Saturn (more fully Saturnus) was a Roman god, the supposed father of the supreme god of the pantheon Jupiter or Jove and also father of some other deities.

Roman BeliefEdit

Saturn was identified with the Greek god Cronos and most details unconnected with that belief have been lost.

Saturn was said to be the youngest son of Caelus or Coelus, a masculine variant of the more normal neuter caelum or coelum meaning ‘sky’, by Tellus, goddess of the Earth. Saturn overthrew his father by castrating him with a sickle and ruled as king of the gods in a golden age when the Earth brought forth crops of its own accord and there was no winter.

But warned that he would be overthrown by his son in turn, Saturn set out to devour his children. But Jupiter escaped that fate when Saturn’s wife Ops substituted a stone in place of the infant son. Upon reaching manhood Jupiter, in disguise, gave Saturn a drink which cause Saturn to vomit up his other children.

In the subsequent war, most of Saturn’s brothers sided with Saturn against Jupiter. Eventually, armed with the thunderbolt, Jupiter was triumphant and put his father in bonds, consigning him to Tartaros beneath the Earth.

Saturn was sometimes imagined to reign over the blessed in the other world.

According to Roman tradition, the defeated Saturn fled to Italy where he was received by the primeval god Janus in Janiculum, a citadel to the west of what later became Rome. Saturn then founded that settlement of Saturnia on what was later the Capitoline Hill in Rome and ruled there, continuing the golden age in Italy for a time.

The Roman festival of Saturnalia supposedly commemorated this period. It was originally celebrated on December 17 and later expanded with unofficial festivities through December 23. On the festival day itself, and perhaps on some of the unofficial extensions, masters waited on their slaves, gifts were given, and supposedly the peace and equality of the primeval Golden Age was restored.

A similar feast called the Kronion was held during the summer in Athens and other Ionian cities on 12th day of Hekatombaion, about the end of July.

As an English GodEdit

Saturn was one of the Planetary Gods, the planet Saturn being traditionally the planet father from the Earth, and the slowest. As such Saturn was recognized wherever the tradition was established. But while the other planetary gods could be replaced by reasonable Old English counterparts, none existed for Saturn and he retained a variant of his own name as Satærn, presumably only recognized for astrological purposes.

Geoffrey of Monmouth lists Saturn as one of the Latin names of the gods worshiped by Hengist but otherwise makes nothing of him, as do Wace and Lawman. In Old Icelandic translations of Classical mythology the Roman god Saturn’s name is glossed as Njǫrðr, a god connected with the sea and with wealth, the father of the Norse deities Freyr and Freyja.

Saturn in the Prose TristanEdit

Near the beginning of Prose Tristan, Saturn is one of the gods who have a temple in Norholt in Cornwall, the other gods being Apolin, Jupiter, and Mars. (PT:Cur. I.173)

Some Name VariationsEdit

LATIN: Saturnus; FRENCH: Saturnus; ENGLISH: Saturnus, Saturnus, Saternus, Saturnn.

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