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6.7.6 Statuette of Isis-Fortuna

This statuette portrays Isis combined with Fortuna, a fertility goddess who controlled the fate of both individuals and cities. This statuette of Isis-Fortuna has attributes of each goddess. She wears the elaborate headdress of Isis, a lunar disk between horns or feathers, and the front of her long dress is tied in a knot on her chest, the so-called Isis knot. She also holds the usual attributes of Fortuna. The rudder in her right hand refers to her control over the course of human lives, and the cornucopia in her left arm is a symbol of abundance and prosperity.
2nd century AD
Sculpture
J. Paul Getty Museum
Statuette of Isis-Fortuna. Sculpture. 2nd century A.D. J. Paul Getty Museum, Villa Collection, Malibu, California. http://www.getty.edu/art/collection/objects/6637/unknown-maker-statuette-of-isis-fortuna-roman-2nd-century-ad/.
Many of the gods the Romans adopted from conquered lands had attributes or powers similar to Roman gods. Sometimes Romans combined these two gods, as in this statuette of Isis-Fortuna. The goddess is wearing the headdress of the Egyptian Isis with a lunar disk between horns or feathers, and the front of her dress is tied in a knot on her chest, which is an attribute, or characteristic, of Isis. The statuette also has attributes of the Roman goddess Fortuna, who controlled the fate of people. In her right hand the goddess holds a ship’s rudder, a symbol of her control over the course of human lives. In her left arm she has the cornucopia — the horn of plenty filled with fruits and vegetables, a symbol of prosperity and abundance.
In the syncretic Roman religion, Isis was often merged and identified with other goddesses, such as Ceres (Demeter) or Venus (Aphrodite). This statuette represents Isis combined with Fortuna, a goddess who controlled the fate of both individuals and cities and was the personification of luck in the Roman pantheon. The statuette depicts a goddess wearing the headdress of Isis with a lunar disk between horns or feathers, and the front of her dress is tied in a knot on her chest, which is characteristic of Isis. She also holds the usual attributes of Fortuna: the ship’s rudder in her right hand that refers to her control over the course of human lives, and the cornucopia — horn of plenty — in her left arm, a symbol of prosperity, nourishment, and abundance.