an exercise in miscellany

Old Father Time

In Religion on January 3, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Chronos (also known as Chronus) is the personification of time itself. Indeed, the word means “time” and is the root of “chronology” and other modern words. It was, however, originally employed in a purely poetic sense. There is no God or Goddess directly associated with time per se in the annals of Greek mythology, but there may have been a Titan of Time.

Saturn (referred to by the Greeks as Cronus or Kronos) was the Roman Deity of Time and an ancient Italian Corn God known as the Sower. Male ruler of the Roman Gods prior to Jupiter, Saturn’s weapon was a scythe or sickle. The Romans honored Saturn at a MidWinter festival called Saturnalia, which lasted several days and at which there was much feasting and making merry. All business was suspended and schools were closed. Parents gave toys to their children and there was a public banquet. Saturn may have been worshiped by the pre-Hellenic population of the country but probably not widely revered by the Greeks themselves. His functions were concerned with agriculture and his festival, held in Attica and known as Kronia, resembled the Roman Saturnalia in that it was a celebration of the harvest. In art, Saturn has always been depicted as a old man holding an implement which has often been interpreted as a harpe or curved sword, but which appears likely to have actually represented a scythe or a sickle.

Since ancient history, time has been identified with Saturn. In mythology, he was the son of Uranus (Heaven or Sky-Father) and Gaea (Earth-Mother) and the youngest of the Twelve Titans. Upon the advice of Gaea (who understood the changes of life and knew that Uranus would never, of his own accord, yield to the younger generation), Saturn castrated his father and thus separated Heaven from Earth. Gaea created out of flint…a mineral of her own substance…a sickle with which to complete the deed. It was the tool by which life was cut down at the time of harvest and was crescent-shaped like the moon, symbolic of cyclic rise and fall. It was believed that the spilled blood of Uranus formed such creatures as the Giants and the Furies, and that his genitals (which were tossed into the sea eventually produced the beautiful Venus/Aphrodite). Saturn’s emasculation of Uranus now made Saturn King of the Titans and the rotation of the generations was thereby effected. Consequently, the sickle (and later, the scythe) became representative of the cruel and unrelenting flow of time which, in the end, cuts down all things.

via Old Father Time.

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