Saturday – Yes it’s named after a god who ate his children.

Saturn is the Roman equivalent of the Greek god Chronos, keeper of time, just ruler to humans, tyrant and cannibal to his own children.  He was the king of gods before his son Jupiter(Zeus) defeated him and set up the more familiar pantheon. It seems fitting that the day that brings relief from the work week and an opportunity for some fun is named after this god (at least his Roman form –the Greek version wasn’t so beneficent to humans).

Human history has provided some other fascinating pantheons, such as the Hindu, Egyptian, Celtic, Aztec, and, Japanese gods.

Fantasy literature has created some really fun sets of gods too.

Tamora Pierce’s Tortall has a pantheon that’s something of a blend of Greek and Celtic sensibilities with all the best of her imagination mixed in. I loved her books when I was a kid.

Sir Terry Pratchett should get a mention for Discworld and its chaotic, somewhat animistic blend of spirits and gods.  It’s good fun.

George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones has a pantheon too, though the gods aren’t as central to the story and are much more mysterious and unknowable than in the other books I’ve mentioned.

I’ve saved this one for last, because I think calling this group a pantheon is debatable. J.R.R. Tolkien’s Silmarillion features Eru Iluvatar and the Valar and Maiar that serve him. Certainly more powerful than humans (or elves, dwarves, hobbits,  etc.), the Valar and Maiar are only servants to Iluvatar, like the difference between God, the angels,  and men in Christian theology.

There are also some very good monotheistic religions in fantasy. Aslan from Narnia is a fine example of this.

If you were to pick a god, literary or historical, to rename a day of the week after, who would you pick, and which day would he or she get?


~ by lamichaud on July 14, 2012.

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