Commonly known as ‘God of the sea,’ Poseidon was one of the twelve Olympian gods in ancient Greek mythology. Since he was the god of sea, he was accountable for all the events which took place in the ocean. There are certain symbols which correspond to objects associated with Poseidon.
Did You Know?
Poseidon is also known by other names such as, Earth-Shaker and tamer of horses.
Poseidon was one of the children of the Titans Cronus and Rhea. He is known as Neptune in Roman mythology. He is strongly associated with water, horses, and earthquakes. There are several myths surrounding his birth, but one myth states that on his birth, his father swallowed him. Cronus was scared that one day his children will overthrow his throne, so he gulped down Poseidon along with his other kids.
When Zeus was born, his wife Rhea presented a stone instead of the baby. When Zeus grew up he freed Poseidon and his other siblings. They all defeated their father and the Titans. As a reward, they divided the world into three parts. Poseidon was given the sea portion, hence he is known as god of the sea. He was considered to be very moody, ill-tempered and greedy amongst the god of Olympians.
If he was insulted or let down in any way, he would make sure to hold that grudge against that person for their entire lifetime. Since he was the dweller of the sea, he was responsible for many natural and supernatural events that took place in the sea. Many sailors before setting on a voyage would try to appease Poseidon by sacrificing animals or through prayers, so that their journey is favorable.
He had extreme personality, one moment he could cause earthquakes, tempests, drown lands and the next moment bring calmness and peace like nothing ever happened. He had two palaces, one was located in Mount Olympus and the other under the sea which was decorated with precious gold and other gems. His union with his wife Amphitrite is one of a kind, wherein he used power to claim her. He is believed to have numerous affairs other than his wife, in fact he has many kids out of those affairs.
In various sculptures, paintings, and mosaics he was often pictured with elements which served as his symbols. Though he had few attributes, but each of them was marked important by him. So what are the symbols related to Poseidon?
Poseidon Symbols In Greek Mythology
Besides being the sea of god, he was also considered as the god of horses. There are many myths stating the reason as to why horse is regarded as his symbol. The first one suggests that Poseidon was the first god who created the first horse. Hippocamps were the horses who pulled his chariot on the sea. Many voyagers sacrificed horses by drowning them to appease the sea god.
Another theory suggests that he was attracted to Demeter. And in order to hide from Poseidon, she disguised herself as a mare, but he also transformed himself into a stallion. From their union, Demeter gave birth to Arion (talking horse).
In Greek mythology, bulls were sacrificed to Poseidon as well as other gods. King Minos of Crete was offered a white bull by Poseidon. The bull was supposed to be a sacrifice to Poseidon, but king Minos became fond of the animal and refused to sacrifice the creature. Poseidon became furious and punished the king, by making his wife Pasiphae fall for that bull. This union between his wife and bull gave birth to Minotaur a scary monster, who was half man and half bull.
He was god of the sea, so all the creatures under the ocean are his symbols. Especially fish they in a way symbolized his population under his rule. Dolphins were sacred to him, because they had the innate quality to move in and out of water. Not to forget it was a dolphin who persuaded the sea nymph Amphitrite to marry Poseidon.
Ocean and Trident
Ocean symbolized power and strength which he possessed as the caretaker of the water world. Additionally, it also symbolizes life and its endless existence. It is the personification of mystery and depth. Trident is a three-pronged spear which is used by fishermen to capture fish. This symbol represented his power to control water. It was produced by the Cyclopes before the war commenced between the Titans and the Olympians.
If he was offended or angered, he would hit the ground with his trident causing earthquake and shipwreck. In his attempt to conquer the city of Athens, (modern day version) he struck the ground with his weapon which caused a spring to bounce up. But the water was salty so it was considered useless by the citizen of Athens. It is believed he always carried his trident everywhere.
It was because of these symbols he could accomplish whatever he wanted. Many of his statues and paintings picture these symbols with him, especially his trident.