Io, Saturnalia!

Saturn devouring his young.

Peter Paul Rubens, "Saturn Devouring His Son," 1636

Today marks the conclusion of the weeklong Roman festival of Saturnalia, which honored the eponymous fertility deity with feasting, gift exchange, and clowning, most notably through the reversal of social roles, including the temporary freedom of slaves and subjegation of masters.  

Catullus described Saturnalia as “the best of days” here.

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3 Responses

  1. Francisco de Goya has a great painting of Saturn devouring his young. It’s a little more grotesque than the one you have, but it’s well worth a look! Thanks for the tidbit of knowledge…

  2. Hmm the old ways so much alike our own and yet so different. At least we are past that whole eating your children so they don’t upsurp you and do something unpleasant to our nether regions

  3. Uh… kind of gross. Once you read the “Percy Jackson” series, that picture does not relate.

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