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Tyche


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Fate, fortune both good and bad. Like Moira (see fate), Tyche gives everything to mortals from birth. The mightiest of the Moirai in Pindar, she is the child of Zeus Eleutherius. A splendid lyric fragment praises noble Tyche who dispenses more good than evil from her scales: grace shines about her golden wing, and she lights up the darkness. Though ambivalent by nature, she tends to be favourable, comparable with the agathos daimōn.

The popular view of a capricious, malignant Tyche emerges from New Comedy: she was dangerous, senseless, blind, wretched, etc. In romances she figures large as a convenient plot device. Negative in Thucydides 2 as blows of Fate, or an inscrutable element that confuses human affairs, she plays a larger role in Polybius. Cunning Tyche is sudden, changeable, jealous. Nevertheless the historian contrasts this popular image of all‐powerful Chance with what can be expected as reasonable historical development, like Rome's rise to power.

See also fortuna/fors.

Subjects: Classical Studies — Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500).


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