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Origins of the terms Cronos and Saturn?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Kyriakos, Jun 7, 2014.

  1. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    Cronos (Κρόνος) was the leader of the Titans and their order. In the Theogonia and the Titanomachia the fall of the titans and the rise of the Olympian order with Zeus as the head (Zeus was the son of Cronos) is argued to be something similar to the archetypical night-darkness against daylight progression (which is also a previous part of the Theogonia itself, with Night, Erebus, and Chaos, being the first existences according to Hesiod).
    It is also notable that Cronos was still tied to any barbaric activity, and most notably irrational killing or even human sacrifice. So a number of foreign gods- particularly in the early Hellenistic era- were tied to Cronos by the concurrent Greek historians and other thinkers, such as the Phoenecian Baal deity and the sacrifice of children in the idol-oven of Baal, or the Getae deity Zamolxis, who asked an annual rite of a Getae warrior to be thrown to three spears, having first been told what to ask Zamolxis upon meeting with him in the afterlife..

    *

    I wanted to ask if there are any reputable studies, particularly with foundations on the classic era, regarding the origins of the Cronos/Saturn deity and their order of darkness and death. Some argue the order was a symbol for a pre-archaic human-sacrifice era in the Greek world (prior to Homer, so i suppose at around 1000 BC or before that), but i have not seen any definitive study.
    I also have seen it argued that Cronos is a slight alteration of the term Chronos (Greek term for Time), and this would tie things to Anaximander's claim that Time asks all finite things to return to the infinity from which they came, and be decomposed there once more.
     
  2. Flying Pig

    Flying Pig Utrinque Paratus Retired Moderator

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    I'm fairly sure that Κρόνος and χρόνος are related: most of the early Greek gods are named in similar ways: Ouranos = heaven, Gaia = earth, Helios = sun, Oceanus = ocean and possibly Προμηθεύς = forethought. I wonder whether the myth of Olympian gods overthrowing the Titans is a blurry folk memory of 'modern' polytheism replacing older traditions of nature-worship.
     
  3. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    ^Re Prometheus, the name indeed means 'forethought' thinking person, cause his brother was called the opposite, Epimetheus, and the gods gave him Pandora as a wife, specifically so as to punish Prometheus and the humans even more by having his own brother be indirectly responsible for the ills which came out of the box Pandora had :)
     
  4. Flying Pig

    Flying Pig Utrinque Paratus Retired Moderator

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    Yes, but it's somewhat tenuous because almost all Classical Greek names mean something, so it's debatable whether the name qualifies him as a personification (as Ἥλιος) or is simply in the manner of Eratosthenes, Pericles, Nikandros, Lycurgus and so on. Even where the etymology isn't clear (as Odysseus) they delighted in making one up - Homer decided that it stemmed from ὀδύσσομαι (a poetic word for 'I become angry'), though Joyce was probably no closer when he claimed that it was a combination of οὐτις (the name that he adopts to Polyphemus; 'Nobody') and Zeus.
     
  5. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    The names of gods and titans likely all have some tied meaning, although afaik not all are of any such known etymology. For example while Aphrodite is (mentioned even in classical texts that her name means 'risen from the (sea) foam'), others like Apollo(n) and Zeus likely are not of known meaning. Zeus possibly is itself linked to the later latin term for god, Deus.
     
  6. Flying Pig

    Flying Pig Utrinque Paratus Retired Moderator

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    I suspect that Ζευς and θεος, which becomes deus quite easily, are cognate. It's one of a lot of Greek words which enter Latin via Etruscan, which does not differentiate between τ and θ, and thereby the Ts lose their aspiration - hence θρίαμβος becomes triumphus. This relies on the other point that it doesn't differentiate between voiced and unvoiced stops, so g usually becomes c, hence catamitus from Γανυμήδης, and b becomes p. Interestingly, Latin speakers in contact with Greek realised that their language had lost the aspirated consonants, and so took to placing h in words which didn't originally have it - so pulcer, meaning 'pretty', became pulcher.
     
  7. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    Very interesting, i did not know any of that :D
     
  8. Arakhor

    Arakhor Dremora Courtier Super Moderator

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    I too am fairly certain that Cronos and Chronos are linked, but I can't find my childhood copy of Robert Lancelyn Green's Tales of the Greek Heroes, which contains a line about Cronos to which my father (a classicist) took exception. I'm fairly certain it was to do with the association with Old Father Time, but I don't remember now.
     
  9. timtofly

    timtofly One Day

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    The Assyrians/Babylonians god Ninurta was the god of war and his mother may be the harvest goddess. He was said to have recaptured the tablets of destiny which were stolen from his father. The tablets of time?

    The name ninib was the Hebrew term for a god who resided in Saturn. Saturn was the furthest/highest star in the sky that was considered a "planet". Or a star that shared a close position with the sun.
     
  10. GoodGame

    GoodGame Red, White, & Blue, baby!

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    I like Flying Pig's explanations, but I kind of think Chronos and Cronos aren't meant to be identical figures. The parentage of Chronos is?
     
  11. timtofly

    timtofly One Day

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    The father of Chronos is the sky god, Uranus, or anu from the Assyrians. The planet was named Uranus after the god, much later in history. Before the planet was discovered the god was just the sky and had no parentage but born out of chaos, "evolved". The sky would come to earth and create children with the earth, goddess Gaia. They created 6 sons and 6 daughters. Chronos was the youngest, and his consort was his sister Rhea. They were the parents of 3 sons and 3 daughters. Chronos slew his father, and was told that one of his sons would kill him. He ate all five of his offspring, but when Zeus was born, Rhea gave him a stone wrapped in a birth cloth. Zeus would then split open Chronos and free the stone and his siblings.

    Spoiler :
    Of course this was all embellishment of the concepts from the Assyrians. The actual concept came from the area of Hurran (current day Turky) almost a thousand years before the first Greek civilization. The Hurrians had a total different outlook on these concepts. My theory was the Greeks changed the concepts in direct opposition to the notion that there was one God and creator. But that is for another thread. They may be considered the skeptics and "atheist" as opposed to those who believed in the spiritual. Their gods may have started out as modern day spaghetti monsters and instead of proving a point they became what people actually believed and then the Romans used them to keep people under their control.

    The Hurrians were the indirect descendants of the people that modern man would associate with the Atlantians. They had a totally different approach to the stars, and the planets or associated gods had nothing to do with anything in their lives. They were the link between a world that was destroyed and what we would know as current history. They lived allegedly between the 8th and 15th millennium. They were "keepers" of the sky gods (the stars or mainly the constellations) and the theory that comets had caused destruction and chaos and perhaps even the source of all global flood stories. Plato named them Atlantians. That is not the name they went by. Their "settlements" have been found from Russia to perhaps even Atlantis itself if it ever existed. Basically all of Europe including the British Isles and the Mediterranean. They did not really settle, but they did leave behind evidence of mining and artwork. They may have even have been the catalyst that changed humans from hunter/gatherers to agriculturalist. The Anatole area of Turkey shows that the species of wheat exploded there, and the domestication of animals seemed to begin there at their last few settlements.

    Technically there are still hunter/gatherers today, by way of the NA natives, who have retained a more spiritual outlook on life and not the "god theories" of the Greeks. Shamans can also be found around the world where the Indian groups settled, who have not been influenced by western or arab thought processes. Also the natives of Africa.

    The fact that the Greeks had any inkling as to how gods and creation came about seems to be more and more just fiction with no basis in reality. There were societies before them, that had totally different outlooks on life. The interesting thing though is that these societies did believe in a connection with a spiritual realm via the stars, and are the fore thinkers of current day shamans. These people had the ability to see things like DNA way before scientist discovered such things. And yet we use these symbols today as two snakes representing pharmaceuticals. I realize that the Greeks also have a story to explain that, but it is deeper rooted in history before them. These are all examples of part reason and part myth to explain things that we have hardly any clue about and my points are not to say that the Greeks were totally wrong. They just applied things in the ways they could understand to grasp a logical meaning.
     
  12. Arakhor

    Arakhor Dremora Courtier Super Moderator

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    Ouranos (or ουρανός) means 'sky' in Greek. The gas giant wasn't named Uranus until 1784 or so.
     
  13. Tahuti

    Tahuti Writing Deity

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    Cronos and Zeus were associated with the sky as well. Plenty of chief deities were sky deities.

    Ouranos (especially its Roman "translation" Caelus) was associated with the Jewish god JHWH (which was originally a sky god of semitic polytheism), as were Cronos and Zeus. I wouldn't be surprised if the Christian trinity was inspired by that succesion of gods as well, even though Ouranos, Cronos and Zeus were adversaries, while the trinity works in tandem.
     
  14. Arakhor

    Arakhor Dremora Courtier Super Moderator

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    Interestingly, Caelus is linked to "celestial" and other such words, whereas I believe we get "paradise" from the Greek παραδεισος (paradeisos).

    Cronos and Zeus are associated with the sky because the Greeks equated leadership of the Gods with rulership of heaven. Cronos is famed for swallowing his children and castrating his dad, whereas Zeus was known as the Thunderer and hurled lightning bolts at people he disagreed with.
     
  15. BvBPL

    BvBPL Pour Decision Maker

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    Is there an etymological relationship between Cronos and chthonic?
     
  16. Arakhor

    Arakhor Dremora Courtier Super Moderator

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    I rather doubt it. According to Wiktionary:

    "Chthonic" - from Ancient Greek χθών (khthṓn, “ground”) + -ic.
    "Cronos" - from Ancient Greek Κρόνος (Krónos), possibly from the Ancient Greek κραίνω (kraínō, “to rule or command”).
     
  17. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    ^And a rather cool and a bit ominous sounding related term is υποχθόνιο (hypochtonic, i suppose, but it seems to not exist in English and google only comes up with my own post on it ;) ), meaning 'underground', and usually referring to ancient deities.
     
  18. Borachio

    Borachio Way past lunacy

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    Chthonic means subterranean. I don't see why you'd need hypo- as a suffix. Under-underground. What's that?
     
  19. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    Afaik cthonic means 'ground-based' or 'ground-bound', as in something which is on the ground (eg a worm). Hypo just means below, as you guessed ;)

    I think (not sure) that there is also the term 'hypercthonic', which obviously would mean above the ground.

    Not that those terms get much use anymore, cause like i noted they only refer to deities under the earth, as in old myths around Hades or assorted spirits.

    *

    Edit: Checked it and it seems to mean exactly that: http://www.lexigram.gr/lex/omor/χθόνιος#Hist0

    'Of Gaia', which seems to have been also termed 'chton'/Χθών (although i didn't know that). The usual term for ground sand is (the possible returned loan to latin?) Χώμα, which is quite close to Χθόνιο as well, i suppose.
     
  20. Arakhor

    Arakhor Dremora Courtier Super Moderator

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    I'd hazard a guess that Cthulhu is called that because of its similarity to "cthonic".
     

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