Saturn (mythology)

Polidoro da Caravaggio - Saturnus-thumb.jpg
Saturn (Latin: Saturnus pronounced ) is a god in ancient Roman religion, and a character in myth as a god of generation, dissolution, plenty, wealth, agriculture, periodic renewal and liberation. In later developments, he also came to be a god of time. His reign was depicted as a Golden Age of plenty and peace. The Temple of Saturn in the Roman Forum housed the state treasury. In December, he was celebrated at what is perhaps the most famous of the Roman festivals, the Saturnalia, a time of feasting, role reversals, free speech, gift-giving and revelry. Saturn the planet and Saturday are both named after the god.

The Roman land preserved the remembrance of a very remote time during which Saturn and Janus reigned on the site of the city before its foundation: the Capitol was called ‘'mons Saturnius. The Romans identified Saturn with the Greek Cronus, whose myths were adapted for Latin literature and Roman art. In particular, Cronus's role in the genealogy of the Greek gods was transferred to Saturn. As early as Livius Andronicus (3rd century BC), Jupiter was called the son of Saturn.

Saturn had two mistresses who represented different aspects of the god. The name of his wife Ops, the Roman equivalent of Greek Rhea, means "wealth, abundance, resources." The association with Ops is considered a later development, however, as this goddess was originally paired with Consus. Earlier was Saturn's association with Lua ("destruction, dissolution, loosening"), a goddess who received the bloodied weapons of enemies destroyed in war.

Under Saturn's rule, humans enjoyed the spontaneous bounty of the earth without labour in the "Golden Age" described by Hesiod and Ovid.

Quintus Lucilius Balbus as recorded by Marcus Tullius Cicero and translated by P.G. Walsh, De Natura Deorum (On the Nature of the Gods), Book II, Part ii, Section c

According to Varro, Saturn's name was derived from satu, meaning "sowing". Even though this etymology looks implausible on linguistic grounds (for the long quantity of the a in Sāturnus and also because of the epigraphically attested form Saeturnus) nevertheless it does reflect an original feature of the god. A more probable etymology connects the name with Etruscan god Satre and placenames such as Satria, an ancient town of Latium, and Saturae palus, a marsh also in Latium. This root may be related to Latin phytonym satureia.

This page was last edited on 6 May 2018, at 22:44.
Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturn_(mythology) under CC BY-SA license.

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