Poseidon, God of the Sea
The Olympic god of the sea, earthquakes, floods, drought and horses.
A jealous and powerful god
Being the ruler of the Mediterranean Sea, he is described as gathering clouds and calling forth storms, but at the same he has it in his power to grant a successful voyage and save those who are in danger, and all other marine divinities are subject to him. As the sea surrounds and holds the earth, he himself is described as the god who holds the earth, and who has it in his power to shake the ground itself. From this attribute, he is known as “the earthshaker.”
Poseidon was married to Amphitrite, by whom he had three children: Triton, Rhode, and Benthesicyme.
Notable conquests included Medusa, Demeter, and Europe. He had at least 100 known consorts, untold numbers of victims of his assault, and hundreds of children, including Aeolus, god of the winds, storms and king of Aiolus.
A mighty trident
During the war with the Titans, he received his famed Trident, a weapon of great power made by the Cyclopes as a token in exchange for helping them escape from Tartarus. With their new weapons and help from enemies of Cronus, the founding Olympian gods were able to defeat and imprison the titans. After the victory, when the division of cosmos had to be decided between the three brothers, Zeus, Hades and Poseidon. They drew lots and he received dominion over the realm of Sea. He also became second in command of all Olympus. Hades was excluded from Olympus completely and banished to the Underworld. When the sunset of the Age drew near, Poseidon split the pieces of his mighty trident into three shards and tethered three water guardians to protect the pieces for all eternity. His sons, Triton and Aeolus also wielded lesser-version copies of Poseidon’s trident.
The Court of Poseidon
The division of the world between the three brothers allotted Poseidon dominions over the seas, coasts, islands and all the watery territories. Every mortal king of such lands were expected to defer to him and those who did not learned the terrible consequences.
Poseidon’s court was co-ruled by his queen, Amphitrite, although her husband did not afford her much in the way of actual power. Her most powerful position was as the mother of his only true-born son: Triton. Poseidon’s true-born daughter was Rhode, but she was essentially relegated to the role of sea-nymph and arranged into an advantageous marriage with Helios, god of the sun, whom was long-scorned by being left out of the Zeus’ division of the world.
Triton, on the other hand, was Poseidon’s only heir from among his hundreds of other children, and a powerful channeler fully loyal to his father. Triton was sent to troublesome portions of the sea to rule closely as a king of the sea on behalf of his father. He was also the mastermind of Poseidon’s sea-monsters, leviathans, kraken, sirens and demons known as tritones.
Other Court Members
- The Nereids; sea nymphs, each representing different parts of the sea, such as salt water, fresh water, seafoam, and so on. These sisters formed a great part of the court of Poseidon. Queen Amphitrite was one of them and Thetis, the mother of the famous Greek hero Achilles, was another.
- Delphin; a daemon in the service of the god Poseidon who could take the shape of a dolphin. It was he who tracked down and convinced Amphitrite to accept Poseidon’s offer of marriage. Poseidon created the constellation, Delphinus, to honor him timelessly in the stars.
- Proteus; the prophetic old man of the sea and shepherd of the sea’s flocks (e.g., seals). He was subject to the sea god Poseidon, and his dwelling place was either the island of Pharos, near the mouth of the Nile River, or the island of Carpathus, between Crete and Rhodes
- Nerites; the only brother of the Nereids, a lover of Poseidon, and one of his charioteers. Reputedly, Nerites was so fast, Helios was jealous and coveted him.
- Nereus; the god of the sea’s rich bounty of fish. He dwelt in the depths of the Aegean Sea with his wife Doris and fifty Nereid daughters. Like many of the other sea-gods Nereus was a master shapeshifter, and spoke with prophetic voice.
- Doris; the Oceanid-nymph wife of the sea-god Nereus and the mother of the fifty Nereides. She was the goddess of the rich fishing-grounds found at the mouths of rivers where fresh water mingled with the brine.
- Kymopoleia; a sea-nymph daughter of the god Poseidon and the wife of the hundred-handed, storm-giant Briareos. She was probably a goddess of the violent storm waves generated by her husband.
- The Telchines; four mysterious sea-god magicians and smiths native to the islands of Ceos and Rhodes. They invented the art of metal-working and were said to have crafted the sickle used by Kronos used to castrate his father Ouranos as well as the magical trident for Poseidon which the god used to lever mountains into the sea to create the island of the Aegean. Their malignant use of magic later angered Zeus, who cast them beneath the sea.
The Wrath of Poseidon
His voice like a shock wave, the god of the earthquake spurred the fighters on.Homer’s Illiad
During his reign, many vengeful acts of Poseidon were recorded. He chased Odysseus for 8 years simply for slightly injuring his son.
He punished the Phoenicans for a slight against him by turning all their ships to stone.
When the walls of Troy were built, and the king of Troy refused payment to Poseidon, he flooded the countryside and sent an enormous sea-monster to ravage the lands of Troy. The princess of Troy had to be sacrificed to Poseidon to sate his wrath and call off the sea-monster.
There was a contest for the patronage of Athens between Athena and Poseidon. In order to win city’s devotion, each had to produce a useful gift for its population. Poseidon was first to act and struck his trident hard in the earth, creating a well with streaming water. However, the water turned out to be salty and not useful for the people. Athena was next and created the olive tree, by planting an olive branch into the hole that she made with a spear. Delighted with olives, oil and useful wood, people of Athens chose Athena over Poseidon. Losing angered the god who then, in his vengeful act, flooded the city and lands nearby with salt water, destroying all of Athena’s crops.
A king of Crete did not sacrifice the right bull to Poseidon, who was angered and compelled the king’s wife to fall in love with the bull instead and mate with it, producing the dreaded Minotaur as their offspring in punishment.
The king of Athens killed one of Poseidon’s sons in the battle of Athens. Poseidon then demanded that one of his daughters should be sacrificed to him but because the daughters of Erechtheus had an agreement with each other that if one dies, the rest would commit suicide, the king of Athens lost all of his daughters. Poseidon also demanded Zeus to strike Eechtheus with a thunderbolt, which ended the king’s life and bloodline.
When Zeus bid Aeolus to raise the winds and swarm the fleet of Aeneas, his storms disturbed the underwater kingdom of Poseidon’s court, who in great wrath and irritation arose from the sea to confronted Aeolus. When he learned the winds were called at the orders of Zeus, he screamed into the cosmos in defiance of his brother and used his great power to calm the storm, and therefore, the sea.
A shattering cry, and Poseidon surged across the plain, thundering loud as nine, ten thousand combat soldiers shriek with Ares’ fury when massive armies clash – so huge that voice the god of the earthquake let loose from his lungs, planting enormous martial power in each Achaean’s heart to urge the battle on, to fight and never flinch.Homer
An angry Poseidon bemoaned to Zeus his wrath and offense that the Achaeans built a stormwall around their island without his permission and without sacrificing the requisite 100 bulls to him. In truth, he was offended that the mighty wall of Troy would outlast his own. Tired of listening to his complaints, Zeus gave Poseidon free rein to destroy the ships of the Achaeans when they sail back to Greece.
Come now, just wait till these long-haired Achaeans sail back in their ships to the fatherland they love, then batter their wall, sweep it into the salt breakers and pile over the endless beach your drifts of sand again, level it to your heart’s content – the Argives’ mighty wall.Zeus to Poseidon, Homer’s Illiad
Poseidon often clashed with Zeus. The most famous of these conflicts centered around the Trojan War, where Zeus favored the side of the Trojans and Poseidon those of the Acheans; however, they were known to change their favors throughout the war. Iris, the Olympic messenger goddess, was often an envoy of messages between the warring brothers, but despite the great danger, she was always capable of placating Poseidon’s ego, and never fell out of favor with him.
Like the snow or freezing hail that pelts from clouds when the North Wind born in the clear heaven blasts it on – so in an eager rush of speed the Wind-swift Iris flew.
“So I will never live at the beck and call of Zeus! No, at his royal ease, and powerful as he is, let him rest content with his third of the world.”Poseidon to Iris when Zeus sent her to implore Poseidon to stay out of the war
Loyalty to blood above all
Although famous for his wrath and hatred, not all accounts of the God of the Sea are about revenge. Poseidon could also be very passionate and understanding to those who he favored and therefore gave good words or intervened himself on their behalf. One such accounts is when Ares and Aphrodite were trapped in the bed of Hephaestus. After all the gods have been summoned to see their adultery and having a laugh at them for it, it was Poseidon who convinced Hephaestus to release Ares in spite of what had been done.
He was also close to his family and offered his many sons and grandsons splendid gifts. Poseidon was known to have had hundreds of lovers, both male and female, and so long as they did not betray him, he lavished upon them. He was also known to grant the wish of sex-change in those seeking to switch genders.
Poseidon was second in command of all Olympus, deferring only to his brother, Zeus in rule and power. Therefore, he was incredibly powerful a channeler, and his many abilities are featured in myths to this day.
- Ruler of the court of the sea – all of the gods, goddesses, kings and mortals associated with the sea, islands, coasts would have deferred to his rule and law
- Power over water, currents, storms and winds: aided by his powerful trident
- Ability to create catastrophic earthquakes and floods
- Illusion to change his form, often to trick and seduce
- Change the sex of a person from one gender to another
- Compulsion upon others, often to sate his revenge or seduce others
- Warrior – along with his brothers, Zeus and Hades, he overthrew the ruling Titans that preceded them
An example of his power over earthquakes was described by Hades. As Zeus allows the gods to return to the battlefield and help whatever side they support, god of the earthquake Poseidon caused quite a catastrophe. He rocks the earth so fiercely that Hades was fearful that he would split the earth and bare his houses of the dead to humans and gods.
And terror-struck in the underworld, Hades lord of the dead cringed and sprang from his throne and screamed shrill, fearing the god who rocks the ground above his realm, giant Poseidon, would burst the earth wide open now and lay bare to mortal men and immortal gods at last the houses of the dead – the dank, moldering horrors that fill the deathless gods themselves with loathing. So immense the clash as the war of gods erupted.Poseidon