughter of the Titan gods Oceanus and Tethys or alternatively Aphrodite and Hermes

  • Symbols: The wheel, wings, the sceptre, cornucopia (horn of plenty), ship rudders and the sceptre

  • Gender: Female

  • Roman Counterpart: The Roman equivalent of Tyche was Fortuna

  • Name of Husband: Unmarried

Tyche - Good and Bad Luck
Tyche personified the combination of unexpected, random, circumstances that we call luck, fortune, chance or fluke can be good or evil. The element of ill fortune and bad luck is reflected by words such as disaster, misfortune and unlucky whereas good luck and fortune reflect success, and prosperity. While these are seen as two separate manifestations, they are always seen as Tyche, a single, united Goddess. She is however seen as irresponsible and fickle in her awards. She heaps gifts from a horn of plenty, others she deprives of all that they have. If a person succeeded in all he undertook without possessing any special merit of his own, Tyche was said to have smiled on his birth. If  undeserved  bad luck followed him through life, and his efforts resulted in failure, it was attributed to her adverse influence. As time passed another goddess emerged called Eutychia who was the Goddess of Happiness who possessed only the positive attributes of Tyche.

Tyche (Roman Counterpart was Fortuna)
When the Roman Empire conquered the Greeks in 146BC, the Romans assimilated various elements from other cultures and civilisations, including the gods and goddesses that were worshipped by the Ancient Greeks. Many of the Greek gods and goddesses were therefore adopted by the Romans but were given Latin names. Her Roman counterpart was Fortuna.

The Symbols of Tyche
Each ancient Greek god and goddess were associated with special symbols, animals and attributes. The Symbols of Tyche helped the ancient Greeks instantly recognize the gods and goddesses that were depicted in the pictures, mosaics, statues and images. She is depicted in various forms some bearing in her hand two rudders, appearing blindfolded or standing on a ball or wheel, indicative of the fickleness and ever-revolving changes of fortune. The symbols of Tyche were the wheel, wings, the sceptre, cornucopia (horn of plenty), a ball, ship rudders and the sceptre. The meanings of her symbols were as follows:

  • The two rudders
    • These symbolize the ability of Tyche to steer or guide lives in two directions creating the fortunate and the unfortunate among mortals
  • The wheel
    • The wheel symbolized the wheel of fortune
  • The sceptre
    • The symbol of authority
  • Wings
    • Her wings symbolized her as gifted with magic and the power of flight
  • Cornucopia (horn of plenty)
    • The symbol of prosperity and riches
  • The ball
    • Juggling with a ball epitomizes the uncertainty of chance:  sometimes up, sometimes down.
Gods and Deities
Greek Gods and Goddesses

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