This is the sign
used to represent the god Chronos in Greek mythology. He was the son of Uranus, grandfather and oldest god,
and Gaia the earth goddess. Chronos
castrated his father with the help of Gaia's relatives, the Titans, and by this act made himself
master of heaven and earth. He married his sister Rhea. Chronos was told, however, that one of
his children would revolt against him and take control of his
kingdom. To prevent this he swallowed all his children except Zeus,
the youngest, because Rhea tricked Chronos into swallowing a stone
instead. Zeus later made his father to vomit up his brothers and
sisters, after which he forced Chronos into exile.
Although Chronos no longer had any power in the world of the gods, he remained a god of fertility and harvest. Great festivals were organized in his honor. He is believed to have been one of the models for Father Christmas, who loves children and gives presents to those children who have behaved well.
Quite early Chronos became associated with the passage of time, probably by being a personification of the slowest of the then-known planets, Saturn (see below). The words chronometre and chronology thus are not derived from the god Chronos, but from another Greek word.
When Greece was conquered by the Romans Chronos was gradually identified with the old Italic god of sowing and harvest called Saturn.
For more facts about the god Saturn, see below.