Although Poseidon's dominion was the ocean, he held his personal appointed place among the many nice gods on Olympus.
Far from being a Libyan importation, as Herodotus claims, he was truly a really historic Pelasgian deity, older even than Zeus. His province, later confined to the waters, was in primitive occasions a lot wider.
The etymology which the ancients gave his title, connecting it with 'drink' and 'river', is uncertain. The title Poseidon appears somewhat to derive from the foundation which means 'to be grasp' which is discovered once more within the Latin potens.
It is. not unattainable that this primitive Poseidon, this sovereign 'grasp', had as soon as been a celestial god, as his attribute, the trident -probably a logo for the thunderbolt - appears to point out. Though supplanted by Zeus, Poseidon continued to train his empire over your complete earth, as is proved by these struggles he had with different divinities who contested with him the supremacy of assorted elements of Greece, and additionally by the titles Homer offers him, reminiscent of Enosichthon - 'earth- shaker'. Poseidon was, certainly, the god of earthquakes.
Even when his sphere was extra narrowly confined to the ocean Poseidon retained his character of an awesome god: he remained the equal of the celestial Zeus, the Zeus Elalios (marine), whose energy prolonged over the entire bodily universe. As a personification of the watery factor Poseidon was all the time thought of a god of fecundity and vegetation.
Poseidon Cult and Representations
Poseidon was a nationwide god of the lonians of the Peloponnese, who introduced him with them after they emigrated from Asia, and was notably worshipped on this a part of Greece. At Sparta he was even referred to as Genethlios, the creator. But his cult was unfold all through Greece, particularly in maritime cities. In Corinth, Rhodes and Taenarus he truly succeeded in supplanting the native divinity.
Animals which had been sacred to him had been the horse, image of gushing springs, and the bull, emblem both of his energy to fertilise or of hello s impetuosity. In the course of sure festivals devoted to Poseidon and referred to as Taureia, black bulls had been thrown into the waves.
In the identical approach horse races had been celebrated in honour of Poseidon. This customized originated in Thessaly the place the god, they mentioned, had created the horse with a blow of his trident.
In the artwork of classical antiquity Poseidon very a lot resembles Zeus: he has an identical majesty when he's depicted standing, his chest naked, greedy his trident. But usually his options are much less serene and, along with his thick beard and disorderly hair, reveal a careworn expression.
The Legend of Poseidon
Poseidon was a son of Cronus and Rhea. He shared the destiny of his brothers and sisters, and at beginning was swallowed by his father. He was disgorged with the others when Zeus, on the recommendation of Metis, gave Cronus the draught which made him vomit up his kids. According to one other custom Rhea managed to shelter Poseidon from his father's voracity by giving Cronus a younger foal to swallow, in the meantime hiding her son within the midst of a flock of lambs close to Mantinea. Poseidon was then confided to a nurse named Arne and grew up with out his father's information. It was additionally mentioned that Rhea gave Poseidon to Capheira, a daughter of Oceanus who, with assistance from the Telchines, introduced him up in Rhodes.
When Zeus fought the Titans and the Giants, Poseidon fought at his aspect and killed the large Polybutes by hurling at him a fraction of cliff torn from the island of Cos, which later grew to become the islet of Nisyearos. After their frequent victory the paternal heritage was, as we bear in mind, divided into three elements: Zeus took the huge heavens, Hades the murky underworld, and Poseidon obtained the immense sea.
Although he was the equal of Zeus by beginning and dignity Poseidon was however topic to his brother's sovereign energy. The sea-god complained and grumbled at occasions. Once he went as far as to conspire with Hera and Athene to dethrone Zeus. Zeus was the stronger and Poseidon was pressured to pay for his tried revolt by spending a year within the service of the haughty Laomedon, for whom he constructed the partitions of Troy.
Poseidon's empire, nevertheless, was not unworthy of his ambitions.
He was grasp not solely of the ocean however of the lakes and rivers. In a way even the earth belonged to him, because it was sustained by his waters and he may shake it at will. Indeed, through the conflict with the Giants he break up mountains along with his trident and rolled them into the ocean to make the primary islands. And it was he who, within the days when Thessaly was merely an enormous lake, had cleared the highway for the River Peneius by splitting the mass of Mount Ossa in two.
Poseidon's thirst for possession was so eager that he usually discovered himself in battle with the opposite gods.
We have already talked about the dispute he had with Athene for the possession of Attica, a dispute which ended to Athene's benefit. Out of spite Poseidon flooded Attica. Nor may he win Troezen from the identical goddess; Zeus awarded it to them in frequent.
Poseidon was no extra lucky with Hera, with whom he contested the dominion of Argolis. The choice was submitted to the judgment of the river-god Inachus, assisted by the rivers Asterion and Cephissus. It was unfavourable to Poseidon, who avenged himself by drying up the three rivers and with them Argolis.
There was additionally a contest between Poseidon and Helios over the isthmus of Corinth. Briareus, chosen to arbitrate, awarded the Corinthian Acropolis to Helios and left the remainder of the isthmus to Poseidon. This was the origin of the cult through which Poseidon was honoured within the isthmus of Corinth; throughout his festivals the celebrated Isthmian Games had been held.
Finally Poseidon unsuccessfully disputed Aegina with Zeus, and Naxos with Dionysus. He had to cede the territory of Delphi, which till then he had held in frequent with Gaea, to Apollo, receiving in alternate the island of Calauria.
On the opposite hand nobody ever disputed Poseidon's rule over the ocean. He established his abode within the depths of the Aegean Sea the place 'there had been constructed for him an impressive palace, glittering with gold, which might endure for ever'. When he left the palace he would harness to his chariot swift steeds with golden manes and shod with bronze. Clad in golden armour he would seize a cunningly wrought whip in his hand and hurl his chariot across the watery plain. Around him would frolic sea monsters, come up from the abysmal depths to render homage to their sovereign. The joyful sea would open earlier than him as his chariot flew frivolously across waves which didn't even a lot as moist the bronze axle. More usually, nevertheless, the looks of Poseidon was accompanied by wild tempests, a manifestation of the god's livid rage.
Poseidon's spouse was Amphitrite who was in origin the female personification of the ocean. She was a daughter of Oceanus or of Nereus. Poseidon picked her out at some point when she was dancing together with her sisters on the isle of Naxos. When he requested for her hand in marriage Amphitrite at first refused and fled to Atlas. Poseidon despatched a dolphin to search for her. The dolphin found the place she had taken refuge and introduced her again to his grasp; as a reward Poseidon placed him among the many constellations.
From then on Amphitrite shared Poseidon's kingdom. We see her at her husband's aspect on the divine chariot drawn by tritons blowing conch-shells. In her hand she generally holds the trident, insignia of Poseidon's sovereignty.
From the union of Poseidon and Amphitrite had been born a son. Triton, and two daughters: Rhode, who gave her title to the island of Rhodes and was the mom of the Heliades; and Benthesicyme, who settled in Ethiopia.
Amphitrite was an accommodating spouse and patiently put up together with her husband's frequent infidelity. Only as soon as did she present jealousy: this was with regard to Scylla, who was initially a nymph of uncommon magnificence. Enraged by the love Poseidon confirmed her, Amphitrite threw magic herbs within the pool the place Scylla used to bathe, and the nymph was turned into a frightful monster. Her metamorphosis is typically attributed to Circe.
The Loves of Poseidon
Of Poseidon's innumerable mistresses we will point out solely the principal ones. Among the goddesses there was Gaea, whom he made mom of the fearful large Antaeus. There was Demeter, who modified herself right into a mare so as to escape him. But Poseidon took the type of a stallion and from their union was born - other than a daughter whose title stays mysterious (maybe it was Despoena) - the wild horse, Arion, whose proper ft had been these of a person and who was endowed with the ability of speech.
It was additionally within the form of a horse - although others say a chicken - that Poseidon succeeded in seducing Medusa, within the very temple of Athene. Infuriated by this profanation, Athene turned Medusa's hair into snakes. When Perseus decapitated Medusa, the blood which escaped from the wound gave beginning to Chrysaor and the horse Pegasus.
By Alcyone, one of many Pleiades, Poseidon had a daughter, Aethusa, who was beloved by Apollo, and two sons: Hyperenor and Hyearieus. The latter reigned in Boeotia and by the blessing of the gods grew to become father of the large Orion, of whom we will converse later.
By the harpy Celaeno, Poseidon had two sons: Lycus, who reigned over the Fortunate Isles, and Eurypylus, who distinguished himself on the siege of Troy and took half within the expedition of the Argonauts.
Another Eurypylus, who reigned over the isle of Cos and was killed by Hercules, and the Argonaut Ancaeus had been born to Poseidon and Astypalaea, sister of Europa.
Chione, daughter of Boreas, was seduced by Poseidon and had a son, Eumolpus. To conceal her disgrace she threw the kid into the ocean; however Poseidon saved it and carried it to Ethiopia the place he confided it to his daughter Benthesicyme, who later grew to become Eumolpus' mom-in-legislation.
Aethra was the daughter of Pittheus, King of Troezen. Athene ordered her in a dream to go to the isle of Sphaeria and there on the tomb of Sphaerus to supply a sacrifice. Aethra was stunned within the temple by Poseidon and ravished. She afterwards married Aegeus and grew to become the mom of Theseus.
Because of her nice magnificence Theophane, daughter of Bisaltes, was besieged by suitors. To defend her from their attentions Poseidon, who beloved her himself, carried her to the isle of Crinissa (Crumissa). The suitors adopted her. Poseidon then turned her right into a ewe, the inhabitants of the island into sheep, and himself right into a ram. Theophane gave beginning to the well-known ram with the golden fleece.
Alope, daughter of Cercyon, had a son by Poseidon. She uncovered him, after having coated him with a wealthy gown. The toddler was suckled by a mare and discovered by herdsmen who carried him to Cercyon. Cercyon without delay recognised the wealthy gown and found his daughter's shame. He condemned her to perpetual imprisonment and as soon as extra uncovered the toddler. But the trustworthy mare once more got here to suckle him. For this purpose he was named Hippothous. Later, when Cercyon was slain by Theseus, Hippothous mounted the throne of his grandfather.
For having plundered a grove sacred to Demeter, Erysichthon, King of Thessaly, was with insatiable starvation. To appease it he was obliged to promote all the things he possessed. At the top of his assets he lastly put his personal daughter Mestra up on the market. Now Poseidon beloved Mestra and granted her the present of metamorphosis, so that every time she was ready to escape her purchasers. This stratagem allowed Erysichthon to promote his daughter over and over once more, till eventually the ruse was found and he had no different however to devour himself.
During the drought in Argolis which was the results of Poseidon's fury with Inachus, Danaus despatched his daughters in quest of water. One of them, Amymone, carelessly wounded a sleeping satyear who then leapt at her. Others say that Amymone was stunned by the satyear whereas she herself was asleep. In both case Poseidon arrived, put the satyear to flight and rescued Amymone, whose favours he then loved. In gratitude the god struck a rock along with his trident and the springs of Lerna gushed forth. By this union Amymone had a son, Nauplius, who later based Nauplia and was swallowed by the waves for having blasphemed the gods. The origin of the fountain of Pirene, close to Corinth, was additionally linked with a legend of Poseidon. By the nymph Pirene, daughter of Achelous or Asopus, the god had two sons who perished miserably. Pirene was inconsolable and couldn't cease weeping; it was her tears which gave beginning to the celebrated fountain.
The nymph Tyearo, daughter of Salmoneus and Acidice, had conceived a ardour for the river Enipeus. Poseidon, who beloved her, despaired of shifting her coronary heart. One day when Tyearo was strolling alongside the banks of the Enipeus Poseidon assumed the looks of the river-god and approached her. The nymph was deceived by this disguise and yielded. She bore two sons, Pelias and Neleus, whom she uncovered. They had been discovered by shepherds and introduced up
amongst herds of horses. Meanwhile Tyearo had married Cretheus, King of lolcus, and was ailing-handled by Sidero, her mom-in-legislation. When Pelias and Neleus returned to their mom they killed the depraved Sidero.
The Posterity of Poseidon
Among Poseidon's quite a few offspring we will restrict ourselves to mentioning just a few names:
Euphemus, son of Europa, who acquired from his father the ability of strolling on the waters and who was the second pilot through the expedition of the Argonauts.
Halirrhothius, son of the nymph Euryte, who was put to loss of life by Ares for having ravished his daughter Alcippe. This homicide gave rise to a quarrel between Ares and Poseidon, to settle which the tribunal of the Areopagus was instituted at Athens.
Evadne, daughter of Pitane, who at her beginning was confided to Aepytus, King of Phoesane in Arcadia, and who afterwards bore a son to Apollo, lamus.
The Molionids, twin sons of Molione, who had been born of a silver egg and who so resembled one another that later custom mentioned that they had however a single physique with two heads, 4 arms and 4 legs. It was they who commanded the troops of Augias in opposition to Hercules who, furthermore, killed them. Cycnus, son of Calyce or Harpale, who was uncovered on the seashore at beginning and taken in by fishermen. Later, he grew to become king of Colonae within the Troad, and by his first spouse, Procleia, had two kids, Tenes and Hemithea. His second spouse, Phylonome, conceived a ardour for her stepson Tenes however, unable to seduce him, slandered him to his father. Cycnus had Tenes and his sister Hemithea locked up in a chest and set them adrift on the ocean. But the 2 younger people had been saved by Poseidon, and Tenes, touchdown at Tenedos, grew to become its king. When Cycnus realized the reality he killed Phylonome and went to be a part of his son. Both fought within the Trojan ranks in opposition to the Greeks and perished by the hand of Achilles. Since Cycnus was invulnerable, Achilles strangled him with the strap which secured his helmet; however when he tried to despoil him of his arms the physique of Cycnus turned into a swan.
Finally we point out a sure variety of monstrous and malignant beings who had been additionally amongst Poseidon's progeny.
Amycus, born of the nymph Melia, reigned in Bithynia. He was of prodigious power and challenged all strangers who approached his kingdom to a deadly boxing match. When the Argonauts arrived in Bithynia he without delay defied them, however Pollux accepted the challenge and killed him.
The Aloadae had been kids of Poseidon by Iphimedeia, spouse of Aloeus. They had been twin brothers, Ephialtes and Otus, who every year grew so quick that on the age of 9 they had been practically twenty yards excessive. We have seen how they tried to scale Olympus, stored Ares captive for 13 months and lastly perished both beneath Apollo's blows or by means of a stratagem of Artemis'. They had been thrown into Tartarus for his or her crimes and there sure, again to again, to a column by the use of a sequence manufactured from interlaced serpents. To them had been attributed the muse of Ascra and the establishment of the cult of the Muses on Mount Helicon.
Cercyon, son of a daughter of Amphictyon, lived in Eleusis. He pressured all travellers to wrestle with him and he killed the vanquished. Only Theseus succeeded in beating him, and put him to loss of life. Cercyon was the daddy of Alope, who was herself beloved by Poseidon.
Another son of Poseidon's was additionally killed by Theseus. This was the brigand Sinis, who lived within the Isthmus of Corinth. He submitted all passers-by to an odious torture: he tied them to the tops of two pine-bushes which he had bent down. When the bushes had been launched the victims had been torn asunder. Theseus made him undergo the identical torture.
No much less merciless was the King of Egypt, Busiris, son of Poseidon and Anippe. When drought devastated his kingdom Busiris consulted a soothsayer of Cyprus, who declared that the scourge would stop provided that every year he immolated a stranger. Busiris started by immolating the soothsayer and continued this bloody observe till the day when Hercules arrived in Egypt and was chosen as a sufferer. They had been about to minimize his throat when Hercules burst from the chains which sure him and killed Busiris and his attendants. From that day human sacrifice was now not practised in Egypt.
To this checklist of monsters could also be added the Cyclops Polyphemus, son of Poseidon and the nymph Thoosa. In this monstrous progeny attributed to Poseidon could maybe be seen a survival of the impression of terror felt by primitive males on the rages of the stormy sea. Similarly it was mentioned that Poseidon usually summoned up fearful monsters in opposition to his enemies. He despatched sucha monster to ravage the Troad to revenge himself on Laomedon; one other, on the prayers of the Nereids, desolated Ethiopia so as to punish the delight of Cassiopeia, mom of Andromeda. He despatched a wild bull to devastate the plain of Marathon and a dragon which brought on the loss of life of the son of Theseus, Hippolytus.