Poseidon is a God of the Sea in ancient Greek mythology and ancient Greek religion. His name translates to either “husband of the earth” or “lord of the earth”. According to Greek mythology, he was a son of Cronus, the youngest of the 12 titans, and his sister and consort Rhea. Poseidon was a brother of Zeus, the sky god, and ruler of mount Olympus. Here are some more Poseidon facts for you.
Besides Zeus, Poseidon was also a brother to Hades, god of the underworld. The three brothers deposed their father, and then Poseidon got the Kingdom of the Sea.
Leading Deity In Ancient Greece
Poseidon was one of the primary deities in Greece. In some of the major cities, he was the primary deity. For example, in Athens, his importance was second only to Athena, more on this later on.
In Corinth and cities in the region of Magna Graecia, Great Greece, he was the most important God. Ancient Greeks considered him the creator of new islands and ruler of the calm sea.
Swallowed By His Father At Birth
We said Poseidon was the second son of Cronus and Rhea. Here is more family history for you. Cronus overthrew his father Uranus and ruled over the world alongside his wife. But he was told that one of his children would go on to overthrow him the same way he did to his father.
So, afraid of such a scenario, Cronus swallowed his children at birth including Poseidon. Rhea was able to save her sixth child, Zeus. When he came of age, he made his father regurgitate his siblings. They joined Zeus in his fight against Cronus and the other Titans in the Battle of the Gods.
Had Quite A Violent Temper
The Greek god Poseidon was infamous for his violent temper. He was often depicted as a mature, bearded, and wise man. But he had a terrible temper, similar to his brothers Zeus and Hades.
Poseidon would create strong storms during bouts of extreme loneliness and anger.
God of Horses
Besides God of the Sea, Poseidon was also regarded as the God of horses. Greeks believed he created the first known horse and gifted it to humans. He also introduced humans to riding and chariot racing.
People viewed him as the tamer of horses but some myths portrayed him as their father.
Poseidon And Pegasus
Continuing that mythological history, Poseidon is the father of the first flying horse, Pegasus. He and Medusa conceived Pegasus, one of the many mythological creatures in ancient Greece.
Trident Is His Symbol
The main weapon of Poseidon is the trident. It was crafted for him by the three Elder Cyclopes during the Titanomachy, the War against the Titans.
In many Greek myths, Poseidon uses his trident to strike the ground and produce a well of seawater. He can use the trident to split rocks, create springs, and more.
According to Greek mythology, the trident resembles a fish spear used by the coast-dwelling Greeks. In modern times, his trident is part of the flag of Barbados, the Seal of the Greek Navy, and the Special Warfare insignia of the US Navy Seals.
Poseidon’s Trident Power
Many Greek myths talk about the power of Poseidon’s trident. But the Greek poet Hesiod was among the first to write about it. He wrote how the three Cyclopes created the trident. The three one-eyed giants were called Arges, Brontes, and Steropes.
Poseidon wielded the trident and that image is often what we see in art. He could strike the ground with the trident to produce an earthquake. This is why many people referred to him as the Earth-shaker.
He Forced Himself On Women
Poseidon was a ladies’ man. He had numerous sexual escapades. When he found his love rejected, he would go on to assert his dominance on women with violence and craftiness.
This is why some Greek myths say that Poseidon had at least 30 relationships with nymphs, goddesses, and mortals. Some of his notable relationships include Amphitrite, the goddess of the sea, Gaia, the goddess of the earth, Tyro, a mortal woman, Alope, his own granddaughter, Medusa, a priestess of Athena who was raped by the Sea God, and many more.
Poseidon also had three male lovers, Patroclus, Nerites, and Pelops.
He Fathered Gods, Demigods, And Other Creatures
Because of his many sexual relationship affairs with women, Poseidon went on to father many children. He had affairs with mortal women, most of whom remain unknown. Some of Poseidon’s famous children include:
– Triton, his son with Amphitrite, a messenger of the sea
– Atlas, his son with the mortal woman Cleito, the first king of Atlantis
– Polyphemus, his giant son with the nymph Thoosa
– Theseus, a brave founding hero for the Athenians
– Pegasus, the mythical creature, flying horse, his offspring with Medusa
– Orion, his son with Euryale, a giant huntsman
– Antaeus, another giant who was invincible while he was in contact with his mother, eventually defeated by Heracles
– Charybdis, a sea monster, swallowing vast amounts of water and then burping it out, creating whirlpools in the process that destroyed passing ships
Features In The Famous Epic Iliad
Many Poseidon interesting facts originate in Greek mythology and Greek literature. Poseidon was a prominent figure in the epic poem Iliad, written by Homer.
He was punished for rebelling against Zeus, so the Thunder God sent him and his son Apollo to work as slaves to King Laomedon of Troy for one year. But because the King refused to pay them for their work in building the impenetrable walls around Troy, Poseidon sides with the Greeks during the Trojan War.
The Ancient Greek God Poseidon helped the Greeks in many ways during the war, even saving the Greek hero Achilles from drowning in the River Xanthos.
The Main Divine Antagonist In Odyssey
Poseidon was a prominent figure in another Homer’s epic story, Odyssey. This epic follows Odysseus, the main character as he fights at Troy and then has to come back home. Poseidon is angry with Odysseus because he didn’t thank the Sea God for the Trojan horse.
So, Poseidon makes Odysseus’s return to Ithaca a nightmare. After 10 years, Odysseus is finally able to get back to his home.
Poseidon In Pop Culture
You might have read about Poseidon in the Greek books Iliad and Odyssey. But the Sea God has been featured in many modern works.
Art statues of Poseidon can be seen in Gothenburg, Sweden, Copenhagen, Denmark, Bristol, England, and many more.
In modern popular culture, Poseidon is the father of the protagonist Percy Jackson. He is also shown as the father of the villainous sea witch Ursula, appearing in the Walt Disney feature film, The Little Mermaid.
Poseidon Versus Athena
We said in the beginning that Poseidon is the second most important deity in Athens. He and Athena, the Greek Goddess of warfare competed for possession of the city. To sway people in his favor, he made it spring at the Acropolis. But Athena gave the people the olive tree and won the contest.
Sailors And Poseidon
To this day, many sailors pray to Poseidon. Back in the day, it was believed he could use his powerful trident to raise new land up from beneath the sea or make land sink down below the waters.
When he was generous, he was helpful to humans and protected sailors calmed the sea, and guided ships through treacherous waters to safety. He would also fill the nets with fish.
But when he was offended or ignored, he would make life difficult for sailors. With his trident, Poseidon would create crashing waves or swirling whirlpools, as well as storms.
That is why sailors would pray to Poseidon, the God of the Sea to ensure a safe journey. Many offered drowned horses as a sacrifice to please him.