Saturday April 13, 2024

INTUSK MAGAZINE

TO THE CORE OF YOUR HEART

Poseidon - The Greek God of Sea

February 2, 2023

Poseidon, the god of the sea, storms, earthquakes, and horses, was one of the Twelve Olympians in ancient Greek mythology. Poseidon served as the guardian of many Greek cities and colonies, as well as seafarers. After his father Cronus was defeated, the world is said to have been 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. According to Homer and Hesiod, Poseidon then rose to power as lord of the sea. 

Along with his brothers and sisters, Hestia, Demeter, Hades, Hera, and Zeus, Poseidon was born of the union between Rhea and Cronus, Titans who ruled the universe before the rise of the Olympian pantheon. When he discovered that one of his children was destined to overthrow him, Cronus swallowed Poseidon and his other children. 

The origins of the name "Poseidon" were two separate words. First among them was the Greek word "posis," which itself came from the Proto-Indo-European root pótis. Both terms had the same meaning—husband, lord, or master. The second of Poseidon's linguistic origins is somewhat obscure. The more widely accepted explanation claimed that it derives from the root da-, which means "earth" or "land," making "Poseidon" mean "lord of the earth" or even "husband of the earth." 

Poseidon married Amphitrite, one of the Nereids (the daughters of Nereus and Doris) and a figure long associated with the sea, when he was fully mature (and saltwater in particular). They had three children together: Triton, the sea messenger god, Benthesikyme, and Rhodos, the patron goddess of Rhodes and future wife of Helios. Poseidon was praised for his numerous infidelities and violent sexual conquests. Among his numerous illegitimate offspring were some of Greek mythology's most legendary figures.

With his mother, Gaia, he sired the giant Antaeus, who did battle with Hercules during the Twelve Labors, and Charybdis, a sea monster that lurked in the straits of Messina and formed massive, relentless whirlpools to suck in unexpecting travellers. He also reproduced with Aphrodite and his sister, Demeter. He sired two children with the latter, including a small speaking horse named Areion. 

Poseidon also raped the Gorgon Medusa in the temple of Athena. This union was ultimately responsible for the birth of Pegasus. 

According to Homer's Illiad, Poseidon's rage over the Laodemon affair had a huge influence on the outcome of the Trojan War. When war broke out, Poseidon threw his considerable power behind the Achaeans, the Greek alliance that sallied forth to crush Troy. 

  The Return of Neptune (1754) by John Singleton Copley
The Return of Neptune (1754) by John Singleton Copley
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April 13, 2024