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HOME : Classical Antiquities : Classical Bronzes : Greco-Roman Bronze Votive Plaque of the Goddess Tyche
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Greco-Roman Bronze Votive Plaque of the Goddess Tyche - SP.207
Origin: Asia Minor
Circa: 200 BC to 300 AD
Dimensions: 2.75" (7.0cm) high x 2.25" (5.7cm) wide
Collection: Classical Antiquities
Medium: Bronze

Location: United States
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This bronze votive plaque bears a representation of the Greek goddess Tyche (known to the Romans as Fortuna). She faces the viewer, prepared to receive obeisance and the veneration owed her. Atop her head, she wears the classical turreted crown associated with the goddess Tyche, from which hangs a veil. Her hair is parted at the middle and swept back, with long, regal plaits descending upon her shoulders at each side. Her garments assume a V-shape at her neckline. Her countenance is somewhat simple in its celestial nobility. Her face is round and her eyes deeply set. The stylization of the plaque bears elements of Roman provincial origin, perhaps from Asia Minor.

Votive items such as these, minute representations of deities, were often placed in personal shrines and kept by individuals or households for devotional purposes. Such an object might have adorned the home of a Roman family as an expression of the Roman virtue of piety, to please and satisfy all of the gods and thereby bring peace and prosperity to the family and all the Roman people. The goddess, Tyche is a very apropos recipient of such piety, being the goddess that dispensed fortune. Often assimilated with other Greco-Roman deities, such as Isis, this goddess was indicative of the syncretism that characterized the religious landscape of the imperial period. Each city was believed to have its own Tyche, her turreted crown being evocative of her role as protectress of cities.

The plaque is fairly thick and was probably cast. With a pleasing green patina, the top edge was well-worn from antiquity. There are no apparent signs of devices for which to attach this plaque to its intended home. As such, it may have been inset into a wooden frame, resting on its lower, recessed edge.

In Greek mythology, Tyche was the goddess of fortune. In addition to her role as the goddess of fortune, however, Tyche was also the personification of a concept - tyche - that both intrigued and inspired ancient Greek poets, philosophers, writers, and artists. This concept was variously interpreted over the years, and represented not only fortune, but also luck, success, or even chance.

Tyche is listed as one of the Oceanids (daughters of the Titans Tethys and Okeanos) in the Theogony of Hesiod. Indeed, paired with her sister Eudora, she and her sibling together represent a combination of Bounty and Luck according to the Oxford Classical Dictionary. This same source also indicates that Tyche appears again as a personification associated with Bounty in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter.

It is also worth noting that Tyche was a highly regarded goddess in many of the cities of ancient Greece. She was worshipped and honored as a sort of patron deity of luck or fortune in these cities. Works of art were created to celebrate the power and prestige of this important goddess, and two of the most famous examples of ancient images of Tyche were the statue of Agathe Tyche (Good Fortune) by Praxiteles and the Tyche of Antioch by Eutychides. The Hellenistic Tyche of Antioch, in fact, was so popular that it became the prototype and standard upon which other images of the goddess were based. - (SP.207)


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