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Greek Mythology

Poseidon

Greek god Poseidon holding trident
Poseidon by Unknown

History >> Ancient Greece >> Greek Mythology

God of: The sea, earthquakes, and horses
Symbols: Trident, dolphin, horse, bull, and fish
Parents: Cronus and Rhea
Children: Orion, Triton, Theseus, and Polyphemus
Spouse: Amphitrite
Abode: Mount Olympus and the ocean
Roman name: Neptune

Poseidon is a god in Greek mythology and one of the Twelve Olympians. He is one of the three most powerful Greek gods (along with Zeus and Hades) and rules over the ocean and all bodies of water. He was especially important to Greek sailors and fisherman.

How was Poseidon usually pictured?

Poseidon is pictured with a three pronged spear called a trident. He usually has curly hair and a beard. Sometimes he is shown riding his chariot which is pulled by hippocampuses (horses that have fish tails).

What powers and skills did he have?

Poseidon had complete power and control over the ocean. He could create storms to sink ships or clear weather to help them along. He also could cause earthquakes on land which earned him the title "earth-shaker."

Birth of Poseidon

Poseidon was the son of Cronus and Rhea, the king and queen of the Titans. After being born, Poseidon was swallowed by his father Cronus because of a prophesy that said Cronus' children would someday overthrow him. Poseidon was eventually saved by his younger brother Zeus.

Defeating the Titans

Poseidon and his brothers, Zeus and Hades, went to battle with the Titans. They overthrew the Titans and took control of the world. They divided up the world by drawing lots. Poseidon drew the ocean and took control of the Sea (Zeus drew the sky and Hades the Underworld).

Creating the Horse

One of Poseidon's most famous deeds is the creation of the horse. There are two stories that tell how he did this. The first says that he fell in love with the goddess Demeter. In order to impress her he decided to create the world's most beautiful animal. He worked for some time and eventually produced the horse. However, it took him so long to make the horse that he was no longer in love in Demeter. The other story tells how he made the horse to win the city of Athens from Athena.

Rivalry with Athena

Both Poseidon and Athena wanted to be the patron god of the Greek city-state of Athens. As part of a contest, they each presented a gift to the leaders of Athens. Athena created the olive tree which would produce wood, olives, and olive oil. Poseidon presented the horse, a valuable animal that could help in work, battle, and transportation (note that in some stories he presents a well of sea water instead of the horse).

Athena won the contest and became the patron goddess of Athens. From that time forward, Poseidon and Athena were rivals. This plays out in the story of the Odyssey where Poseidon tries to thwart Odysseus while Athena tries to help him on his journey.

Interesting Children

Poseidon had a number of interesting children with both human women and goddesses. Some of his children were monsters like the sea creature Charybdis and the Cyclops Polyphemus (both of who tried to kill Odysseus). Others were not so scary like the Greek hero Theseus, the famous hunter Orion, and the winged horse Pegasus.

Interesting Facts About the Greek God Poseidon Take a ten question quiz about this page.

For more about Ancient Greece:

Overview
Timeline of Ancient Greece
Geography
The City of Athens
Sparta
Minoans and Mycenaeans
Greek City-states
Peloponnesian War
Persian Wars
Decline and Fall
Legacy of Ancient Greece
Glossary and Terms

Arts and Culture
Ancient Greek Art
Drama and Theater
Architecture
Olympic Games
Government of Ancient Greece
Greek Alphabet

Daily Life
Daily Lives of the Ancient Greeks
Typical Greek Town
Food
Clothing
Women in Greece
Science and Technology
Soldiers and War
Slaves

People
Alexander the Great
Archimedes
Aristotle
Pericles
Plato
Socrates
25 Famous Greek People
Greek Philosophers

Greek Mythology
Greek Gods and Mythology
Hercules
Achilles
Monsters of Greek Mythology
The Titans
The Iliad
The Odyssey

The Olympian Gods
Zeus
Hera
Poseidon
Apollo
Artemis
Hermes
Athena
Ares
Aphrodite
Hephaestus
Demeter
Hestia
Dionysus
Hades

Works Cited

History >> Ancient Greece >> Greek Mythology






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