November 2021

The Tyche of Thessaloniki

Η Τύχη της Θεσσαλονίκης. © ΥΠΠΟΑ-ΑΜΘ

Fragment of a pseudo-pilaster capital with the Tyche of Thessaloniki (ΜΘ 6908). This particular find along with four intact pseudo-pilasters capitals come from the decoration of the Octagon of the Galerian palace complex.  The figures on them – Zeus, Kabeiros, Dioskouros, Hygeia and Tyche – have all been recognized as deities directly associated with the city.

Depicted on the surviving part of the capital is a female figure wearing a mural crown with arched gate with projecting towers on either side. Τhe mural crown is mostly connected with goddesses, such as Tyche or Kybele. The face of this fragment is identified as the Tyche, or Fortune, of Thessaloniki.  This image was a particularly popular theme in imperial imagery, as is evident from the finds in the Galerian palace complex (

The mural crown of the goddess Tyche is presumably connected with the significance of the walls. It recalls the real existing fortification of the city, symbolically though, it offers another perspective related to the protection, safety, power and autonomy of the city. Similar depictions of the goddess occur widely throughout the Hellenistic age, designating both a city’s actual fortifications and the associated symbolisms (founding or refounding, autonomy and good fortune of a city, guardian deity, personal Tyche of the ruler, etc.). In the case of the city of Thessaloniki particularly, the need to express the importance of the city’s fortification in connection to Tyche, assumes symbolic and historical significance. The fortification, still visible today, is intertwined with the history of the city and forms by definition, an emblematic monument for the prominence and the prestige of Thessaloniki.

Date: Early 4th c. AD

You may see "Tyche" at the temporary exhibition “For a flame that burns on [1821-2021]. Antiquities and Memory, Thessaloniki – Macedonia”.
Duration: 15 July 2021 – 17 July 2022.