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AMONG the more popular divinities of the early Grecians was Tyche, the goddess of good luck, whose worship, according to Plutarch, complemented that of Destiny. She ruled over accidental events, and was the dispenser alike of blessings and misfortunes; but when too lavish in the distribution of her favors she was liable to incur the jealousy of Nemesis, the goddess of retribution.

Tyche, the Goddess of Fortune, is not mentioned in the works of the earliest Grecian poets, but Homer and Hesiod both allude to an ocean nymph of this name who was gathering flowers with Proserpina when the latter was carried off by Pluto.

The Theban lyric poet Pindar appears to have originated the worship of Tyche, whom he celebrated in verse, and invested with the title Pharopolis, or Protectress of Cities; and in Greece, towards the close of the fifth century B.C., this goddess was generally believed to be the ruler of worldly affairs. While Zeus was, indeed, the most powerful of the gods, Tyche was regarded by some as having the character of Providence; yet she was more generally thought to be identical with Chance or Luck. The famous Ionic philosopher Anaxagoras said that Fortune was a cause unknown to human reason; for some things come by Necessity, some by fatal Destiny, and others by deliberate Counsel.

Next: II. The Roman Goddess Fortuna