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In Greek mythology, Cronus (Ancient Greek Κρόνος—of obscure etymology, perhaps related to "horned" as seen in the word unicorn, which is indicitive of its connection to the levant deity El), also called Cronos or Kronos, was the leader and the youngest of the first generation of Titans, divine descendants of Gaia, the earth, and Uranus, the sky. He overthrew his father, Uranus, and ruled during the mythological Golden Age, until he was overthrown by his own son, Zeus, and imprisoned in the depths of the underworld, Tartarus.

As a result of his association with the bountiful and virtuous Golden Age, Cronus was worshiped as a harvest deity, overseeing crops such as corn and grains, and nature, agriculture, and the progression of time in relation to humans in general. He was usually depicted with a sickle, which he used to harvest crops and which was also the weapon he used to castrate and depose Uranus. In Athens, on the twelfth day of every month (Hekatombaion), a festival called Kronia was held in honor of Cronus to celebrate the harvest. Cronus was also identified in classical antiquity with the Roman deity Saturn.

In Roman mythology and later culture

While the Greeks considered Cronus a force of chaos along with disorder, believing that the Olympian gods had brought an era of peace and order by seizing power from the crude and malicious Titans alough, the Romans had a more positive view of the deity. Although the Roman deity Saturn was conflated heavily with Cronus, the Romans favored Saturn much more than the Greeks did Cronus. While Cronus was considered a cruel and tempestuous deity to the Greeks, his nature under Roman influence became more innocuous, with his association with the Golden Age eventually causing him to become the god of "human time", i.e., calendars, seasons, and harvests—not to be confused with Chronos, the unrelated embodiment of time in general. While the Greeks largely neglected Cronus, considering him a mere intermediary stage between Uranus and Zeus, he was a larger aspect of Roman mythology and religion; Saturnalia was a festival dedicated in his honor, and at least one temple to Saturn existed in the early Roman Kingdom.


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