Saturnalia

Mythological Dictionary

Saturnalia or saturnian or saturnine or saturnism.
The titan Saturn (equated with the Greek Cronus) castrated his father, hated his children, devoured them, and was castrated and overthrown by his son Zeus. After his defeat, Saturn ruled over the Golden Age of the world; according to Roman mythology, he fled to the west and brought a new golden time to Italy. Originally Saturn was an old Italic diety of the harvest; the Roman's built a temple to Saturn on the Capitoline hill and each December celebrated the winter planting with the Saturnalia, a time of revelry and the giving of presents. Saturnalia today denotes a period of unrestrained or orgiastic revelry. Saturn gives his name to the sixth planet from the sun, the second largest planet in the solar system after Jupiter. Anyone born under the influence of Saturn may have a saturnine temperament, which is to say gloomy or melancholy, characteristics of the god who castrated his father and was overthrown. Saturnian simply means pertaining to the god or the planet Saturn. The planet Saturn was also associated with the element lead, and so the term for lead poisoning is saturnism.

 
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