My European Faces: Saturnus, Roman forebear of Jesus, is Italian, European

Saturnus, Roman god of time, master of the life cycles

The Roman god Saturnus is a metaphor for the ancients’ understanding of time. He is master over the seasons, death and rebirth, he gives bounty and destroys life. His birthday was celebrated on December 25th, at the winter solstice, the inflection point after which the light would return. Jesus Christus, whose birth is celebrated on December 25th as well, who died and was reborn on Easter, is a modern replacement of the eternally existing god of creation. Saturnus is Roman, Italian, and European.

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