Ancient Greece Reloaded




King of the Seas

Poseidon was the god of the sea, earthquakes and horses. Although he was officially one of the supreme gods of Mount Olympus, he spent most of his time in his watery domain. Poseidon was brother to Zeus and Hades. These three gods divided up creation. Zeus became ruler of the sky, Hades got dominion of the Underworld and Poseidon was given all water, both fresh and salt.

Although there were various rivers personified as gods, these would have been technically under Poseidon's sway. Similarly, Nereus, the Old Man of the Sea, wasn't really considered on a par with Poseidon, who was known to drive his chariot through the waves in unquestioned dominance. Poseidon had married Nereus's daughter, the sea-nymph Amphitrite.

The Romans' name for Poseidon was Neptune

In dividing heaven, the watery realm and the subterranean land of the dead, the Olympians agreed that the earth itself would be ruled jointly, with Zeus as king. This led to a number of territorial disputes among the gods. Poseidon vied with Athena to be patron deity of Athens. The god demonstrated his power and benevolence by striking the Acropolis with his three-pronged spear, which caused a spring of salt water to emerge.

Athena, however, planted an olive tree, which was seen as a more useful favor. Her paramount importance to the Athenians is seen in her magnificent temple, the Parthenon, which still crowns the Acropolis. The people of Athens were careful, all the same, to honor Poseidon as well.

Poseidon was father of the hero Theseus, although the mortal Aegeus also claimed this distinction. Theseus was happy to have two fathers, enjoying the lineage of each when it suited him. Thus he became king of Athens by virtue of being Aegeus's son, but availed himself of Poseidon's parentage in facing a challenge handed him by King Minos of Crete. This monarch threw his signet ring into the depths of the sea and dared Theseus to retrieve it. The hero dove beneath the waves and not only found the ring but was given a crown by Poseidon's wife, Amphitrite.

Poseidon was not so well-disposed toward another famous hero. Because Odysseus blinded the Cyclops Polyphemus, who was Poseidon's son, the god not only delayed the hero's homeward return from the Trojan War but caused him to face enormous perils.

Poseidon similarly cursed the wife of King Minos. Minos had proved his divine right to rule Crete by calling on Poseidon to send a bull from the sea, which the king promised to sacrifice. Poseidon sent the bull, but Minos liked it too much to sacrifice it. So Poseidon asked Aphrodite, the goddess of love, to make Minos's queen, Pasiphae, fall in love with the bull. The result was the monstrous Minotaur, half-man, half-bull.

As god of horses, Poseidon often adopted the shape of a steed. It is not certain that he was in this form when he wooed Medusa. But when Perseus later killed the Gorgon, the winged horse Pegasus sprang from her severed neck.

Poseidon sometimes granted the shape-shifting power to others. And he ceded to the request of the maiden Caenis that she be transformed into the invulnerable, male warrior Caeneus.


Poseidon, Agaeus and the Fatal Curse

Once, Poseidon, the god of the Seas, fell in love with Astypalaia, the sister of Europe, and abducted her. The couple gave birth to a son and named him Agaeus, who later on would participate in the Argonautic expedition.

Agaeus lived on the island of Samos and was an excellent winegrower. But undoubtedly, he was very harsh on his workers and treated them like slaves.

One day, a servant became furious about the way Agaeus treated him: "Never should you drink wine from your vineyard!", he cursed his master.

Time passed by, until one fine day the wine was prepared and ready to drink. Happily, Agaeus called his servant and told him: "See how ridiculous you were! Your curse was in vain!"

Calmly, the servant replied: "There is a long distance between this glass and your lips..."

Right at that moment, a slave informed Agaeus about a wild boar that destroyed his country. Hastily, Agaeus left his glass and rushed against the beast. Ultimately, the boar devoured Agaeus and the prophecy was verified.

This myth was dedicated to the people who quickly jump to conclusions.

The Contest of Poseidon and Athena

There once came a time in Ancient Greece when the first king of Athens, Cecrops, who was half person and half snake, had to find a patron deity for the city state of Athens.

The two Olympian gods who were particularly interested in the patronage were Poseidon, the god of the Seas and Athena, the goddess of Wisdom and Skill. They presented themselves in front of Cecrops and Cecrops asked from them to offer a gift truly valuable for Athens.

Poseidon came first: he struck the earth powerfully and created a well with his trident. Immediately, streaming water shot forth, but the water turned out to be salty and not very useful for the population.

Next, it was the turn of goddess Athena. Athena stepped forward, struck her spear into the ground and then she kneeled and planted an olive branch in it. This way she created an olive tree, as a symbolization of peace and prosperity on earth.

Cecrops was very impressed by Athena’s gift. So he chose Athena to lay claim of the city of Athens and the city was named after her. God Poseidon, however, was not pleased with the decision of Cecrops and cursed the city of Athens to never have enough water from then on. After that, it is said that a major problem of water shortage started in Athens, which continues until nowadays.


Myths of Poseidon

The myths of Poseidon say he was the protector of all waters, also known as the God Of The Sea. He was the son of Cronus and Rhea. There are 2 versions about his childhood:

He was swallowed by Cronus when he was just a baby, and then rescued by Zeus along his brothers and sisters.

Rhea saved him by giving him to a flock of lambs when he was born and tricked Cronus giving him a colt for him to swallow. He was raised by the Telchines on Rhodes.

After the victory against the Titans, Zeus, Hades and Poseidon divided the world to be ruled by all three of them, Poseidon kept the sea and earth, also as a gift for the help in battle, the Cyclops gave him a Trident. Being the protector of the waters, all the seamen worship him, and before they embarked on a trip, they prayed to him and used to drown a horse as sacrifice.

If someone dare to make a trip without pray to him first, he would make the earth shake hitting the ground with his Trident to create big waves and make the ships wreck.

Poseidon was the second most powerful God on Olympus. He was greedy and always tried to take away the cities from the other Gods. He was married to Amphitrite (daughter of the Titan Oceanus), from this relation was born the hero Thescus. Like his brother Zeus, Poseidon was a cheater and had various affairs, and fathered various sons and daughters, some of them are:

He had an affair with Tyro ,taking advantage of the love she had for Enipus, he disguised himself as Enipus, and from this Pelias and Neleus were born.

Alope, daughter of Cercyon ,was another woman that had sexual relations with Poseidon, and born from this was Hippothoon. But when Cercyon found out who was the father, he buried Alope alive, but Poseidon saved her by turning her into a spring.

Poseidon saved Amymore from a Satyr ,as a thank you for this, she accepted to be his lover, they both were the parents of Nauplius.

Medusa was another of her lovers ,they both once had a sexual encounter in one of Athena's temples, this made the Goddess furious and as a punishment for such sacriledge Medusa was transform into a monster. When she was decapitated by Perseus, Pegasus and Chrysaor came out from her neck.

Another of the myths of Poseidon says that he desired the beautiful Demeter, and as a proof of his love, she asked Poseidon to create the most beautiful creature she has ever seen. After countless efforts and lot of time, he created the first horse, but was too late, for when he showed the horse to Demeter, she already had lost the interest on him.

Another myth explains how he lost the city of Athens against the Goddess Athena in a competition. In this competition both Gods were asked to give a present to the city. Poseidon using his Trident, hit the earth and from that spot, water started to come out, but the water was salty and was not of too much use, Athena on the other hand gave them an Olive tree. King Cecrops liked Athena's gift better, this made Poseidon angry, and punished the city with a flood.

Also there is a myth that says that one day Poseidon and Apollo made Zeus made him upset, and for this he sent both to the city of Troy and be at the service of King Laomedon. The king asked the Gods to build a wall around the city to protect it, and at the end, he would give them a present. When the walls were done, the King did not kept his promise and Poseidon sent a sea creature to punish the King, but Heracles killed the beast.

The myths of Poseidon describe that he rides on a chariot pulled by Hippocampus that could ride on the sea. His animal was the horse, his sacred cities were Pylos and Thebes. His oracle was on Delphi, but Apollo took it from him.

And this are some myths of Poseidon, God of the Sea.



[1] "MythWeb"

[2] "Greek Gods"

[3] "Real Legends and Myths"

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