Who Is Saturn in Roman Mythology?


Quick Answer

In Roman mythology, Saturn is closely linked to the Greek god Cronus, whose role in the family tree of the Greek deities is also credited to Saturn. Writings as early as the 3rd century BC list Jupiter as Saturn's son. According to the "Golden Age" that Hesiod wrote about, the myths state that when Saturn was in power, people were able to enjoy the earth's plenty without any labor in a society that was completely egalitarian.

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Full Answer

Varro writes that Saturn's name comes from the word for sowing, which is "satu." This seems a bit archaic at first, until one considers that sowing was originally a feature of the first gods and goddesses. Other possibilities for the etymology of Saturn's name include a connection with Satre, an Etruscan deity, as well as places that were important at the time, such as the ancient Latium town of Satria, an old village in Latium.

Saturn has a temple at the base of the Capitoline Hill that dates back to its consecration in 497 BC. Followers made sacrifices to Saturn using the "Greek rite," keeping the head uncovered, because the rite is carried out to a god who has a covering. Saturn was the only Roman god who was worshipped with an uncovered head.

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