A description of the mythical god Poseidon, and his place in Greek mythology and stories.
Poseidon is most commonly known as the god of the sea in ancient Greek mythology. He is however, also associated with Earthquakes, and is known as the creator of horses.
Poseidon was one of the original six Olympians that ruled the world, and is brother of Zeus, and Hades. His image is most commonly associated with Tridents, horses, and 3 pronged fish spears. His Trident was given to him by the Cyclopes, just as Zeus got a Lightning bolt and Hades got a helmet. The trident gave Poseidon the power to command the waves, cause storms, shake the earth, sink boats, or cause springs to flow
Poseidon is similar to Zeus in exerting his power and masculinity on women, and he had many illicit children. Some of Poseidon’s children include Triton, who was half human, half fish, Pegasus, and Theseus, who was actually the son of Poseidon, but also enjoyed the lineage of his stepfather, Aegeus, when it suited him. All of these children were either conceived with his wife, Amphitrite, or by the rape of various other mythological characters. Poseidon once raped his sister Demeter, even though she turned herself into a mare to escape him, Poseidon countered this by turning himself into a Stallion, and this procreation resulted in their offspring being the horse Arion.
Poseidon was a very vengeful and moody deity. When he was angry he would strike the ground with his trident and cause earthquakes, rough seas, shipwrecks and drownings. Calm seas were manifested when he was in a good mood; so many sailors sacrificed horses by drowning them to please Poseidon. Poseidon was a very wrathful god in Greek mythology; he would greatly punish those who displeased him. These punishments would be as harsh as Zeus would permit, Zeus being the only other being that Poseidon would answer to. One such event occurred when Odysseus blinded one of Poseidon’s sons, Polythemos the Cyclops. After Odysseus blinded the Cyclops, he yelled insults back at him, and taunted him. Poseidon’s wrath was such that he did not kill Odysseus, but kept him away from home and in constant misery for years.
Another Example of Poseidon’s harsh punishments for those who displeased him is seen with the king of Minos. The King asked Poseidon to send him a bull from the sea, to prove his divine rite to rule Crete. King Minos Promised he would sacrifice the bull to Poseidon, but when the time came, he neglected to do this because he liked the bull too much. As punishment for this betrayal, Poseidon asked Aphrodite, goddess of love to make King Minos’ wife fall in love with the bull. The result was the monstrous Minotaur which had to be kept in the Labyrinth at Crete.
One story of Poseidon involves the competition between him and Athena for the worship of the people of Athens. Poseidon and Athena would both devise gifts to give to the Athenians and the mortals would choose which god to worship. In one version Poseidon threw a spear at the ground to produce a spring at the acropolis, and in another he gave the Athenians the horse. In both versions, however, Athena won by giving them an olive tree, hence the name Athens. So in Poseidon’s wrath at his loss, he flooded the land with seawater, and did not cause the flood to retreat until his anger died down.
Though Poseidon could use his powers to wreak havoc among mortals, he could also be helpful if he was well disposed towards a cause, for example it was him who turned the tide of the Trojan war, and Helped the Greeks to win, by rousing their moral, and giving them courage. Poseidon is a very important and essential character in Greek Mythology.