The Greek God of the Sea, Earthquakes, Floods, Drought and Horses
In Greek legends and myths the god Poseidon is quite a character. To cover all the various tales and stories he plays a part in would require a book of more than a few pages. Here, we'll try and give you the most important parts of the various myths and legends. So that you appreciate what an important God he is.
Poseidon and his family
Poseidon was the son of Cronus and Rheia. He was the grandson of Ouranos (the Heavens) and Gaia (the Earth). He has brothers who were also Gods and their names are Zeus, Haides, Hera, Demeter and Hestia. He was married to Amphitrite, the marine-goddess. She was the oldest child of Nereus, who was the first born son of Pontos (the Sea). This marriage secured Poseidon's dominion over the sea. Poseidon and Amphitrite has a son who was the fish-tailed god Triton. He also has a number of other children by mortal women. Examples of these are Antaios and the cyclops Polyphemos. As well as magical horses such as Pefasos and Arion and a number of humans such as Theseus and Bellerophontes.
Poseidon and his trident
Images of Poseidon are most often depicted with him carrying a trident. This is a three-pronged fishing spear. He would wear a robe and a cloak but was also to be found wearing nothing much at all, apart from a cloak draped over his arms. On his head he would often wear a simple headband or a wreath made from wild celery. Something else he was often seen carrying was a rock encrusted with various creatures of the sea. For example, a fish, an octopus or a crayfish.
The myths and legends of Poseidon
Legend tells us that Poseidon was eaten by his father but was later set free when his brother Zeus asked for help from the goddess Metis. She fed Cronus a potion that caused him to be sick and bring up all the children he had eaten, including Poseidon.
A war ensued and Cyclopes made a magical trident for Poseidon that he used to defeat the elder gods and imprison them. The valiant brothers then drew lots to divide up the cosmos and Poseidon won the sea as his domain.
Poseidon was also involved in a contest with the goddess Athena for Athens. He produced a horse, the first ever, and gave it to her as a gift. He was refused the prize by the kind and brought drought upon the land in his anger.
He was a bit of a ladies man and seduced many mortal women and nymphs. Often appearing as an animal or flowing water. One of his most famous conquests was Medusa.
There are many more myths and legends that Poseidon has a hand in and we'll see if we can look at some more of them on other pages. Because he really is a very interesting character.