Poseidon was the god of the sea and the god of horses. He was also the god of earthquakes and storms. Know more about this important figure in Greek mythology, is this SpiritualRay article on the facts about Poseidon.
The word Poseidon might have originated from the Greek words posis, meaning lord or husband and don derived from dea meaning goddess. Poseidon was one of the most important gods of the Greeks.
Quick Facts about Poseidon
✦ Poseidon was the son of Cronus and Rhea. According to most myths, Cronus had swallowed Poseidon but Zeus saved him. Some myths say that his mother who concealed him from his father saved Poseidon. He was one of the six siblings who divided the power of the world. Zeus, Hades, Hera, Hestia, and Demeter were the names of his siblings.
✦ Poseidon is among the twelve Olympian deities of the pantheon. God of the Sea, Earth-Shaker, and tamer of horses are some of the names with which he is referred to. His Roman equivalent is Neptune.
✦ He is depicted as an older man with curly hair and a beard.
✦ The tablets in Linear B, a script used for writing Mycenaean, an early form of Greek, reveal that Poseidon was venerated at Pylos and Thebes during the pre-Olympian Bronze Age. He found a place in the list of Olympian Gods, as the brother of Zeus and Hades.
✦ It is believed that Zeus acquired the sky, Hades took the underworld, while Poseidon was in charge of the sea.
✦ It is believed that Poseidon liked to stay under the waters with his queen Amphitrite. He is supposed to have lived in a palace made out of gems and corals.
✦ The trident and the dolphin are Poseidon’s symbols.
✦ Some say that when anyone offended Poseidon, he used to strike the ground with his trident, causing earthquakes and shipwrecks. So he is known as the ‘earth-shaker’. To avoid his anger, sailors used to pray to him for a safe journey.
✦ Pausanias believed that Poseidon was one of the caretakers of the oracle of Delphi. Poseidon and Apollo are considered to have worked together in certain fields. Poseidon was the provider of lustral or holy water for the foundation-sacrifice.
✦ A competition between Poseidon and Athena, which made Athena the patron goddess of Athens, is famous in Greek mythology. According to the myth, it was once decided that both Athena and Poseidon would gift something to the Athenians. Poseidon struck the ground and brought water. It was salty and hence rendered of no use to the people of the city. Athena however, presented the Athenians with an olive tree. This was a very useful gift, which made the people accept Athena as their patron goddess.
✦ Tyro, a mortal woman, was in love with a river god named Enipeus. One day, Poseidon disguised himself as Enipeus and approached Tyro. From their union were born, Pelias and Neleus. Poseidon was the father of Nauplius, the founder of Nauplia (Nafplio). He was the father of many a great hero of Greek mythology, not all his children were human.
✦ Poseidon was the father of Arion, a horse, which was the result of his most notorious love affair involving his sister. Poseidon was attracted by Demeter who transformed herself into a mare to avoid him. But with feelings of lust in mind, he transformed himself into a horse and Arion was his son from her.
✦ The story behind the Walls of Troy is interesting. Once, Poseidon and Apollo had offended Zeus. For this act, they were sent to King Laomedon of Troy. He ordered them to build huge walls around the city and promised them a reward after the completion of the construction. The king did not go by what he had said. In revenge of breaking the promise, Poseidon sent a sea monster to attack Troy.
✦ Greek art portrays Poseidon as riding a chariot pulled by a hippocampus or by horses. The chariot is shown to be able to ride on the sea.
✦ Greek art associated Poseidon with his symbols; namely the dolphins and three-pronged fish spears.
✦ According to Iliad, an ancient Greek epic poem, Poseidon favored the Greeks and was active in the battle against the Trojan forces.
✦ In the Odyssey, another ancient Greek poetry, Poseidon hated Odysseus because Odysseus was supposed to have blinded the God’s son.
These interesting facts about Poseidon reflect his personality. He is an important figure in Greek mythology and has been depicted in their art and literature too.