Rota fortunae (wheel of fortune)

rotafortunae

The Wheel of Fortune, or Rota Fortunae, is a concept in medieval and ancient philosophy referring to the capricious nature of Fate. The wheel belongs to the goddess Fortuna, who spins it at random, changing the positions of those on the wheel – some suffer great misfortune, others gain windfalls.

 

The concept arose in antiquity; it was used by Cicero. The Wheel originally belonged to the Roman goddess Fortuna. Fortuna eventually became Christianized: the Roman philosopher Boethius (d. 524) was a major source for the medieval view of the Wheel, writing about it in his Consolatio Philosophiae.

I know how Fortune is ever most friendly and alluring to those whom she strives to deceive, until she overwhelms them with grief beyond bearing, by deserting them when least expected … Are you trying to stay the force of her turning wheel? Ah! dull-witted mortal, if Fortune begin to stay still, she is no longer Fortune. ~ Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy 

The Wheel of Fortune card in a Tarot pack connects it with the wheel mentioned in the Book of Ezekiel (10:9-13). However, exactly how much relation the Biblical passage has to the actual evolution of the concept is unclear: medieval writers made little reference to it in that context.

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  1. Pingback: wheel of fortune! « Clear Circle

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