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The Kronia (Ancient Greek: Κρόνια) was an Athenian festival held in honor of Kronos (Cronus) on the 12th day of Hekatombaion, the first month of the Attic calendar, and roughly equivalent to the latter part of July and first part of August.[a]

The festival was also celebrated in parts of Ionia, and in these places the month was called Kronion, named after the festival.[2]: 82 [3]: 385 [b] Scholars usually interpret it as a celebration of the mid-summer (first) harvest.[2]: 38 

Details from ancient sources[edit]

The Roman playwright Accius says that to celebrate the Kronia, "In nearly all fields and towns they happily feast upon banquets, and everyone waits upon his own servants."[5] Slaves and the free, rich and poor, all dined together and played games.[d]

The freedom from work and social egalitarianism enjoyed on the day represented the conditions of the mythical Golden Age, when Kronos (Cronus) still ruled the world.[6] In the Golden Age, the earth had spontaneously supported human life, and since labor was unneeded, slavery had not existed.[e] William Hansen describes the Golden Age of Kronos as "a period of thorough harmony in which hierarchical, exploitative, and predatory relationships were nonexistent."[3]: 385, 391 [note 34] 

The Kronia was a time for social restraints to be temporarily forgotten. Slaves were released from their duties, and participated in the festivities alongside the slave-owners. Slaves were "permitted to run riot through the city, shouting and making a noise."[7] Other than the Kronia, there is only limited evidence of religious devotion to Kronos (Cronus).[2]: 83 

See also[edit]


  1. ^ For example, in 2024, the Kronia would fall on 17 July 2024.[1]
  2. ^ Since the Kronia was significant enough to name the whole month Kronion,[2]: 82 [3]: 385  (something analogous to saying "Christmas" instead of "December") the event was important to the people of Ionia, regardless of the importance of Kronos / Cronus himself (which scholars find little evidence for[2]: 83 ).
  3. ^ The Saturnalia was held in honor of Saturn, the Roman's equivalent of Kronos / Cronus.
  4. ^ Kronia games included dice (kyboi), knucklebones (astragaloi), and the board game pessoi.[citation needed]
  5. ^ The festivities are also described by the Roman-era Greek writer Lucian,[5] who was probably describing the Saturnalia of his day rather than the Attic-Ionic Kronia.


  1. ^ "Attic Calendar". EpistemeAcademy.org. Calendars. Retrieved 2021-05-03.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Bremmer, J.N. (2008). Greek Religion and Culture, the Bible and the Ancient Near East. Brill. pp. 38, 82–83.
  3. ^ a b c Hansen, William F. (2002). Ariadne's Thread: A guide to international tales found in classical literature. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. pp. 385, 391.
  4. ^ Bremmer, J.N. (2004). "Ritual". In Johnston, Sarah Iles (ed.). Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. p. 38. ISBN 0-674-01517-7.
  5. ^ a b Lucius Accius. "fragment 3". [no title?]; cited in Bremmer (2008).[2]: 38  Accius' purpose is to claim the Kronia as an influence on the Roman Saturnalia.[4][c]
  6. ^ Graf, Fritz (2004). "Myth". In Johnston, Sarah Iles (ed.). Religions of the Ancient World: A Guide. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. pp. 52, 268. ISBN 0-674-01517-7.
  7. ^ Burkert, Walter (1985). Greek Religion. Harvard University Press. p. 231.