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God of the sea, storms, earthquakes, horses
0036MAN Poseidon.jpg
Poseidon from Milos, 2nd century BC (National Archaeological Museum of Athens)
Abode Mount Olympus, or the Sea
Symbol Trident, fish, dolphin, horse, bull
Personal information
Parents Cronus and Rhea
Siblings Hades, Demeter, Hestia, Hera, Zeus, Chiron
Consort Amphitrite, Aphrodite, Demeter, various others
Children Theseus
Atlas (the first king of Atlantis)
Roman equivalent Neptune

Poseidon ( /pəˈsdən,pɒ-,p-/ ; [1] Greek : Ποσειδῶν , pronounced  [poseːdɔ́ːn] ) was one of the Twelve Olympians in ancient Greek religion and myth, god of the sea, storms, earthquakes and horses. [2] In pre-Olympian Bronze Age Greece, he was venerated as a chief deity at Pylos and Thebes. [2] He had also the cult title "earth shaker". In the myths of isolated Arcadia he is related with Demeter and Persephone and he was venerated as a horse, however it seems that he was originally a god of the waters. [3] He is often regarded as the tamer or father of horses, [2] and with a strike of his trident, he created springs which are related with the word horse. [4] His Roman equivalent is Neptune.


Poseidon was protector of seafarers, and of many Hellenic cities and colonies. Homer and Hesiod suggest that Poseidon became lord of the sea following the defeat of his father Cronus, when the world was divided by lot among his three sons; Zeus was given the sky, Hades the underworld, and Poseidon the sea, with the Earth and Mount Olympus belonging to all three. [2] [5] In Homer's Iliad , Poseidon supports the Greeks against the Trojans during the Trojan War and in the Odyssey , during the sea-voyage from Troy back home to Ithaca, the Greek hero Odysseus provokes Poseidon's fury by blinding his son, the Cyclops Polyphemus, resulting in Poseidon punishing him with storms, the complete loss of his ship and companions, and a ten-year delay. Poseidon is also the subject of a Homeric hymn. In Plato's Timaeus and Critias, the legendary island of Atlantis was Poseidon's domain. [6] [7] [8]

Athena became the patron goddess of the city of Athens after a competition with Poseidon, and he remained on the Acropolis in the form of his surrogate, Erechtheus. After the fight, Poseidon sent a monstrous flood to the Attic Plain, to punish the Athenians for not choosing him. [9]


The earliest attested occurrence of the name, written in Linear B, is 𐀡𐀮𐀆𐀃Po-se-da-o or 𐀡𐀮𐀆𐀺𐀚Po-se-da-wo-ne, which correspond to Ποσειδάων (Poseidaōn) and Ποσειδάϝονος (Poseidawonos) in Mycenean Greek; in Homeric Greek it appears as Ποσειδάων (Poseidaōn); in Aeolic as Ποτειδάων (Poteidaōn); and in Doric as Ποτειδάν (Poteidan), Ποτειδάων (Poteidaōn), and Ποτειδᾶς (Poteidas). [10] The form Ποτειδάϝων (Poteidawon) appears in Corinth. [11] A cult title of Poseidon in Linear B is E-ne-si-da-o-ne, "earth-shaker".

The origins of the name "Poseidon" are unclear. One theory breaks it down into an element meaning "husband" or "lord" (Greek πόσις (posis), from PIE *pótis) and another element meaning "earth" (δᾶ (da), Doric for γῆ ()), producing something like lord or spouse of Da, i.e. of the earth; this would link him with Demeter, "Earth-mother". [12] Walter Burkert finds that "the second element δᾶ- remains hopelessly ambiguous" and finds a "husband of Earth" reading "quite impossible to prove." [2] According to Robert S. P. Beekes in Etymological Dictionary of Greek, "there is no indication that δᾶ means 'earth'", [13] although the root da appears in the Linear B inscription E-ne-si-da-o-ne, "earth-shaker". [14] [15]

Another, more plausible, theory interprets the second element as related to the (presumed) Doric word *δᾶϝον dâwon, "water", Proto-Indo-European *dah₂- "water" or *dʰenh₂- "to run, flow", Sanskrit दन् dā́-nu- "fluid, drop, dew" and names of rivers such as Danube (< *Danuvius) or Don. This would make *Posei-dawōn into the master of waters. [16] It seems that Poseidon was originally a god of the waters. [17] There is also the possibility that the word has Pre-Greek origin. [18] Plato in his dialogue Cratylus gives two traditional etymologies: either the sea restrained Poseidon when walking as a "foot-bond" (ποσίδεσμον), or he "knew many things" (πολλά εἰδότος or πολλά εἰδῶν). [19]

At least a few sources deem Poseidon as a "prehellenic" (i.e. Pelasgian) word, considering an Indo-European etymology "quite pointless". [20]

The name of the Frisian and Scandinavian god Fosite or Forseti, who was venerated on the island of Heligoland, may have been derived from Poseidon. According to the German philologist, Hans Kuhn, the Germanic form *Fosite is linguistically identical to Greek Poseidon. Roman altars dedicated to Poseidon have been found in the Middle Rhine area.

Bronze Age Greece

Poseidon, Paella Museum 07Pella Museum Poseidon.jpg
Poseidon, Paella Museum
Poseidon in Kadriorg Palace, Tallinn Kadriorg Palace, Tallinn.JPG
Poseidon in Kadriorg Palace, Tallinn

Linear B (Mycenean Greek) inscriptions

If surviving Linear B clay tablets can be trusted, the name po-se-da-wo-ne ("Poseidon") occurs with greater frequency than does di-u-ja ("Zeus"). A feminine variant, po-se-de-ia, is also found, indicating a lost consort goddess, in effect the precursor of Amphitrite. Poseidon carries frequently the title wa-na-ka (wanax) in Linear B inscriptions, as king of the underworld. The chthonic nature of Poseidon-Wanax is also indicated by his title E-ne-si-da-o-ne in Mycenean Knossos and Pylos, [21] a powerful attribute (earthquakes had accompanied the collapse of the Minoan palace-culture). In the cave of Amnisos (Crete) Enesidaon is related with the cult of Eileithyia, the goddess of childbirth. [22] She was related with the annual birth of the divine child. [23] During the Bronze Age, a goddess of nature, dominated both in Minoan and Mycenean cult, and Wanax (wa-na-ka) was her male companion (paredros) in Mycenean cult. [24] It is possible that Demeter appears as Da-ma-te in a Linear B inscription (PN EN 609), however the interpretation is still under dispute. [25]

In Linear B inscriptions found at Pylos, E-ne-si-da-o-ne is related with Poseidon, and Si-to Po-tini-ja is probably related with Demeter. [26] Tablets from Pylos record sacrificial goods destined for "the Two Queens and Poseidon" ("to the Two Queens and the King": wa-na-soi, wa-na-ka-te). The "Two Queens" may be related with Demeter and Persephone, or their precursors, goddesses who were not associated with Poseidon in later periods. [27]

Arcadian myths

The illuminating exception is the archaic and localised myth of the stallion Poseidon and mare Demeter at Phigalia in isolated and conservative Arcadia, noted by Pausanias (2nd century AD) as having fallen into desuetude; the stallion Poseidon pursues the mare-Demeter, and from the union she bears the horse Arion, and a daughter (Despoina), who obviously had the shape of a mare too. The violated Demeter was Demeter Erinys (furious) . [28] In Arcadia, Demeter's mare-form was worshiped into historical times. Her xoanon of Phigaleia shows how the local cult interpreted her, as goddess of nature. A Medusa type with a horse's head with snaky hair, holding a dove and a dolphin, probably representing her power over air and water. [29]


It seems that the Arcadian myth is related with the first Greek speaking people who entered the region during the Bronze Age. (Linear B represents an archaic Greek dialect). Their religious beliefs were mixed with the beliefs of the indigenous population. It is possible that the Greeks did not bring with them other gods except Zeus, Eos, and the Dioskouroi. The horse (numina) was related with the liquid element, and with the underworld. Poseidon appears as a beast (horse), which is the river spirit of the underworld, as it usually happens in northern-European folklore, and not unusually in Greece. [30] [31] Poseidon "Wanax", is the male companion (paredros) of the goddess of nature. In the relative Minoan myth, Pasiphaë is mating with the white bull, and she bears the hybrid creature Minotaur. [32] The Bull was the old pre-Olympian Poseidon. [33] The goddess of nature and her paredros survived in the Eleusinian cult, where the following words were uttered: "Mighty Potnia bore a strong son". [34]

In the heavily sea-dependent Mycenaean culture, there is not sufficient evidence that Poseidon was connected with the sea. We do not know if "Posedeia" was a sea-goddess. Homer and Hesiod suggest that Poseidon became lord of the sea following the defeat of his father Cronus, when the world was divided by lot among his three sons; Zeus was given the sky, Hades the underworld, and Poseidon the sea, with the Earth and Mount Olympus belonging to all three. [2] [35] Walter Burkert suggests that the Hellene cult worship of Poseidon as a horse god may be connected to the introduction of the horse and war-chariot from Anatolia to Greece around 1600 BC. [2]

There is evidence that Poseidon was once worshipped as a horse, and this is evident by his cult in Peloponnesos. However, some ancient writers held he was originally a god of the waters, and therefore he became the "earth-shaker", because the Greeks believed that the cause of the earthquakes was the erosion of the rocks by the waters, by the rivers who they saw to disappear into the earth and then to burst out again. This is what the natural philosophers Thales, Anaximenes and Aristotle believed, which may have been similar to the folklore belief. [36]

In any case, the early importance of Poseidon can still be glimpsed in Homer's Odyssey , where Poseidon rather than Zeus is the major mover of events. In Homer, Poseidon is the master of the sea. [37]

Cameo showing Poseidon as gymnasiarch of the Isthmian Games (Kunsthistorisches Museum) Kunsthistorisches Museum Poseidon cameo 23062013.jpg
Cameo showing Poseidon as gymnasiarch of the Isthmian Games (Kunsthistorisches Museum)

Worship of Poseidon

Poseidon was a major civic god of several cities: in Athens, he was second only to Athena in importance, while in Corinth and many cities of Magna Graecia he was the chief god of the polis. [2]

In his benign aspect, Poseidon was seen as creating new islands and offering calm seas. When offended or ignored, he supposedly struck the ground with his trident and caused chaotic springs, earthquakes, drownings and shipwrecks. Sailors prayed to Poseidon for a safe voyage, sometimes drowning horses as a sacrifice; in this way, according to a fragmentary papyrus, Alexander the Great paused at the Syrian seashore before the climactic battle of Issus, and resorted to prayers, "invoking Poseidon the sea-god, for whom he ordered a four-horse chariot to be cast into the waves." [38]

According to Pausanias, Poseidon was one of the caretakers of the oracle at Delphi before Olympian Apollo took it over. Apollo and Poseidon worked closely in many realms: in colonization, for example, Delphic Apollo provided the authorization to go out and settle, while Poseidon watched over the colonists on their way, and provided the lustral water for the foundation-sacrifice. Xenophon's Anabasis describes a group of Spartan soldiers in 400–399 BC singing to Poseidon a paean—a kind of hymn normally sung for Apollo. Like Dionysus, who inflamed the maenads, Poseidon also caused certain forms of mental disturbance. A Hippocratic text of ca 400 BC, On the Sacred Disease [39] says that he was blamed for certain types of epilepsy.

Poseidon is still worshipped today in modern Hellenic religion, among other Greek gods. The worship of Greek gods is recognized by the Greek government since 2017. [40] [41]


Dionysus, Plato, or Poseidon sculpture excavated at the Villa of the Papyri. Dionysus-or-Plato-Herculaneum-papyri-Villa-of-the-Papyri-Barker.jpg
Dionysus, Plato, or Poseidon sculpture excavated at the Villa of the Papyri.

Common epithets (or adjectives) applied to Poseidon are Enosichthon (Ἐνοσίχθων) "Earth Shaker" or "earth-shaking" and Ennosigaios (Ἐννοσίγαιος), used by Homer in the Iliad and by Nonnus in Dionysiaca . [lower-alpha 1] [42] [43] Of the two phrases, Enosichthon has an older evidence of use, as it is identified in Linear B, as 𐀁𐀚𐀯𐀅𐀃𐀚, E-ne-si-da-o-ne, [21]

The epithets Ennosigaios (and Ennosidas), Gaiēochos (Γαιήοχος) ,Seisichthon , [44] ,indicate the chthonic nature of Poseidon. In the town of Aegae in Euboea, he was known as Poseidon Aegaeus and had a magnificent temple upon a hill, [45] [46] [47] Epithets like Pelagios (Πελάγιος) "belonging to the sea" in Ionia, Phykios (φύκιος) "full of seaweed" in Mykonos, [48] "Kyanochetis" ,(κυανοχαίτης: "Dark-Haired", dark blue of the sea), [49] indicate that Poseidon was regarded as holding sway over land as well as the sea. [43]

Poseidon also had a close association with horses, known under the epithet Hippios (ἲππειος), usually in Arcadia. He is more often regarded as the tamer of horses, but in some myths he is their father, either by spilling his seed upon a rock or by mating with a creature who then gave birth to the first horse. [2] He was closely related with the springs, and with the strike of his trident, he created springs. Many springs like Hippocrene and Aganippe in Helikon are related with the word horse (hippos). (also Glukippe, Hyperippe). [50]

Some other epithets of Poseidon are: [51]

Andrea Doria as Neptune, by Angelo Bronzino. Andrea Doria as Neptun by Angelo Bronzino.jpg
Andrea Doria as Neptune , by Angelo Bronzino.


Poseidon was the second son of the Titans Cronus and Rhea. In most accounts he is swallowed by Cronus at birth and is later saved, along with his other brothers and sisters, by Zeus.

However, in some versions of the story, he, like his brother Zeus, did not share the fate of his other brother and sisters who were eaten by Cronus. He was saved by his mother Rhea, who concealed him among a flock of lambs and pretended to have given birth to a colt, which she gave to Cronus to devour. [54]

According to John Tzetzes [55] the kourotrophos , or nurse of Poseidon was Arne, who denied knowing where he was, when Cronus came searching; according to Diodorus Siculus [56] Poseidon was raised by the Telchines on Rhodes, just as Zeus was raised by the Korybantes on Crete.

According to a single reference in the Iliad , when the world was divided by lot in three, Zeus received the sky, Hades the underworld and Poseidon the sea. [57]

In Homer's Odyssey (Book V, ln. 398), Poseidon has a home in Aegae .

Foundation of Athens

The Dispute of Minerva and Neptune by Rene-Antoine Houasse (circa 1689 or 1706) Rene-Antoine Houasse - The Dispute of Minerva and Neptune, 1689.jpg
The Dispute of Minerva and Neptune by René-Antoine Houasse (circa 1689 or 1706)

Athena became the patron goddess of the city of Athens after a competition with Poseidon. Yet Poseidon remained a numinous presence on the Acropolis in the form of his surrogate, Erechtheus. [2] At the dissolution festival at the end of the year in the Athenian calendar, the Skira, the priests of Athena and the priest of Poseidon would process under canopies to Eleusis. [58] 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 sprang up; the water was salty and not very useful, [59] 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. After the fight, infuriated at his loss, Poseidon sent a monstrous flood to the Attic Plain, to punish the Athenians for not choosing him. The depression made by Poseidon's trident and filled with salt water was surrounded by the northern hall of the Erechtheum, remaining open to the air. "In cult, Poseidon was identified with Erechtheus," Walter Burkert noted; "the myth turns this into a temporal-causal sequence: in his anger at losing, Poseidon led his son Eumolpus against Athens and killed Erectheus." [60]

Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion, ca 440 BC Greece Cape Sounion BW 2017-10-09 10-12-43.jpg
Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion, ca 440 BC

The contest of Athena and Poseidon was the subject of the reliefs on the western pediment of the Parthenon, the first sight that greeted the arriving visitor.

This myth is construed by Robert Graves and others as reflecting a clash between the inhabitants during Mycenaean times and newer immigrants. Athens at its height was a significant sea power, at one point defeating the Persian fleet at Salamis Island in a sea battle.

Walls of Troy

Poseidon and Apollo, having offended Zeus by their rebellion in Hera's scheme, were temporarily stripped of their divine authority and sent to serve King Laomedon of Troy. 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. The monster was later killed by Heracles [ citation needed ].

Consorts and children

Poseidon was said to have had many lovers of both sexes (see expandable list below). His consort was Amphitrite, a nymph and ancient sea-goddess, daughter of Nereus and Doris. Together they had a son named Triton, a merman.

Poseidon was the father of many heroes. He is thought to have fathered the famed Theseus.

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 were born the heroes Pelias and Neleus, twin boys. Poseidon also had an affair with Alope, his granddaughter through Cercyon, his son and King of Eleusis, begetting the Attic hero Hippothoon. Cercyon had his daughter buried alive but Poseidon turned her into the spring, Alope, near Eleusis.

Sea thiasos depicting the wedding of Poseidon and Amphitrite, from the Altar of Domitius Ahenobarbus in the Field of Mars, bas-relief, Roman Republic, 2nd century BC Sea thiasos Amphitrite Poseidon Glyptothek Munich 239 front n3.jpg
Sea thiasos depicting the wedding of Poseidon and Amphitrite, from the Altar of Domitius Ahenobarbus in the Field of Mars, bas-relief, Roman Republic, 2nd century BC

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

After having raped Caeneus, Poseidon fulfilled her request and changed her into a male warrior.

A mortal woman named Cleito once lived on an isolated island; Poseidon fell in love with the human mortal and created a dwelling sanctuary at the top of a hill near the middle of the island and surrounded the dwelling with rings of water and land to protect her. She gave birth to five sets of twin boys; the firstborn, Atlas, became the first ruler of Atlantis. [6] [7] [8]

Not all of Poseidon's children were human. In an archaic myth, Poseidon once pursued Demeter. She spurned his advances, turning herself into a mare so that she could hide in a herd of horses; he saw through the deception and became a stallion and captured her. Their child was a horse, Arion, which was capable of human speech. Poseidon also raped Medusa on the floor of a temple to Athena. [61] [62] Medusa was then changed into a monster by Athena. [63] [62] When she was later beheaded by the hero Perseus, Chrysaor and Pegasus emerged from her neck.

His other children include Polyphemus (the Cyclops) and, finally, Alebion and Bergion and Otos and Ephialtae (the giants). [61]

The philosopher Plato was held by his fellow ancient Greeks to have traced his descent to the sea-God Poseidon through his father Ariston and his mythic predecessors the demigod kings Codrus and Melanthus. [64] [65]

List of Poseidon's consorts and children

Female lovers and offspring

GoddessesChildrenMortal WomenChildrenMortal WomenChildren
Amphitrite Triton Agamede Dictys Laodice [66] No known offspring
Benthesikyme Actor Larissa • Achaeus
Rhodos Aethra Theseus • Pelasgus
Gaea Antaeus Alistra [67] Ogygus • Pythius
Charybdis Alope Hippothoon Leis, daughter of Orus• Altephus, king of Troezen [68]
Laistryon Amphimedusa Erythras [69] Libya Agenor
Demeter Despoina Amymone Nauplius Belus
Areion Anippe orBusiris Lelex
Aphrodite Rhodos Lysianassa Melantho Delphus
Herophile (possibly) Arene Idas (possibly) Melissa [70] • Dyrrhachius [71]
Medusa Pegasus Arne orAeolus Melite • Metus [72]
Chrysaor Melanippe Boeotus Mestra No known offspring
Unknown motherCymopoleia Ascre• Oeoclus [73] Molione• The Molionides
NymphsChildren Astypalaea Ancaeus 1. Cteatus
Aba Ergiscus [74] Eurypylus 2. Eurytus
Alcyone Aethusa Boudeia / BouzygeErginus Mytilene • Myton [75]
Hyrieus Caenis No known offspringOenopeMegareus (possibly)
Hyperenor Calchinia• PeratusOssaSithon (possibly)
Hyperes Calyce orCycnus Periboea Nausithous
Anthas Harpale orPhoenice• Torone [76]
Arethusa Abas ScamandrodiceProteus
Bathycleia [77] orHalirrhothius a Nereid [78] Rhode [79] • Ialysus
Euryte [80] Canace Hopleus • Cameirus
Beroe No known offspring• Nireus• Lindus
Bisalpis orChrysomallus Aloeus Syme Chthonius
Bisaltis orEpopeus Themisto Leucon or Leuconoe
Theophane Triopas Tyro Pelias
Celaeno [81] Lycus Celaeno• CelaenusNeleus
Nycteus Cerebia [82] Dictys Daughter of Amphictyon Cercyon
Eurypylus (Eurytus)Polydectes Unknown WomanDicaeus [83]
Lycaon Ceroessa Byzas Syleus
Kelousa orAsopus (possibly)ChrysogeneiaChryses Unknown WomanAmphimarus [84]
Pero Circe • PhaunosUnknown Woman• Amyrus [85]
Cleodora • ParnassusCleito [86] • AmpheresUnknown WomanAon, eponym of Aonia [87]
Chione Eumolpus • AtlasUnknown Mother• Astraeus of Mysia [88]
Corcyra Phaeax • AutochthonAlcippe of Mysia [88]
DiopatraNo known offspring• AzaesUnknown WomanAugeas [89]
Halia • Rhode (possibly)• DiaprepesUnknown Woman• Beergios [78]
• Six sons• ElasippusUnknown Woman• Byzenus [78]
MelantheiaEirene [90] • EuaemonUnknown Woman• Calaurus [91]
Melia Amycus • Eumelus (Gadeirus)Unknown Woman• Caucon or Glaucon [92]
Mygdon • MestorUnknown WomanCorynetes (possibly)
Mideia • Aspledon• MneseusUnknown Woman• Cromus, eponym of Crommyon [93]
OlbiaAstacus [94] Coronis No known offspringUnknown Woman• Dercynus (Bergion) of Liguria [95]
Peirene • Cenchrias Eidothea • Eusiros [96] Unknown WomanEryx, king of Eryx in Sicily
• LechesErgeaCelaenoUnknown Woman• Euseirus, father of Cerambus
Pitane orEuadne Europa orEuphemus Unknown Woman• Geren [97]
LenaMecioniceUnknown Woman• Ialebion (Alebion) of Liguria [95]
Pronoe Phocus Euryale Orion Unknown Woman• Lamus, king of the Laestrygonians
Rhodope • Athos [98] Eurycyda Eleius Unknown Woman• Messapus
Salamis Cychreus Eurynome (Eurymede)Bellerophon Unknown Woman• Onchestus [99]
Satyria of Taras Taras [100] Helle • AlmopsUnknown Woman• Palaestinus [101]
Thoosa Polyphemus • EdonusUnknown WomanPhineus [102]
Thyia No known offspring• PaionUnknown WomanPhorbas of Acarnania
Nymph of Chios Chios Hermippe Minyas (possibly)Unknown WomanPoltys
Nymph of Chios

(another one)

Melas Hippothoe Taphius Unknown WomanProcrustes
• Agelus Iphimedeia • The Aloadae Unknown WomanSarpedon of Ainos
• Malina1. EphialtesUnknown WomanSciron
Unknown motherLotis (possibly)2. OtusUnknown WomanTaenarus (possibly)
Unknown mother• Ourea, a nymph [103] Lamia • Sibylla (Sibyl)Unknown Woman• Terambos
Unknown WomanThasus

Male lovers


Poseidon's family tree  [105]
Uranus Gaia
Uranus' genitals Cronus Rhea
Zeus Hera POSEIDON Hades Demeter Hestia
    a [106]
     b [107]
Ares Hephaestus
Athena [108]
Apollo Artemis
    a [109]      b [110]

In literature and art

Neptune and Amphitrite by Jacob de Gheyn II (late 1500s) JacobdeGheynII-NeptuneandAmphitrite.jpg
Neptune and Amphitrite by Jacob de Gheyn II (late 1500s)

In Greek art, Poseidon rides a chariot that was pulled by a hippocampus or by horses that could ride on the sea. He was associated with dolphins and three-pronged fish spears (tridents). He lived in a palace on the ocean floor, made of coral and gems.

In the Iliad Poseidon favors the Greeks, and on several occasion takes an active part in the battle against the Trojan forces. However, in Book XX he rescues Aeneas after the Trojan prince is laid low by Achilles.

In the Odyssey , Poseidon is notable for his hatred of Odysseus who blinded the god's son, the Cyclops Polyphemus. The enmity of Poseidon prevents Odysseus's return home to Ithaca for many years. Odysseus is even told, notwithstanding his ultimate safe return, that to placate the wrath of Poseidon will require one more voyage on his part.

In the Aeneid , Neptune is still resentful of the wandering Trojans, but is not as vindictive as Juno, and in Book I he rescues the Trojan fleet from the goddess's attempts to wreck it, although his primary motivation for doing this is his annoyance at Juno's having intruded into his domain.

A hymn to Poseidon included among the Homeric Hymns is a brief invocation, a seven-line introduction that addresses the god as both "mover of the earth and barren sea, god of the deep who is also lord of Helicon and wide Aegae, [111] and specifies his twofold nature as an Olympian: "a tamer of horses and a saviour of ships."

Poseidon appears in Percy Jackson and the Olympians as the father of Percy Jackson and Tyson the Cyclops. He also appears in the ABC television series Once Upon a Time as the guest star of the second half of season four played by Ernie Hudson. [112] In this version, Poseidon is portrayed as the father of the Sea Witch Ursula.


Neptune's fountain in Presov, Slovakia. Neptunova fontana.jpg
Neptune's fountain in Prešov, Slovakia.
Poseidon myths as told by story tellers

Bibliography of reconstruction:

Bibliography of reconstruction:



See also

Explanatory notes

  1. LSJ states Enosichthon is used as an epithet by Homer and later as adjective by Nonnus. [42] The opposite has also been stated (Homer as adjective, Nonnus' Dionysiaca as epithet). [43]

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Ares is the Greek god of courage and war. He is one of the Twelve Olympians, and the son of Zeus and Hera. In Greek literature, he often represents the physical or violent and untamed aspect of war and is the personification of sheer brutality and bloodlust, in contrast to his sister, the armored Athena, whose functions as a goddess of intelligence include military strategy and generalship.

Demeter Greek goddess of the harvest, grains, and agriculture

In ancient Greek religion and mythology, Demeter is the Olympian goddess of the harvest and agriculture, presiding over grains and the fertility of the earth. Her cult titles include Sito (Σιτώ), "she of the Grain", as the giver of food or grain, and Thesmophoros, "Law-Bringer", as a mark of the civilized existence of agricultural society.

Erinyes Female chthonic deities of vengeance

The Erinyes, also known as the Furies, were female chthonic deities of vengeance in ancient Greek religion and mythology. A formulaic oath in the Iliad invokes them as "the Erinyes, that under earth take vengeance on men, whosoever hath sworn a false oath". Walter Burkert suggests they are "an embodiment of the act of self-cursing contained in the oath". They correspond to the Dirae in Roman mythology. The Roman writer Maurus Servius Honoratus wrote that they are called "Eumenides" in hell, "Furiae" on earth, and "Dirae" in heaven.

Hera Goddess from Greek mythology, wife and sister of Zeus

Hera is the goddess of women, marriage, family and childbirth in ancient Greek religion and mythology, one of the Twelve Olympians and the sister and wife of Zeus. She is the daughter of the Titans Cronus and Rhea. Hera rules over Mount Olympus as queen of the gods. A matronly figure, Hera served as both the patroness and protectress of married women, presiding over weddings and blessing marital unions. One of Hera's defining characteristics is her jealous and vengeful nature against Zeus' numerous lovers and illegitimate offspring, as well as the mortals who cross her.

Persephone Greek goddess of spring and the underworld

In Greek mythology, Persephone, also called Kore or Kora, is the daughter of Zeus and Demeter. She became the queen of the underworld through her abduction by Hades, the god of the underworld, with the approval of her father, Zeus. The myth of her abduction represents her function as the personification of vegetation, which shoots forth in spring and withdraws into the earth after harvest; hence, she is also associated with spring as well as the fertility of vegetation. Similar myths appear in the cults of male gods like Attis, Adonis, and Osiris, and in Minoan Crete.

<i>Theogony</i> Poem by Hesiod

The Theogony is a poem by Hesiod describing the origins and genealogies of the Greek gods, composed c. 700 BC. It is written in the Epic dialect of Ancient Greek.

Zeus Greek god of the sky and king of the gods

Zeus is the sky and thunder god in ancient Greek religion, who rules as king of the gods of Mount Olympus. His name is cognate with the first element of his Roman equivalent Jupiter. His mythology and powers are similar, though not identical, to those of Indo-European deities such as Jupiter, Perkūnas, Perun, Indra, Dyaus and Thor.

Hestia Greek goddess

In the Ancient Greek religion, Hestia is the virgin goddess of the hearth, the right ordering of domesticity, the family, the home, and the state. In Greek mythology, she is the firstborn child of the Titans Cronus and Rhea.

Titans Second order of divine beings in Greek mythology

In Greek mythology, the Titans were the pre-Olympian gods. According to the Theogony of Hesiod, they were the twelve children of the primordial parents Uranus (Sky) and his mother, Gaia (Earth), with six male Titans: Oceanus, Coeus, Crius, Hyperion, Iapetus, and Cronus, and six female Titans, called the Titanides : Theia, Rhea, Themis, Mnemosyne, Phoebe, and Tethys. Cronus mated with his older sister Rhea and together they became the parents of the first generation of Olympians: the six siblings Zeus, Hades, Poseidon, Hestia, Demeter, and Hera. Descendants of the Titans are sometimes also called Titans.

Oceanus Ancient Greek god of the earth-encircling river, Oceanos

In Greek mythology, Oceanus was the Titan son of Uranus and Gaia, the husband of his sister the Titan Tethys, and the father of the river gods and the Oceanids, as well as being the great river which encircled the entire world.

Rhea (mythology) Ancient Greek goddess and Titan

Rhea or Rheia is a character in Greek mythology, the Titaness daughter of the earth goddess Gaia and the sky god Uranus, Gaia's son. She is also the older sister of Cronus who was also her consort. In early traditions, she is known as "the mother of gods" and therefore is strongly associated with Gaia and Cybele, who have similar functions. The classical Greeks saw her as the mother of the Olympian gods and goddesses, but not as an Olympian goddess in her own right. The Romans identified her with Magna Mater, and the Goddess Ops.

Eileithyia Ancient Greek goddess of childbirth

Eileithyia or Ilithyiae or Ilithyia was the Greek goddess of childbirth and midwifery. In the cave of Amnisos (Crete) she was related with the annual birth of the divine child, and her cult is connected with Enesidaon, who was the chthonic aspect of the god Poseidon. It is possible that her cult is related with the cult of Eleusis. In his Seventh Nemean Ode, Pindar refers to her as the maid to or seated beside the Moirai (Fates) and responsible for creating offspring.

Twelve Olympians Major deities of the Greek pantheon

In ancient Greek religion and mythology, the twelve Olympians are the major deities of the Greek pantheon, commonly considered to be Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Hephaestus, Aphrodite, Hermes, and either Hestia or Dionysus. They were called Olympians because, according to tradition, they resided on Mount Olympus.

In Greek mythology, the primordial deities are the first gods and goddesses born from the void of Chaos. Hesiod's first are Gaia, Tartarus, Eros, Erebus, Hemera and Nyx. The primordial deities Gaia and Uranus give birth to the Titans, and the Cyclopes. The Titans Cronus and Rhea give birth to Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Hestia, Hera and Demeter who overthrew the Titans. The warring of the gods ends with the reign of Zeus.

In Greek mythology, Despoina was the daughter of Demeter and Poseidon and sister of Arion. She was the goddess of mysteries of Arcadian cults who was worshipped under the title Despoina, alongside her mother Demeter, one of the central figures of the Eleusinian Mysteries. Her real name could not be revealed to anyone except those initiated to her mysteries. Writing during the second century A.D., Pausanias spoke of Demeter as having two daughters; Kore being born first, before Despoina was born, with Zeus being the father of Kore and Poseidon as the father of Despoina. Pausanias made it clear that Kore is Persephone, although he did not reveal Despoina's proper name.

Gaia Greek primordial deity, goddess of Earth

In Greek mythology, Gaia, also spelled Gaea, is the personification of the Earth and one of the Greek primordial deities. Gaia is the ancestral mother of all life. She is the mother of Uranus, from whose sexual union she bore the Titans, the Cyclopes, and the Giants; of Pontus, from whose union she bore the primordial sea gods. Her equivalent in the Roman pantheon was Terra.

Uranus (mythology) Primordial Greek deity, god of the sky

Uranus was the primal Greek god personifying the sky and one of the Greek primordial deities. Uranus is associated with the Roman god Caelus. In Ancient Greek literature, Uranus or Father Sky was the son and husband of Gaia, the primordial Earth Mother. According to Hesiod's Theogony, Uranus was conceived by Gaia alone, but other sources cite Aether as his father. Uranus and Gaia were the parents of the first generation of Titans, and the ancestors of most of the Greek gods, but no cult addressed directly to Uranus survived into Classical times, and Uranus does not appear among the usual themes of Greek painted pottery. Elemental Earth, Sky, and Styx might be joined, however, in solemn invocation in Homeric epic.


In Greek mythology, the Hecatoncheires, or Hundred-Handers, also called the Centimanes,, named Cottus, Briareus and Gyges, were three monstrous giants, of enormous size and strength, with fifty heads and one hundred arms. In the standard tradition they were the offspring of Uranus (Sky) and Gaia (Earth), who helped Zeus and the Olympians overthrow the Titans.

The religious element is difficult to identify in Mycenaean Greece, especially as regards archaeological sites, where it remains very problematic to pick out a place of worship with certainty. John Chadwick points out that at least six centuries lie between the earliest presence of Proto-Greek speakers in Hellas and the earliest inscriptions in the Mycenaean script known as Linear B, during which concepts and practices will have fused with indigenous Pre-Greek beliefs, and—if cultural influences in material culture reflect influences in religious beliefs—with Minoan religion. As for these texts, the few lists of offerings that give names of gods as recipients of goods reveal nothing about religious practices, and there is no surviving literature. John Chadwick rejected a confusion of Minoan and Mycenaean religion derived from archaeological correlations and cautioned against "the attempt to uncover the prehistory of classical Greek religion by conjecturing its origins and guessing the meaning of its myths" above all through treacherous etymologies. Moses I. Finley detected very few authentic Mycenaean reflections in the eighth-century Homeric world, in spite of its "Mycenaean" setting. However, Nilsson asserts, based not on uncertain etymologies but on religious elements and on the representations and general function of the gods, that many Minoan gods and religious conceptions were fused in the Mycenaean religion. From the existing evidence, it appears that the Mycenaean religion was the mother of the Greek religion. The Mycenaean pantheon already included many divinities that can be found in classical Greece.


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  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Burkert 1985, pp. 136–139.
  3. Seneca quaest. Nat. VI 6 :Nilsson Vol I p.450
  4. Nilsson Vol I p.450
  5. Hesiod, Theogony 456.
  6. 1 2 Plato (1971). Timaeus and Critias . London, England: Penguin Books Ltd. pp.  167. ISBN   9780140442618.
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  8. 1 2 Also it has been interpreted that Plato or someone before him in the chain of the oral or written tradition of the report accidentally changed the very similar Greek words for "bigger than" ("meson") and "between" ("mezon") – Luce, J.V. (1969). The End of Atlantis – New Light on an Old Legend. London: Thames and Hudson. p. 224.
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  27. "Wa-na-ssoi, wa-na-ka-te, (to the two queens and the king). Wanax (Greek : Αναξ) is best suited to Poseidon, the special divinity of Pylos. The identity of the two divinities addressed as wanassoi, is uncertain ": George Mylonas (1966) Mycenae and the Mycenean age p. 159 .Princeton University Press
  28. Pausanias VIII 23. 5; Raymond Bloch "Quelques remarques sur Poseidon, Neptunus et Nethuns" in Comptes-rendus des séances de l' Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Letres2 1981 p. 345.
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  31. The river god Acheloos is represented as a bull
  32. Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheke 3.1.4 Archived 4 July 2017 at the Wayback Machine
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  44. Ennosidas (Pindar), Ennosigaios (Homer): Dietrich, p. 185 n. 305.
  45. Strabo, ix. p. 405
  46. Virgil, Aeneid iii. 74, where Servius erroneously derives the name from the Aegean Sea
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  53. Suda, tau, 206
  54. In the 2nd century AD, a well with the name of Arne, the "lamb's well", in the neighbourhood of Mantineia in Arcadia, where old traditions lingered, was shown to Pausanias. (Pausanias, VIII.8.2.)
  55. Tzetzes, ad Lycophron 644.
  56. Diodorus, Bibliotheca Historica (Book V, Ch. 55.
  57. Homer's Iliad (Book XV, ln. 184-93 Archived 11 May 2019 at the Wayback Machine )
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  59. Another version of the myth says that Poseidon gave horses to Athens.[ citation needed ]
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  62. 1 2 Seelig 2002, p. 895-911.
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  65. Diogenes Laertius Plato 1
  66. Ovid, Heroides , 18 (19). 135
  67. Tzetzes on Lycophron, 1206
  68. Pausanias, Description of Greece, 2. 30. 5
  69. Scholia on Homer, Iliad , 2. 499
  70. daughter of Epidamnus
  71. Stephanus of Byzantium s. v. Dyrrhakhion
  72. Hyginus. Fabulae, 157 Archived 29 March 2019 at the Wayback Machine
  73. Pausanias, Description of Greece, 9. 29. 1
  74. Suida, Suda Encyclopedia s.v. Ergiske
  75. Stephanus of Byzantium s. v. Mytilene
  76. Stephanus of Byzantium s. v. Torōnē
  77. Scholia on Pindar. Olympian Ode 10.83 quoted in Hesiod. Catalogue of Women, fr.64
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  79. Tzetzes on Lycophron, 923
  80. Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3.14.2
  81. also said to be the daughter of Ergeus
  82. Tzetzes on Lycophron, 838
  83. eponym of Dicaea, a city in Thrace as cited in Stephanus of Byzantium s. v. Dikaia
  84. Pausanias, Description of Greece, 9. 29. 5
  85. eponym of a river in Thessaly as cited in Scholia on Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica, 1. 596
  86. In Plato, Critias , 114c: Myth of Atlantis, Poseidon consorted with Cleito, daughter of the autochthons Evenor and Leucippe, and had by her ten sons.
  87. Scholia on Statius, Thebaid, 1. 34
  88. 1 2 Pseudo-Plutarch, On Rivers, 21. 1
  89. Bibliotheca 2.88 Archived 8 October 2018 at the Wayback Machine .
  90. Plutarch, Quaestiones Graecae, 19
  91. Stephanus of Byzantium s. v. Kalaureia
  92. Aelian, Various Histories, 1. 24
  93. Pausanias, Description of Greece, 2. 1. 3
  94. Stephanus of Byzantium, s. v. Astakos, with a reference to Arrian
  95. 1 2 Bibliotheca 2. 5. 10
  96. Antoninus Liberalis. Metamorphoses, 22 vs Cerambus Archived 2 October 2018 at the Wayback Machine
  97. eponym of a town or village Geren on Lesbos as cited in Stephanus of Byzantium s. v. Gerēn
  98. Scholia on Theocritus, Idyll 7. 76
  99. Pausanias, Description of Greece, 9. 26. 5
  100. Probus on Virgil's Georgics, 2. 197
  101. Pseudo-Plutarch, On Rivers, 11. 1
  102. Pseudo-Apollodorus. Bibliotheca, Book 1.9.21
  103. Hyginus, Fabulae, 161
  104. Ptolemy Hephaestion, New History, 1 in Photius, 190
  105. This chart is based upon Hesiod's Theogony , unless otherwise noted.
  106. According to Homer, Iliad 1.570–579, 14.338, Odyssey 8.312, Hephaestus was apparently the son of Hera and Zeus, see Gantz, p. 74.
  107. According to Hesiod, Theogony 927–929 Archived 5 May 2016 at the Wayback Machine , Hephaestus was produced by Hera alone, with no father, see Gantz, p. 74.
  108. According to Hesiod, Theogony 886–890 Archived 5 May 2016 at the Wayback Machine , of Zeus' children by his seven wives, Athena was the first to be conceived, but the last to be born; Zeus impregnated Metis then swallowed her, later Zeus himself gave birth to Athena "from his head", see Gantz, pp. 51–52, 83–84.
  109. According to Hesiod, Theogony 183–200 Archived 5 May 2016 at the Wayback Machine , Aphrodite was born from Uranus' severed genitals, see Gantz, pp. 99–100.
  110. According to Homer, Aphrodite was the daughter of Zeus ( Iliad 3.374, 20.105 Archived 2 November 2018 at the Wayback Machine ; Odyssey 8.308 Archived 2 November 2018 at the Wayback Machine , 320) and Dione ( Iliad 5.370–71), see Gantz, pp. 99–100.
  111. The ancient palace-city that was replaced by Vergina
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