She is also related to Divine Providence, but that's another story... Ross?
This was more of a suggestion for the Cary Yale "World", a few steps removed from my preferred interpretation of her, as Fama.
Michael and I had a discussion about this a couple of months ago, and it produced a few interesting images and reflections.
"What do you think of the CY World (and by extension some others) as Providence? I forgot what got me onto that idea, but it seems like an appealing idea. God rules the universe, including Fortune, through his providence.
Trouble is, I can't find any medieval illuminations of personifications of Providence. The Roman one is pretty standard, on coins - usually it is a woman standing, holding either a cornucopia or a staff, and a globe (or pointing to one).
But Medieval, nada as yet.
Some later ones are by Federico Zuccari (1542-1609) and Pietro da Cortona (1596-1669).
Zuccari's is in the Sala dei Mesi (Hall of the Months) of the Palazzo Costaguti in Rome.
Cortona's "Triumph of Providence" is interesting in the center of the allegory, which shows Providence triumphing over Time and the Fates (and perhaps other assorted things I can't make out).
It seems there was no fixed model for the allegory of Providence, but it does make sense for such a figure to be in a tarot in that place (I would argue underneath the Resurrection, but why not above it?)."
I had found a quote by Hannah Pitkin -
Hanna Pitkin in "Fortune is a Woman" summarizes it nicely -
"For the early Middle Ages, the imagery [of Fortune] was set by Boethius' enormously influential Consolations of Philosophy, which presents a much more somber picture. Much of the metaphor and imagery surrounding fortune disappears; there remains only the wheel, "which fortune grimly turns." The wheel's movement, and fortune's character, shift from capriciousness to inexorability. And far from being propitiated or influenced by supplication, fortune - though still personified and female - has become an agent of the Christian God, part of the universal order and hierarchy, working out divine providence. In the medieval understanding, from Boethius to Aquinas, God governs the world through his providence, which is the reason of the universe, and through fate, which is the active order of the universe exercised from above in the great hierarchy of being. This latter, fate, in turn, governs fortune, who becomes ultimately "the duly appointed Intelligence in charge of the distribution of external goods", as distinct from "the goods of the soul."
Michael responded in part with observations on the Cortona image and a quote from Boethius -
"Very cool. Time, Death, and Fortune (in her most exalted form).
In the case of Cortona, he is taking an aspect of Fortune that is was present since Boethius, her role as God's agent, and focusing on that ...
My object has been to bring you to know that the power of evil men, which seems to you so unworthy, is in truth nothing; and that you may see that those wicked men, of whose impunity you complained, do never miss the reward of their ill-doing; and that you may learn that their passion, which you prayed might soon be cut short, is not long enduring,and that the longer it lasts, the more unhappiness it brings, and that it would be most unhappy if it endured for ever.
For Providence is the very divine reason which arranges all things, and rests with the supreme disposer of all; while FATE is that ordering which is apart of all changeable things, and by means of which Providence binds all things together in their own order. Providence embraces all things equally, however different they may be,even however infinite: when they are assigned to their own places, forms, and times, FATE sets them in an orderly motion; so that this development of the temporal order, unified in the intelligence of the mind of God, is Providence.
The working of this unified development in time is called FATE. These are different, but the one hangs upon the other.For this order, which is ruled by FATE,emanates from the directness of Providence.Just as when a craftsman perceives in his mind the form of the object he would make, he sets his working power in motion, and brings through the order of time that which he had seen directly and ready present to his mind. So by Providence does God dispose all that is to be done, each thing by itself and unchangeably;while these same things which Providence has arranged are worked out by FATE in many ways and in time. Whether, therefore, FATE works by the aid of the divine spirits which serve Providence, or whether it works by the aid of the soul, or of all nature, or the motions of the stars in heaven, or the powers of angels, or the manifold skill of other spirits, whether the course of FATE is bound together by any or all of these, one thing is certain, namely that Providence is the one unchangeable direct power which gives form to all things which are to come to pass, while FATE is the changing bond,the temporal order of those things which are arranged to come to pass by the direct disposition of God. Wherefore everything which is subject to FATE is also subject to Providence, to which FATE is itself subject. But there are things which, though beneath Providence, are above the course of FATE.
Those things ate they which are immovably set nearest the primary divinity, and are there beyond the course of the movement of FATE. As in the case of spheres moving round the same axis, that which is nearest the centre approaches most nearly the simple motion of the centre,and is itself, as it were, an axis around which turn those which are set outside it. That sphere which is outside all turns through a greater circuit, and fulfills a longer course in proportion as it is farther from the central axis;and if it be joined or connect itself with that centre, it is drawn into the direct motion thereof, and no longer strays or strives to turn away. In like manner, that which goes farther from the primary intelligence, is bound the more by the ties of FATE, and the nearer it approaches the axis of all, the more free it is from FATE. But that which clings without movement to the firm intellect above, surpasses altogether the bond of FATE. As, therefore,reasoning is to understanding; as that which becomes is to that which is; as time is to eternity; as the circumference is to the centre:so is the changing course of FATE to the immovable directness of Providence. That course of FATE moves the heavens and the stars, moderates the first principles in their turns, and alters their forms by balanced interchangings. The same course renews all things that are born and wither away by like advances of of spring and seed. It constrains, too, the actions and FORTUNES of men by an unbreakable chain of causes:and these causes must be unchangeable, as they proceed from the beginnings of an unchanging Providence. Thus is the world governed for the best if a directness, which rests in the intelligence of God, puts forth an order of causes which may not swerve. This order restrains by its own unchangeableness changeable things, which might otherwise run hither and thither at random.
The discussion turned to images of "Bridled Fortune" (Fortune as the servant of God - another way of interpreting or personifying Providence).