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Poseidon

This article is about the Greek god. See also: Poseidon missile - Poseidon (Planet)[?]


In Greek Mythology, Poseidon ("husband") was the god of the sea, known to the Romans as Neptune, and to the Etruscans as Nethuns. He was also the god of earthquakes and horses. Benthesikyme was sometimes mentioned as his sister.

Table of contents

Worship Poseidon was one of the caretakers of the Oracle at Delphi before Apollo took it over.

Sailors drowned horses as a sacrifice to Poseidon.

Role In Society

Sailors prayed to Poseidon for a safe voyage. When in a good mood, Poseidon created new islands and calm seas. When in a bad mood, he struck the ground with his trident and caused chaotic springs, earthquakes, drownings and shipwrecks.

In Art

Poseidon's chariot was pulled by a hippocampus or horses. He was associated with dolphins, tridents and three-pronged fish spears (tridents).

He lived in a palace on the ocean floor, made of coral and gems.

Appellations

Poseidon was often referred to with the epithet Poseidon Enosichthon ("earth-shaker").

In Rome

Neptune was worshipped by the Romans primarily as a horse god, Neptune Equester, patron of horse-racing. He had a temple near the race tracks in Rome (built in 25 BC), the Circus Flaminius[?], as well as one in the Campus Martius[?]. Only July 23, the Neptunalia[?] was observed at the latter temple.

Birth and Childhood Poseidon was a son of Cronus and Rhea. Like his brothers and sisters save Zeus, Poseidon was swallowed by his father. He was regurgitated only after Zeus forced Cronus to vomit up the infants he had eaten. Zeus and his brothers and sisters, along with the Hecatonchires, Gigantes and Cyclopes overthrew Cronus and the other Titans.

When the world was divided in three, Zeus received the earth and sky, Hades the underworld and Poseidon the sea.

Adulthood

Lovers

His wife was Amphitrite.

Poseidon once pursued Demeter. She turned herself into a mare; and he became a stallion[?] and captured her. Their child was a horse, Arion.

Poseidon had an affair with Alope, his granddaughter through Cercyon, begetting Hippothoon. Cercyon had his daughter buried alive but Poseidon turned her into the spring, Alope, near Eleusis.

Poseidon rescued Amymone from a lecherous satyr and then fathered a child, Nauplius, by her.

A mortal woman named Tyro was married to Cretheus (with whom she had one son, Aeson) but loved Enipeus, a river god. She pursued Enipeus, who refused her advances. One day, Poseidon, filled with lust for Tyro, disguised himself as Enipeus and from their union was born Pelias and Neleus, twin boys.

With Medusa, Poseidon had sexual intercourse on the floor of a temple to Athena. Medusa was changed into a monster and gave birth to Chrysaor and Pegasus.

After raping Caeneus, Poseidon fulfilled her request and changed her into a man.

Other Stories

Athena became the patron goddess of the city of Athens, in a competition with Poseidon. They agreed that each would give the Athenians one gift and the Athenians would choose whichever gift they preferred. Poseidon struck the ground with his trident and a spring sprung up; the water was salty and not very useful, whereas Athena offered them an olive tree. The Athenians (or their king, Cecrops) accepted the olive tree and along with it Athena as their patron, for the olive tree brought wood, oil and food. This is thought to remember a clash between the inhabitants during Mycenaean times and newer immigrants. It is interesting to note that Athens at its height was a significant sea power, at one point defeating the Persian fleet at Salamis Island in a sea battle.

Poseidon and Apollo, having offended Zeus, were sent to serve King Laomedon. He had them build huge walls around the city and promised to reward them well, a promise he then refused to fulfill. In vengeance, before the Trojan War, Poseidon sent a sea monster to attack Troy (it was later killed by Heracles).

Poseidon is best known for his hatred of Odysseus, preventing his return home to Ithaca for many years.

Poseidon loved Pelops and gave him a winged chariot, which he later used in the race against Oenomaus.

Consorts/Children

  1. With Aethra
    1. Theseus
  2. With Alope
    1. Hippothoon
  3. With Amphitrite
    1. Rhode
    2. Triton
  4. With Amymone
    1. Nauplius
  5. With Canace
    1. Aloeus
  6. With Celaeno
    1. Lycus
  7. With Chione
    1. Eumolpus
  8. With Chloris
    1. Poriclymenus
  9. With Demeter
    1. Despina
  10. With Europa
    1. Euphemus
  11. With Eurynome
    1. Adrastus
  12. With Gaia
    1. Antaeus
    2. Charybdis
  13. With Halia
    1. Rhode
  14. With Hippothoe
    1. Taphius
  15. Libya (No Children)
  16. With Lybie
    1. Lamia
  17. With Melia
    1. Amycus
  18. With Medusa
    1. Pegasus
    2. Chrysaor
  19. With Periboea
    1. Nausithous
  20. With Thoosa
    1. Polyphemus
  21. With Tyro
    1. Neleus
    2. Pelias
  22. Unknown mother
    1. Aon
    2. Briareus
    3. Byzas
    4. Cercyon
    5. Cycnus
    6. Evadne
    7. Lamia
    8. Lotis
    9. Rhodus
    10. Sinis
    11. Taras



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