Saturn, god of Harvest or Time of Reaping (sixth planet from the Sun).
Harvest time in ancient Italy belonged to the god of reaping, whom the Romans called
Saturn. A symbol curved like his sickle represents the planet.
Saturn (associated with the Greek titan, Cronos) is closely connected with Ceres
(Demeter), as he is her father, and his worshipers continued honoring him at Rome
along with Zeus or Jupiter, another one of Saturn’s children. He is an ancient Roman god of
Fertility, especially of Agriculture. He was also the major Roman deity of Time.
He carried a sickle as his symbol. His name was/is used for the day of the week,
Saturday. Saturn was worshiped in a winter festival called the Saturnalia, which
occurred around the time of the winter solstice. The Saturnalia began on December
17; originally the ritual only lasted for one day. In later years, however, the
celebration lasted for seven days. It consisted of a winter solstice celebration
marked by carnival, exchange of gifts, feasting, license and misrule, and a cessation
of all public works. Masters served slaves; kings were chosen by lot, usually from
among criminals or slaves, to preside over the feast, given ass ears, and then slain.
A sacrificial victim was chosen to represent both the god himself and the king-surrogate.
He was slain and sent to the underworld to merge with his divine counterpart. Its
riotous indulgence is the source of the phrase Saturnalia of crime. It is said to
have merged into the Christmas festival.
Scientific facts about Saturn:
The gas giant Saturn is the second largest planet in the solar sysem after its big
brother Jupiter. Saturn has more than twenty satellites. The biggest is Titan, the
solar system’s second largest moon. Larger than Mercury, it has an atmosphere denser than that of any
other moon in the solar system. Like so many other phenomena in the solar system,
the rings of Saturn were first seen by Galileo. In 1610, he saw two bright spots
on either side of the planet. Although his telescope was strong enough to see the
disk of Saturn, it apparently was not powerful enough to resolve what the rings
really were because he interpreted what he saw as a triple planet. Over the centuries,
after several astronomers misinterpreted the contents of the rings, it was finally
determined that they are, in fact, narrow bands of fine debris. Also, over hundreds
of years, astronomers thought Saturn was the only ringed planet. Voyager found rings
around Jupiter, and astronomers using a telescope also spotted evidence of rings