Saturn, the god of time, generation & wealth

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Saturnus is an ancient deity worshipped by the Romans, considered the founder of agriculture and civilization.

He was referred to be the deity of time, generation, dissolution, wealth, agriculture, abundancy, cyclical renewal, and emancipation. Saturn’s rule was portrayed in mythology as a time of prosperity and harmony. He was conflated with the Greek Titan Cronus during the Roman invasion of Greece. With his sister Ops, who served as his consort, Saturn fathered Jupiter, Neptune, Pluto, Juno, Ceres, and Vesta.

He was depicted as a bearded old man, dressed in a cloak and holding a scythe. It was believed that, cast out from Olympus, he reigned for a time in Latium, in the so-called Golden Age, a peaceful and progressive era. One day he would suddenly disappear, causing the gradual decline of humanity. Saturn was notably honored at Saturnalia, one of the most well-known Roman holidays that took place every December and featured feasting, role-reversals, free speech, gift-giving, and merriment.

Related article: Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Rome

Temple of Saturn, Rome

Saturnalia, a significant religious holiday in the Roman calendar, is connected to Saturn. Saturnalia, which was place from December 17 to 23, commemorated the harvest and planting. Rome’s social prohibitions were loosened at Saturnalia. During the event, the figure of Saturn, whose legs had been bound in wool throughout the year, was unbound.

The First Fruits of the Earth Offered to Saturn, Giorgio Vasari, 1555–56 (source)

Featured image: Paolo Veronese – Bacchus, Vertumnus and Saturn

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