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Tales beyond belief

Discover the legends and myths and religious beliefs surrounding Saturn, the Roman god of time, harvest and agriculture. His name derives from the Latin word 'serere' meaning to sow. He was the son of Terra and Uranus and with his wife and sister Ops produced Vesta, Neptune, Pluto, Ceres, Juno and Jupiter.

The reign of Saturn was called the Golden Age of peace and plenty. He was honored at the popular festival of Saturnalia which was marked by practical jokes and the reversal of social roles such as with masters and slaves. The Greek counterpart of this ancient Roman deity was Cronus the Titan god of time and the ages.

Facts about Saturn
The following facts and profile provides a fast overview of Saturn:

  • Roman Name: Saturn

  • Role & Function: The function of Saturn is described as being the god of time, harvest and agriculture

  • Symbols: Wheat and a sickle

  • Alternative Names: Saturnus

  • Gender: Male

  • Greek Counterpart: The Greek name for this god was Cronus

  • Name of Wife: Ops

  • Name of Father: Coelus (Uranus)

  • Name of Mother: Terra

  • Names of Children: Vesta, Neptune, Pluto, Juno, Ceres and Jupiter

Facts about Saturn in Roman Mythology and History
Discover interesting information and facts about Saturn, the Roman god of time, harvest and agriculture.

  • He was the son of Uranus and Terra, the husband of Ops (Opis) and father of the second generation of Titan gods who became known as the Olympians

  • He was also revered as a god of wealth, and the Temple of Saturn that was located in the Forum in Rome housed the state treasury.

  • He was usually represented as an old man, bare-headed and bald

  • Saturday is named after the god

  • The ivory statue of the god was preserved by filling it with oil. Old olive-oil was considered useful in preventing ivory from rotting

  • The feet of his statue was bound with wool which served to restrain the power of the god. The bonds were only removed during the Saturnalia representing his liberation during this festive time

  • During the Golden Age all people were equal, there was no class distinction and there were no slaves and everyone prospered

  • The Capitoline Hill in Rome was originally called Mount Saturnius. An ancient town named Saturnia once existed on this hill.

  • Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second largest.

  • Many of Saturn's moons have been named after Titans of ancient mythology.

  • The public funds of the people of Rome were lodged in his temple, which also the Treasury. Julius Caesar plundered the Treasury removing 3000 pounds of gold

Saturn and the Saturnalia Festival
Saturn was the Roman god of time, harvest and agriculture. The Saturnalia was one of the major, and the most popular, Roman festival and was held in honor of the god, starting on December 17, and lasting for seven days. Saturnalia was a Winter Solstice Ritual, based on an ancient, pagan practice. The festival of Saturnalia was a period of unrestrained license and merriment for all classes, extending even to the slaves. Merrymaking, feasting, drunkenness, jokes, pranks, symbolic role reversals and gift giving were all part of the festival. December 23 was the day of gift-giving. The popularity of Saturnalia continued as the Roman Empire came under Christian rule and is said to have have influenced the seasonal celebrations surrounding Christmas and the New Year.

Saturn (Greek Counterpart was Cronus)
The Romans habitually assimilated various elements from other cultures and civilisations, including the gods and goddesses that were worshipped by the Greeks and other nations. When the Roman Empire conquered the Greeks in 146BC many of the Greek gods and goddesses were adopted by the Romans.  The Romans simply changed the Greek gods names to Latin equivalents. The Greek counterpart of Saturn was Cronus. The Roman religion significantly differed from the Greeks in that it was officially endorsed by the state and exerted influence over the government of Rome. Politicians took the offices of influential priests, called pontiffs, to gain control of the popular worship, Roman gods and goddesses like Saturn were worshipped at every public event, including the gladiatorial games, where blood sacrifices were made to the gods.

Gods and Deities
Roman Gods and Goddesses

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