Ancient Roman mythology is full of legends related to different gods and goddesses. Each Roman and Greek god and goddess represented a distinct aspect(s) of life, and had a set of his/her own responsibilities. People were scared of making the gods angry, and facing their wrath. The angered deities could make one's life a misery, and thus, it was always considered better to keep them happy. This article will give you some interesting information about Saturnus, an important Roman mythological figure.
In the Roman mythology, Saturn was the God of fertility and agriculture. He was also the deity of justice and strength. Identified with a sickle in his left hand, and a wheat bundle in his right, he was the son of Uranus (the Sky Father and Terra (the Earth Mother). His Greek counterpart was Cronus (the king of the Titans), and his journey from Greece to Rome, and his subsequent transformation from Cronus to Saturn, has been described very vividly in the Roman mythology.
The Legend of Cronus
It is said that Cronus took over the throne from his father, Uranus (Greek: Ouranos). His reign was known as the 'Golden Age of Man'. This was a period of prosperity and harmony, where men lived like they would, in the garden of Eden.
It is written by Hesiod, an early Greek poet, that Cronus seized the power from Uranus. As he was about to slay his father, it was prophesied that he will be similarly disposed off by his own son. The titan, took this prophesy rather seriously. The children borne by his wife Rhea (Roman: Ops), were swallowed up by him. However, one day, Rhea hid her sixth child on an island of Crete. This son was Zeus (Roman: Jupiter), who, later on, tricked Cronus into drinking a potion that made him vomit all the children he had swallowed. These were Vesta (Greek: Hestia), Ceres (Greek: Demeter), Juno (Greek: Hera), Pluto (Greek: Hades), and Neptune (Greek: Poseidon). Subsequently, as was the prophecy, a war was initiated, with Cronus and his siblings on one side, and Zeus and his siblings on the other. Zeus emerged victorious at the end, and thus, the rule of the titans was completely uprooted from Greece.
The Legend of Saturn
According to the Roman legend, Saturn fled to Rome after Jupiter took over the Earth, Pluto the Underworld, and Neptune the Sea. In Rome, Saturn taught farming to the people, and thus, became the god of the farmers. He taught wisdom to men, alongside numerous other things, as long as he reigned. In his memory, during the Winter Solstice, the Feast of Saturnalia was held every year. This was the time when no war was fought or declared, slaves could eat at the same table as their masters, and no one was executed. People gave presents to each other.
Thus, the Festival of Saturnalia helped bring all men at the same level, and promoted the idea of equality and fraternity. However, after the festival, the tax collectors were back, and the finances were accounted for. This shows the other side of Saturn―the settling of accounts.
Another legend says that St. Augustine considered Saturn as the God of the Jews. During the 10th century, Alchabitius claimed that Saturn was the 'faith of Judaism'. In the Jewish tradition, he is mostly represented as an old man, bald and bare-headed. Saturn, thus forms part of, not only the Greek and Roman myths, but also of several other mythologies in the world.