Plutarch, De Fortuna Romanorum 10

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[10] And even the kings who succeeded Numa honoured Fortune as the head and foster-parent of Rome and, as Pindar has it, truly the "Prop of the State."And Servius Tullius, the man who of all kings most increased the power of his people, and introduced a well-regulated government and imposed order upon both the holding of elections and military procedure, and became the first censor and overseer of the lives and decorum of the citizens, and held the highest repute for courage and wisdom, of his own initiative attached himself to Fortune and bound his sovereignty fast to her, with the result that it was even thought that Fortune consorted with him, descending into his chamber through a certain window which they now call the Porta Fenestella.He, accordingly, built on the Capitoline a temple of Fortune which is now called the Temple of Fortuna Primigenia (which one might translate as "First-Born") and the Temple of Fortuna Obsequens, which some think means "obedient" and others "gracious." However, I prefer to abandon the Latin nomenclature, and shall endeavour to enumerate in Greek the different functions of the shrines of Fortune. There is, in fact, a shrine of Private Fortune on the Palatine, and the shrine of the Fowler's Fortune which, even though it be a ridiculous name, yet gives reason for reflexion on metaphorical grounds, as if she attracted far-away objects and held them fast when they come into contact with her. Beside the mossy Spring, as it is called, there is even yet a temple of Virgin Fortune; and on the Esquiline a shrine of Regardful Fortune. In the Angiportus Longusd there is an altar of Fortune of Good Hope; and there is also beside the altar of Venus of the Basket a shrine of the Men's Fortune. And there are countless other honours and appellations of Fortune, the greater part of which Servius instituted; for he knew that "Fortune is of great moment, or rather, she is everything in human affairs," and particularly since he himself, through good fortune, had been promoted from the family of a captive enemy to the kingship. For, when the town of Corniculum was taken by the Romans, a captive maiden Ocrisia, whose fortune could not obscure either her beauty or her character, was given to be a slave to Tanaquil, the wife of king Tarquin; and a certain dependent, one of these whom the Romans call clientes, had her to wife; from these parents Servius was born. Others deny this, but assert that Ocrisia was a maiden who took the first-fruits and the libations on all occasions from the royal table and brought them to the hearth; and once on a time when she chanced, as usual, to be casting the offerings upon the fire, suddenly, as the flames died down, the member of a man rose up out of the hearth; and this the girl, greatly frightened, told to Tanaquil only. Now Tanaquil was an intelligent and understanding woman, and she decked the maiden in garments such as become a bride, and shut her up in the room with the apparition, for she judged it to be of a divine nature. Some declare that this love was manifested by the Lar of the house, others that it was by Vulcan. At any rate, it resulted in the birth of Servius, and, while he was still a child, his head shone with a radiance very like the gleam of lightning. But Antias and his school say not so, but relate that when Servius's wife Gegania lay dying, in the presence of his mother he fell into a sleep from dejection and grief; and as he slept, his face was seen by the women to be surrounded by the gleam of fire. This was a token of his birth from fire and an excellent sign pointing to his unexpected accession to the kingship, which he gained after the death of Tarquin, by the zealous assistance of Tanaquil. Inasmuch as he of all kings is thought to have been naturally the least suited to monarchy and the least desirous of it, he who was minded to resign the kingship, but was prevented from doing so; for it appears that Tanaquil on her death-bed made him swear that he would remain in power and would ever set before him the ancestral Roman form of government. Thus to Fortune wholly belongs the kingship of Servius, which he received contrary to his expectations and retained against his will.



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