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Formerly a goddess in the Roman pantheon, Fortune and her iconographic attribute, the wheel, operate in medieval culture as key symbolic figures mediating ideas about transience, contingency, the loss of material goods and status, and the ethics of responding to these experiences. Influenced by the reception of Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy, the imagery of Fortune carries a political charge in its particular association with ruling aristocracies. Developments in the representation of Fortune trace changing practices of consumption and attitudes to self‐determination in the Middle Ages.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Encyclopaedia of Medieval Literature in Britain
EditorsSian Echard, Robert Rouse
ISBN (Electronic)9781118396957
ISBN (Print)978111839698
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Boethius
  • Charles of Orleans
  • Chaucer, Geofrey
  • Lydgate, John
  • Troilus and Criseyde
  • tragedy


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