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Poseidon

Ποσειδαων

Lord of the Sea

Poseidon

The Son of Kronos and Rheia
Poseidon and Atlantis
Poseidon and Rhodes
Poseidon and Demeter
Poseidon and King Minos
Poseidon and the Trojan War
Poseidon and Aias
Poseidon and Odysseus
The Children of Poseidon
Homer and Hesiod
Encounters with Poseidon
Surnames of Poseidon
Text References

The Son of Kronos and Rheia

Poseidon is the son of the Titans, Kronos (Cronos) and Rheia (Rhea). He is the brother of Zeus, Hades, Histia (Hestia), Demeter and Hera.

Kronos was a Titan and perhaps the worst of them all. The father of the Titans, Ouranos [Heavens] devised the name Titan to mean Strainer because he saw his offspring straining the limits of propriety and destined for an ignoble fate. Kronos was told by Gaia [Earth] that one of his children would depose him … to prevent that from happening, Kronos swallowed each of his children as they were born and foolishly thought that he had escaped his fate. Poseidon was swallowed with the other four children of Rheia and Kronos but when the sixth child was born Rheia had had enough of Kronos's indulgences. Rheia substituted a stone for the newborn infant and Kronos swallowed it down without hesitation. The newest child became known as Zeus and was secretly reared on the island of Crete. When Zeus became old and powerful enough, he attacked Kronos and the swallowed children were vomited up … Poseidon was thus born again.

The children of Rheia and Kronos were destined to rule heaven and earth but it was not a simple matter to dethrone Kronos and assume control. The brothers and sisters of Kronos came to his assistance and the battles that ensued came to known as the War of the Titans.

An interesting story was told about two otherwise unknown Titans who refused to fight with their brethren against the children of Rheia and Kronos … their names were Xanthos (Xanthus) and Balios. Xanthos fought beside Poseidon and Balios fought beside Zeus. They were afraid that the other Titans would try to punish them for not fighting with the Titans so they asked to be transformed into horses … after the transformation, Xanthos and Balios were given to King Peleus who in turn gave then to his son Achilles so they could participate in the Trojan War.

When the dust cleared and the War of the Titans was over, the Titans were banished to the Underworld … Poseidon and his brothers and sisters took up residence on Mount Olympos (Olympus) and became known as The Olympians. Zeus was given the title, Father of Gods and Men … all Immortals answered to him or suffered his wrath.

Although Zeus was the ultimate authority, it was necessary to share his power with his brothers. Poseidon, Hades and Zeus drew lots for the division of all creation. Zeus won the sky, Hades drew the lot for the mists and darkness of the Underworld and Poseidon won dominion of the sea which made him the undisputed lord of the vast sea which he has populated with creatures of his own design. Poseidon's mission is to give voice to the earth and for that reason he is commonly called the Earth-Shaker … he pounds and shakes the earth and sea with his wrath and pleasure and answers to no one … except Zeus.

Poseidon rides the waves in his chariot and carries his distinctive trident which he uses to smite the earth and sea. The Telchines are the nine dog-headed sea monsters who, as great artisans, crafted the trident of Poseidon as well as the sickle of Zeus.

Although Poseidon is intimately linked to the sea, his most honored creation is the horse. The horse came into existence when Poseidon was vying with the goddess Athene (Athena) for the adoration of the human race. A competition was proposed to see which of the two Immortals could devise the most cunning gift for the mortals of the earth. Poseidon crafted the horse and Athene brought forth an olive tree. The olive tree was such a wonderful creation that Athene won the competition and Athens was named her. The olive was used as food, oil and the wood from the larger trees was used for building ships. Poseidon's gift of the horse was by no means unappreciated … the horse literally changed the shape of the ancient Greek world.

Poseidon and Amymone

A mosaic found at Chania, Crete, of Poseidon and Amymone.

Poseidon and Atlantis

There is a story about Poseidon and the lost continent of Atlantis that deserves our consideration. This story is not from one of the early Greek authors such as Homer or Hesiod but comes much later, circa 345 BCE. The story of Poseidon and his role in establishing Atlantis was told by Plato at the end of his career in two Dialogues, Timaeus (Timaios) and Kritias (Critias).

I choose not to disregard these Dialogues simply because of they are of a much later date than most of the literature on which the vast majority of the Greek mythical histories are based. I choose to believe Plato in a very literal sense and dispense with the second-guessing and what-he-really-meant arguments. Plato's geographical view of the world was limited but not myopic … his time reckoning was not precise but we should not be too hasty in correcting his facts and figures simply because they do not agree with our modern preconceptions.

According to Plato, the continent of Atlantis was destroyed circa 9000 BCE after a long and prosperous reign. Atlantis was founded at the dawn of time when Zeus, Hades and Poseidon divided the domains of the earth between them. Poseidon became lord of the Sea and consequently assumed control of the island-continent which became known as Atlantis.

Poseidon encountered a woman named Kleito (Cleito) from an Earth-Born race native to the continent and took her as his consort. Poseidon began to terraform the land where Kleito's parents lived until it became a round island surrounded concentric rings of water and land … two rings of land and three of water. Poseidon then made two springs flow on the center island, one of hot and one of cold water. The water from the springs was used to irrigate the land and provide water for domestic use including elaborate baths for people and animals. Over time, the surrounding fertile plain began to grow with abundant produce of every kind.

After Poseidon and Kleito had five sets of male twins, Poseidon divided the island-continent into ten separate domains for his sons to administer as kings. Each son assumed absolute power in his own region and could punish or execute his subjects at will. After the institutions of Atlantis were firmly established, Poseidon left his sons and their descendants to their own devices.

Although each king was the master of his own domain, the distribution of power and the relations between the kings were governed by the injunctions of Poseidon which were engraved on an orichalc pillar and placed in the temple of Poseidon which was built on the center island where Kleito's original home had been. Inside the temple stood a golden statue of Poseidon driving a chariot drawn by six winged horses and surrounded by one hundred Nereids riding dolphins. The outside of the temple was covered in silver, with golden figures on the pediment. Inside, the roof was flecked with silver, gold and orichalc … the walls, pillars and floor were covered with orichalc. The temple was surrounded with statues of the ten original kings as well as statues of succeeding kings and private persons. Orichalc is a metal that is more precious than gold or silver and was found in abundance in Atlantis.

As generation followed generation, the temple of Poseidon was expanded and enlarged by each succeeding group of kings, each trying to surpass their predecessors with lavish additions to the original structure. The result of this long-term uncoordinated building program was a temple which was described as having a "barbaric" appearance.

Atlantis flourished for many generations but the divine blood of Poseidon became more and more diluted until finally the kings began to act in ways that were not in accordance with the noble character of the first kings. When the latter-day kings of Atlantis tried to invade the eastern Mediterranean area, they were soundly defeated by the Athenians … at that remote time, Athens had the strongest military and most advanced culture in the Mediterranean. Soon after the humiliating military defeat of the Atlantians and the stunning military victory of the Athenians, a Deluge struck the entire region with such force that the Atlantians were completely destroyed and the Athenians were scattered into small impoverished groups.

The destruction of Atlantis and ancient Athens took place circa 9000 BCE. Atlantis sank beneath the waves in a single day and night, never to be seen again. Plato ended his Dialogue in mid-sentence so we are not told the details of the destruction of Atlantis … at the end of the Dialogue, Zeus is addressing a gathering of the Immortals to discuss the fate of Atlantis but as to what was said or done, we do not know. We are also not told whether Poseidon as lord of the Sea, was a party to the watery destruction of the civilization he created.

Poseidon and Rhodes

The island of Rhodes was first populated by a race of sea creatures known as the Telchines; the Telchines were very mysterious and described in a variety of ways but generally thought of as dog-headed sea creatures. The Telchines were children of Thalassa [an aspect of the Sea] and thus possessed many different talents that were appreciated by Immortals and mortals alike. The Telchines crafted the sickle of Zeus and the trident of Poseidon. The Telchines were said to be wizards who could summon clouds, rain, hail and snow at their will. The Magi of Persia were said to have developed similar magical skills. They were also said to have the ability to change their shapes and not inclined to teach their arts to others.

The Telchines were living on Rhodes when the children of Kronos and Rheia were quite young and were still on the island when Poseidon and Zeus reached maturity. Rheia gave the infant Poseidon to the Telchines and a daughter of Okeanos [Ocean] named Kapheira (Capheira) to be nurtured … it seems appropriate that Poseidon would be nurtured by sea-beings because he eventually became lord of the Sea.

Zeus and Poseidon took consorts on Rhodes … the sons of Zeus were honored and enjoyed long lives but the sons of Poseidon were doomed by their own insolent behavior. Poseidon was attracted to a sister of the Telchines named Halia … she and Poseidon had six male children and one daughter named Rhodos.

The sons of Poseidon and Halia were arrogant men who came to an evil end when they offended Aphrodite [goddess of Love]. Aphrodite drove the young men mad and they assaulted their mother. When Poseidon learned of their horrendous behavior, he buried them on Rhodes where they became known as the "Eastern Demons." Halia was so shamed by her son's wanton actions, she threw herself in the sea … afterwards, she became known as Leukothea (Leucothea) and was given Immortal honors by the islanders.

Soon after those events, the Telchines perceived that the island was going to suffer a cataclysmic flood and fled, never to return. At that time, the island was populated by Nymphs of various types and people who were "sprung from the earth" … many of the inhabitants perished in the flood but the survivors retreated to the highlands with Zeus's sons as their semi-divine leaders.

The island was devastated by the flood but Helios [Sun] dried the land and made it habitable again. Helios took Poseidon's daughter Rhodos as his consort and named the island Rhodes after her. Rhodos and Helios were the parents of eight children, seven sons and one daughter … the daughter died while still a maiden but the sons, despite infighting and fratricide, went on to become the island's rulers.

The sons of Helios and Rhodos surpassed all other men in their knowledge of astrology and seamanship. They also introduced the division of the day into hours … the Egyptians learned art and science from the sons of Helios and Rhodos and not visa versa as is commonly believed. The reason the sons of Helios and Rhodos are not credited with their pioneering achievements is because another devastating flood, which might be properly called a Deluge, killed a majority of the human race and destroyed all historical records on Rhodes … the only knowledge of the past which was preserved was in the form of myths and legends.

Poseidon

Poseidon and Demeter

Poseidon and Demeter are brother and sister … the relationship between the two was not really elaborated upon in ancient texts such as The Iliad, The Odyssey and Theogony but there is however a later story about Poseidon and Demeter that resolves the mystery of the identity of a goddess who is only referred to as The Mistress.

When Demeter's daughter Persephone was kidnapped by Hades [lord of the Dead], Demeter did not know what had become of her only daughter. While Demeter was desperately searching for Persephone, Poseidon began to pursue her. She managed to evade Poseidon until she came to Arkadia (Arcadia) where she, in a moment of exasperation, transformed herself into a horse. Poseidon changed into a stallion and mated with her. Demeter was furious with her brother and thus earned the surname Fury … as her temper cooled, she bathed in the Ladon River and assumed the surname Bather. The Arkadians built a temple for Demeter and furnished it with statues of Demeter as Fury and Bather.

Demeter and Poseidon had a daughter who is only referred to as "Mistress" and a son named Arion (Areion) The rites of Demeter as practiced in Arkadia were kept secret from non-initiates thus, the true name of the divine daughter of Demeter and Poseidon was never made public.

Arion became famous as the steed of King Adrastus of Sikyon (Sicyon). After the infamous King Oedipus fled the city of Thebes, a bitter rivalry began between Oedipus's sons, Eteokles (Eteocles) and Polyneikes (Polyneices). Adrastus rode Arion in the first attack on Thebes and was the only commander to survive the attack. When the second attempt was made to capture Thebes, Adrastus again rode Arion but this time the assault was successful … the city was captured but Adrastus's son Aigialeus (Aegialeus) was the only commander killed … astride Arion, Adrastus returned home and died of grief.

Arion was also the name of the chariot horse of Herakles (Heracles) when he fought a son of Ares named Kyknos (Cycnus) … it is unclear whether Herakles's Arion was the original son of Demeter and Poseidon.

Because of the transformation into a horse by Poseidon in his desire for Demeter, the Arkadians were the first to give Poseidon the surname Horse.

Poseidon and King Minos

King Minos of Crete was a very devout man who failed only once to give Poseidon his due respect … that one oversight became the reason for the creation of the Minotaur and the construction of the famous Labyrinth at King Minos's palace at Knossos (Cnossos). This happened one generation before the Trojan War and involved the Athenian hero Theseus.

It was traditional for King Minos to sacrifice a bull annually to Poseidon but one year the bull that was to be sacrificed was of extraordinary beauty and vigor … King Minos decided to keep the bull and sacrifice another less perfect bull instead. Poseidon recognized the betrayal and began a series of events that would result in King Minos's humiliation and repentance. With the contrivance of Poseidon, King Minos's wife Pasiphae became pregnant and gave birth to a hideous creature with the body of a human male and the head of a bull … the creature became known as the Minotaur, i.e. Minos's Bull.

Minotaur

At approximately the same time, another tragedy befell King Minos … his son Androgeus was killed in Athens when he competed in the first Panathenaea games … Androgeus's death was no accident. Androgeus was an outstanding athlete and won all the competitions … King Aegeus of Athens was outraged and had the boy killed. King Minos waged war on Athens and forced them into submission. He instructed the master builder Daedalus (Daidalos) to construct a labyrinth at Knossos and placed the Minotaur inside the maze of passageways … he then demanded that the Athenians send seven young men and seven young women every year to Crete to be placed in the labyrinth and killed by the Minotaur.

The barbaric tradition continued until King Aegeus's son Theseus entered the labyrinth and killed the Minotaur.

Poseidon was said to have taken King Minos's daughter Euryale as his consort and sired the great hunter, Orion.

Poseidon and the Trojan War

The Trojan War occurred circa 1250 BCE and was fought by mortals, demigods and the Immortals. Poseidon was often on the midst of the fighting and he was clearly on the side of the Achaean (Achaian) Greeks against the Trojans. The Trojan War was an attempt by Zeus to rid the world of the demigods, i.e. the sons of the Immortals and mortal women. The war was staged and choreographed by the Immortals and the outcome was never in any doubt by those watching from Mount Olympos (Olympus).

The pretext for the war was the kidnapping of Helen of Argos. She was the wife of the Spartan King Menelaos (Menelaus) who had been enchanted by Aphrodite [goddess of Love] to flee her home and become the wife of the Trojan Prince Alexandros [Paris]. The stage was set, the players were in place and ten years of bloody fighting followed.

Prior to the Trojan War, Zeus commanded Poseidon and Apollon to serve King Laomedon of Troy for one year. Poseidon built the walls of Troy and Apollon tended Laomedon's herds. When their service was over, Laomedon refused to pay for their services and threatened to sell them into slavery. Apollon seemed more inclined to forgive the insult but Poseidon would not forgive or forget. When the final battle for Troy was fought, Poseidon fought fiercely on the side of the Achaeans and helped topple the walls that he had built.

In the tenth year of the war, Zeus still limited the roles the Immortals could play in the actual fighting. Certain rules had to be obeyed and Poseidon willingly did the bidding of Zeus to prolong the war. In a limited way, Poseidon would go among the Achaeans in the guise of moral men and urge them to fight or strike soldiers with his staff to magically make them forget their fears and plunge into the Trojan defenses.

At one point during most fierce fighting, Poseidon left his horses in an underwater cave between the islands of Tenedos and Imbros before he went ashore at the Achaean camp. He took the guise of the seer Kalchas (Calchas) and approached Telamonian Aias and Lesser Aias … both men were courageous and bold but Poseidon wanted to make sure they were at their best … he touched them with his staff and filled them with power and valor. The two men tore into the Trojan defenses with determination. Satisfied with his deed, Poseidon flew off to Mount Olympos like a hawk.

As the Trojans became more bold and aggressive, Poseidon felt like he had to be more assertive in protecting the Achaeans. With the assistance of Zeus's sister/wife Hera, Poseidon devised a way to participate in the fighting without Zeus's knowledge. Hera met Zeus on Mount Ida where he was watching the war … using a charm provided by Aphrodite and slumber induced by Hypnos [Sleep], Hera seduced Zeus. While Zeus was still in the thralls of love and lulled by Sleep, Poseidon raged into the Trojan defenses and was nearly successful in destroying the Trojans but he became the victim of his own lust for blood … the bellowing and earth-shaking clamor which arose from the battlefield awakened Zeus … when he realized the deception, he summoned his faithful messenger Iris. Zeus instructed Iris to go to Poseidon and command him to withdraw from the fighting. When he received Zeus's message, Poseidon withdrew but assured Iris that he was not afraid of Zeus … he was obeying because of respect.

Finally, Zeus called the Immortals together and told them that the end of the war was at hand and that the gods and goddesses could enter the fighting on any side they chose. Poseidon rushed to the side of the Achaeans … when he landed on the battlefield, the earth quaked with such force that Hades [lord of the Dead] was afraid that his halls would crack open. The final and most brutal phase of the war had begun but there were still rules that had to be obeyed. For example, when Achilles [the best warrior in the Achaean army] was poised to kill Aphrodite's son Aineias (Aeneas), Poseidon put a mist over Achilles's eyes and threw Aineias safely to the edge of the battlefield. The reason for this seemingly contradictory behavior was simply that Aineias was not destined to die in the war and Poseidon had a more long-range perspective than his personal hatred of the Trojans.

Achilles was without doubt the most brutal and dangerous man in the Achaean army. When he donned his god-made armor and charged into the Trojan defenses Poseidon and Athene met him on the battlefield and assured him that he would drive the Trojans back to their walls.

Poseidon and Apollon had one more score to settle before the war was over. Apollon had been fighting for the Trojans and now he and Poseidon were preparing to fight one another. Poseidon told Apollon that since he was the younger of the two, he should strike the first blow. Apollon wanted to back away from the fight and tried to reason with his uncle Poseidon … Apollon could not understand why two Immortals should fight for the sake of mere mortals. The two gods did not fight but Apollon's sister Artemis scolded him for not wanting to fight because he had once bragged that he could match Poseidon in strength.

Despite the fierce fighting and the deaths of Achilles and the Trojan Prince Hector, the war was at a stalemate. The Achaeans came up with a plan that was so brilliant that it still has a place in our modern lexicon, i.e. the Trojan Horse. A man named Epeios (Epeius), with the inspiration of the goddess Athene, designed and built a hollow Wooden Horse in which they could hide some of their best warriors. The Achaean army retreated to a nearby island so that the Trojans would think that the war was over and the attackers had finally given up their siege and gone home. The horse was then left in front of the gates of Troy with the assumption that the Trojans would take it into the city as a trophy.

Some of the Trojans thought that the Wooden Horse was a symbol of peace and a tribute to the goddess Athene … others thought that the Wooden Horse was a trick and should be burned where it stood. The Trojan seer Laokoon (Laocoon) tried to warn King Priam that the Wooden Horse was a trick and not a peace offering but Poseidon sent one of his giant ketos [sea-serpents] to kill Laokoon and one [or both] of his sons. King Priam assumed that Laokoon was killed because he was giving false prophecy and ordered the Wooden Horse to be brought inside the walls of the city.

After the victory celebration was over and night had fallen, the Achaeans emerged from the Wooden Horse and the war was over … the Trojans were caught completely off-guard and were overwhelmed. The Trojan men were killed and the women and children were taken as slaves. Poseidon retreated to Mount Olympos but was soon stirred to wrath by two of the Achaean survivors of the Trojan War … Aias and Odysseus.

Poseidon and Aias

Telamonian Aias [Ajax] was the largest and, second only to Achilles, the most fierce fighter for the Achaeans in the Trojan War … he survived the war but was killed on the voyage home for insulting Poseidon.

While on the open sea, Poseidon drove Aias and his ships against the rocks of Gyrae (Gyrai) in the Aegean Sea [their exact location is unknown to us]. Poseidon did not intend to kill Aias when he dashed the ships against the rocks and to ensure that no injury would come to Aias, Poseidon prevented the goddess Athene from harming the hero. Not understanding the importance of what had befallen him, Aias began to rave madly and declared that he survived the Trojan War and the great gulf of the sea in spite of the Immortals and not because of their protection. He continued to rant and rave until Poseidon had heard enough … Poseidon drove his trident against the rocks of the Gyrae and splintered off a piece that landed in the water next to Aias … the surging water sucked Aias down to the depths of the sea where he drowned.

Poseidon and Odysseus

Odysseus was the king of the island Ithaka (Ithaca) and played an important part in the Trojan War. Odysseus was not a large man but he was very strong and to add to his formidable fighting abilities, he was a brilliant negotiator and strategist. All these attributes served him well during the Trojan War but on the voyage home his bravado and cleverness caused the deaths of all of his comrades and the loss of all of his ships.

After leaving the destroyed city of Troy, Odysseus and his twelve ships were blown off course to the island of the Cyclopes. They beached their ships in a natural harbor and feasted on goats that the Nymphs had driven from the hills to the shore where the sailors were camped. Odysseus and his men could see the smoke from distant hearth fires but did not know who the inhabitants of the land might be.

On the following day, Odysseus took his ship and ventured down the coast to seek out the natives. They came to a place where they could see a cave with goats and sheep in a fenced yard. In the distance they could see a monstrous man herding his flocks. Odysseus took twelve of his crewman and went ashore to investigate. Odysseus had the feeling that the monster-man would be wild and lawless so he took some food and a skin of very strong wine to offer as gifts. They found the cave of the monster-man well stocked with cheese, milk and pens full of lambs and kids. Odysseus's companions wanted to simply steal the food and make a hasty retreat back to their ship but Odysseus decided to wait for the monster-man to return and see if gifts of food would be offered without resorting to theft.

When Polyphemos the Cyclopes returned to his cave, he made such a ruckus that Odysseus and the twelve sailors retreated into the shadows and hid. They watched as the wheel-eyed man separated the male from the female livestock and herded the females into the cave. He then rolled a giant stone in front of the cave entrance and began to milk the sheep and goats. When he finished his chores, the Cyclopes lit a fire … that's when he saw Odysseus and the other men hiding in the recesses of the cave. He asked if they were pirates or traveling on business. Odysseus, in his most eloquent style, told the Cyclopes of their plight and asked for the hospitality that any god fearing man [or monster-man] would provide. The Cyclopes said that he was better than the gods and would offer no hospitality.

At that moment, Polyphemos snatched up two of the sailors and dashed them on the floor, spilling their blood and brains … he proceeded to eat them. The following day, more men were eaten … Odysseus was desperate but not without wit … he devised a clever plan to escape the cave.

When Polyphemos moved the giant stone to cover the entrance of the cave and went outside to tend his flocks, Odysseus took a large tree trunk that was in the cave and sharpened one end and hardened the point with fire. The sailors drew lots … four men were chosen to help Odysseus wield the tree sized spear when the proper time came to attack Polyphemos.

When Polyphemos returned to the cave, he brought his entire flock, males and females, inside for the night. He tended to his milking chores and then effortlessly killed and ate two more sailors. Odysseus boldly filled a bowl with the potent wine he had brought along … he offered the wine to Polyphemos. The Cyclopes took the wine and drank it down. The wine had been a gift to Odysseus and was so strong that it had to be watered down with twenty portions of water in order to make it suitable for any civilized man to drink. Polyphemos explained that Cyclopes made wine but the wine Odysseus had given him was surely made where nectar and ambrosia flow in abundance. He asked for more wine and after three bowls, tried to engage Odysseus in conversation. He asked Odysseus what his name was and promised to give him a guest-gift in exchange for the wine. Odysseus cleverly said that his name was Nobody [Ουτις]. Polyphemos said that he would eat Nobody after he had eaten the other men and that would be his guest-gift.

Polyphemos then passed out from the wine and vomited bile and meat on the cave floor. Odysseus and his men heated the point of the tree they had sharpened and poised it in front of Polyphemos's eye. As the men pushed the searing point of the tree into Polyphemos's eye, Odysseus used his weight to spin the giant spear so that it would penetrate as deeply as possible. Polyphemos awoke with a scream and pulled the deeply imbedded point from his ruined eye. His cries drew the attention of the neighboring Cyclopes and they converged at the cave entrance and asked why Polyphemos was screaming in the night. "Nobody is trying to kill me," Polyphemos answered. The other Cyclopes returned to their homes thinking that Polyphemos was suffering from madness. They urged him to call upon his father Poseidon for help.

Odysseus and Polyphemos

Odysseus and his men blinding Polyphemos with a searing log.

Odysseus then had the six remaining men tie three rams abreast and then strapped each man to the belly of the center animal. He chose the largest ram in the flock for himself and hid beneath it in a similar manner. When dawn arrived, Polyphemos opened the cave entrance and carefully felt the backs of all the sheep as they went outside. In this way Odysseus and his men were able to escape from the cave and return to their ships.

When the ships were a little distance from the shore, Odysseus could not contain his pride and anger, he called out to Polyphemos and said that the wrath of the gods had been justly administered and that good men had been the instrument of divine retribution. The sailors tried to restrain Odysseus but his proud heart would not be silent. He shouted to Polyphemos that he was Odysseus, the sacker of cities from the island of Ithaka, and that he should have killed the evil Cyclopes instead of just blinding him.

Polyphemos then realized that his blinding had been foretold by a prophet. He had always been on the lookout for a man named Odysseus but he had been tricked by clever words and missed the prophetic signs. Polyphemos raised his arms to heaven and called upon his father to bring down vengeance on Odysseus, kill all his men, bring turmoil to his household and delay his homecoming for many years. Poseidon heard his son's plea and made it all come to pass.

Poseidon's revenge was tempered by Zeus who forbade Poseidon from killing Odysseus. For ten long years, Poseidon caused Odysseus constant misery but he did not kill the haggard wanderer, he just kept driving him away from his home and happiness.

After all of Odysseus's comrades had been killed and all of his ships lost, Poseidon found his desperate prey on a raft drifting on the sea. The wind rose at Poseidon's command and with his trident, he staggered the sea and let loose the storm blasts against Odysseus … the tiny raft shattered. As Odysseus clung to the remnants of the raft, the sea goddess Leukothea (Leucothea) came to Odysseus and gave him her veil as protection against drowning but Odysseus was afraid that this was just another one of Poseidon's tricks and refused the goddesses' help … when the raft was ready to sink in the turbulent sea, Odysseus took the goddesses' veil and began the three day swim to the island of the Phaiakians (Phaeacians).

The original leader of the Phaiakians was descended from Poseidon but when the Phaiakians realized that the supplicant stranger who had washed up on their shore was Odysseus, they treated him as an honored guest … they bestowed many gifts on Odysseus and launched a ship and to take him to his home on the island of Ithaka. When the Phaiakians returned to their island, Poseidon punished them by turning their ship to stone and left it in the harbor as a permanent reminder of his displeasure. Satisfied that enough punishment had befallen Odysseus, Poseidon turned away from the long-suffering hero and made his way to his palace.

Poseidon

The Children of Poseidon

Agenor

Agenor was the son of Poseidon and the Nymph, Libya. Agenor was king of the city of Tyre and the father of Europa, Kadmos (Cadmus) and Phineus.

Agenor lived two generations before the Trojan War, circa 1310 BCE. All three of his children played important parts in laying the foundations of the Greek culture. Europa was kidnapped by Zeus and taken to the island of Crete where her son Minos became the founder of a remarkable civilization. Kadmos went searching for Europa but, at the advice of the priestess of Apollon at Delphi, abandoned his search and founded the city of Thebes. Phineus was the blind seer who gave assistance to Jason and the Argonauts in their Quest for the Golden Fleece.

Children of Poseidon

Alebion

Alebion [perhaps his name was spelled Ialebion] was a son of Poseidon and the brother of Derkynus (Dercynus). After Herakles (Heracles) completed his Tenth Labor [Taking the Cattle of the three-bodied Geryon (Geryones)] he encountered two brothers … they obviously didn't realize who they were dealing with when they tried to forcibly take Geryon's cattle from Herakles … they paid the price for the ignorance with their lives.

Children of Poseidon

Althepus

Althepus was the son of Poseidon and Leis, the daughter of Orus. Orus was said to be the first man born in the area that became known as Troezen on the Peloponnesian Peninsula … at that time, the country was called Oraea. When Althepus inherited the land from Orus, it was renamed Althepia. The traveler/historian Pausanias doubted the story because to him the name Orus was un-Greek and probably Egyptian.

Troezen

Children of Poseidon

Amphimarus

Amphimarus was a son of Poseidon … the poet Linus (Linos) is thought to be the son of Amphimarus and the Muse, Ourania (Urania). Amphimarus won a reputation for music greater than that of any contemporary or predecessor … Apollon killed him for being his rival in singing.

Children of Poseidon

Amykos

Amykos (Amycos) was the son of Poseidon and Melie. King Amykos of the Bebrykians (Bebrycians) was the cruel and arrogant man who made the challenge to the Argonauts that he would defeat their best man in a boxing match … Polydeukes (Polydeuces) accepted the challenge and beat Amykos to death.

Children of Poseidon

Ankaios

The Argonauts Ankaios (Ancaeus) and his brother Erginos (Erginus) were both sons of Poseidon and Astypalaia (Astypalaea). Ankaios became the helmsman of their ship, the Argo, after the original helmsman, Tiphys, was killed.

Children of Poseidon

Anthas

Anthas and Hyperes were the sons of Poseidon and Alkyone (Alcyone), daughter of Atlas. The country of Althepia [later called Troezen] was passed down to Hyperes and Anthas … they founded their own cities and named them Anthea and Hyperea.

Children of Poseidon

Arion

Arion (Areion) is the immoral son of Poseidon and Demeter [goddess of the Harvest] … he has the form of a horse … he was ridden by King Adrastus (Adrestos) of Sikyon (Sicyon) in two sieges on the city of Thebes … the Seven Against Thebes and the Epigoni.

Poseidon wanted to mate with his sister Demeter but she avoided him as best she could. When she hid in a herd of horses, she assumed the shape of a horse 𓵎 Poseidon was not fooled … he too transformed into a horse and mated with her … Arion was one offspring of that union.

The other child born to Poseidon and Demeter became a powerful and highly protected goddess known simply as "Mistress."

Children of Poseidon

Asopos

Asopos (Asopus) was the son of Poseidon and Kelusa (Celusa) … in very ancient times, King Aras ruled Arantia northwest of the city of Corinth. During the rule of King Aras, Asopos discovered the waters of a river … the city and land of Arantia have long since disappeared but the river still bears Asopos's name.

Children of Poseidon

Aspledon

Aspledon was the son of Poseidon and the Nymph Mideia … its ironic that Aspledon, even though he was a son of the lord of the Sea, gave his name to a city that had to be abandoned because of a water shortage.

Children of Poseidon

Athene

Athene

The Libyans believed that the goddess Athene (Athena) was the daughter of Poseidon and Lake Tritonis. The traveler/historian Pausanias thought the story had some credence because a statue he saw of Athene had blue eyes like Poseidon.

Children of Poseidon

Atlas

As a son of Poseidon, Atlas was the first king of the continent of Atlantis. Poseidon mated with a woman named Kleito (Cleito) who was the daughter of "Earth Born" parents. Poseidon terra-formed a continent beyond the Pillars of Herakles (Heracles) and installed his sons as kings … Atlas was the eldest son and the primary king of Atlantis. Atlas also gave his name to the Atlantic Ocean.

Children of Poseidon

Bellerophontes

Bellerophontes and Pegasos

Bellerophontes and Pegasos fighting the Chimera

Bellerophontes was the son of Poseidon and Eurynome, the daughter of Nisus. Bellerophontes was blessed by the Immortals with beauty and manly stature but, while he was in the city of Argos, he offended the king's wife, Anteia, when he refused her seductive advances. Anteia lied and told her husband, King Proetus (Proitos) of Argos, that Bellerophontes had tried to force himself on her. Proetus was furious but was too scrupulous to kill Bellerophontes … he sent Bellerophontes from Argos with a message to the ruler of Lykia (Lycia) … the message said simply, Kill This Messenger.

For nine days, the lord of Lykia entertained Bellerophontes without reading the message that King Proetus had sent but on the tenth day he finally read the message and devised a clever plan for killing Bellerophontes without having to resort to out-and-out murder. He sent Bellerophontes to kill a fire breathing she-beast called the Chimera. To assure Bellerophontes's success, Athene bridled the flying horse named Pegasos (Pegasus) which had been created from the blood of the severed head of the Gorgon, Medusa. Poseidon presented the immortal horse to Bellerophontes and, riding on the back of Pegasos, Bellerophontes killed the Chimera.

The lord of Lykia then sent Bellerophontes to fight the Solymoi and the Amazons … he was so successful that the lord of Lykia offered Bellerophontes his daughter in marriage. Bellerophontes eventually lost the favor of the Immortals and spent his last days as a wanderer.

Children of Poseidon

Belus

The Egyptians said that the city of Babylon was colonized by Belus who was a son of Poseidon and the Nymph Libya.

Children of Poseidon

Butes

Butes was a son of Poseidon … Butes's son Polykaon (Polycaon) married Euaechime who was the daughter of Hyllos (Hyllus), the son of Herakles (Heracles).

On the Acropolis of Athens there is a building called the Erechtheum … inside the building there are altars to Poseidon, Hephaistos (Hephaestus) and Butes. On the walls are paintings representing members of the clan Butadae; there is also inside there is a seawater in a cistern that is remarkable for the noise of waves it sends forth when a south wind blows.

Children of Poseidon

Byzas

Byzas was a son of Poseidon and Keroessa (Ceroessa), the daughter of the Heifer-Maiden Io … he was acknowledged and celebrated in a festival as the founder of Byzantium.

Children of Poseidon

Charybdis

Charybdis is the most formidable whirlpool in the sea … as the daughter of Poseidon and Gaia [Earth], she inhabits the waters in the Strait of Messina between Italy and Sicily. Charybdis alternately sucks down and spews forth the waters of the strait and presents a constant danger to all sea traffic. Across the strait from Charybdis is the six-headed beast, Skylla (Scylla) … when ships sail past they will be menaced by either Skylla or Charybdis … both are deadly and both are insatiable.

The only historical references we have of encounters with Charybdis and Skylla are from the voyages of Jason and the Argonauts and Odysseus. Circa 1260 BCE, a generation before the Trojan War, Jason and the Argonauts were required to sail between Charybdis and Skylla but with the assistance of the goddess Hera they were able to sail through the dangerous strait without loss of life. Circa 1240 BCE, after the Trojan War, Odysseus and his men sailed between Charybdis and Skylla … Odysseus had to make the difficult decision as to whether to sail by Charybdis or Skylla … his fear of Charybdis was justified because Skylla might snatch six or a dozen men from the decks of the ships whereas Charybdis could drown the whole fleet. Odysseus only lost six men to Skylla.

Children of Poseidon

Chrysaor

When the Gorgon Medusa mated with Poseidon, Chrysaor and the flying horse Pegasos (Pegasus) were among the many creatures that sprang from her blood after Perseus killed her.

Medusa was one of the Gorgons; her sisters, Sthenno and Euryale, were immortal but Medusa was mortal and died when Perseus severed her head from her body. As Perseus carried her head in his kibisis [a special bag designed for that particular purpose] the blood that dripped to the earth created a variety of creatures including Chrysaor.

There is no actual physical description of Chrysaor but he is usually assumed to be monstrous because his children were the three-headed Geryon (Geryones) and the snake-like monster, Echidna; his name was derived from his golden sword, [Chyseos means Golden and Aor means Sword].

Children of Poseidon

Chryses

Chryses was the son of Poseidon by Chrysogeneia, daughter of Almus. Chryses was vital to the future of the Greeks because he was the father of Minyas, the eponymous founder of the Minyans from which Achilles and a majority of the Argonauts descended.

Children of Poseidon

Derkynus

Derkynus (Dercynus) was a son of Poseidon and the brother of Alebion [perhaps his name was spelled Ialebion]. After Herakles (Heracles) completed his Tenth Labor [Taking the Cattle of the three-bodied Geryon (Geryones)] he encountered two brothers … they obviously didn't realize who they were dealing with when they tried to forcibly take Geryon's cattle from Herakles … they paid the price for the ignorance with their lives.

Children of Poseidon

Earthborn

Kyzikos is a peninsula that juts into the Propontis [Sea of Marmara] from the Phrygian mainland north of the Aisepos (Aesepos) River. Although not really an island, the peninsula of Kyzikos (Cyzicus) is often called Bear Island, Mount of Bears as well as Bear Mountain. A six-handed race called the Earthborn dwell on Bear Island … they are the aboriginal descendants of Poseidon. The Earthborn had two arms attached to their shoulders and four additional arms protruding from their sides.

The Doliones also lived on Bear Island and were ruled by King Kyzikos. During their Quest for the Golden Fleece, Jason and the Argonauts were guests of the Doliones but, after they left Bear Island, they lost their way in the darkness and were blown off course … when they accidentally returned to Bear Island the Doliones mistakenly thought that the Earthborn warriors were attacking them and gave battle … during the confusion of the night-fight, Jason killed King Kyzikos.

Children of Poseidon

Eleius

The traveler/historian Pausanias related a story that he personally did not believe concerning how the district of Elis got its name. Originally the northwestern corner of the Peloponnesian Peninsula was named after Aetolus, the son of Endymion. After the death of Aetolus the kingdom fell to his nephew Eleius, the son of Eurykyda (Eurycyda), daughter of Endymion … many believed that Eleius was the son of Poseidon and gave the inhabitants their present name of Eleans in place of Epeians.

Children of Poseidon

Ephialtes

Ephialtes and his brother Otos were the monstrous sons of Iphimedeia (Iphimedea) and Poseidon. Iphimedeia was married to a man named Aloeus but she was seduced by Poseidon and the magnificently terrible brothers were the result of that union. Although they were incredibly large, Ephialtes and Otos were really quite beautiful … second only to the mighty hunter Orion, Otos and Ephialtes were the most handsome men [demigods] to ever exist. The two brothers were by far the tallest men ever to reside on the earth … when they were nine years old, they were nine cubits across and nine fathoms tall … the units of measurement [yards, cubits and fathoms] varies with each translator but the number nine is used consistently.

In The Iliad, we are given an amazing story which demonstrates the physical prowess and audacity of Otos and Ephialtes. After a confrontation with the gigantic brothers, Ares [god of War] was bound in chains and imprisoned in a cauldron. Ares remained in that humiliating and helpless situation for thirteen months until he was finally freed when Eeriboia, the stepmother of Otos and Ephialtes, told the god Hermes of Ares's plight.

Before the two brothers reached adulthood, they brought about their own doom by daring to try and reach the heavens. The two rebellious boys tried unsuccessfully to pile Mount Ossa on top of Mount Olympos (Olympus) and then put Mount Pelion on top of that. Their intentions were so outrageous that Zeus commanded Apollon to kill Otos and Ephialtes with a rain of arrows.

Children of Poseidon

Erginos

The Argonauts Erginos (Erginus) and his brother Ankaios Ancaeus) were both sons of Poseidon and Astypalaia (Astypalaea).

Erginos was the father of the legendary architects, Trophonius (Trophonios) and Agamedes, who were credited with building the temple of Apollon at Delphi.

Children of Poseidon

Eumolpus

Eumolpus was the son of Poseidon and Chione, the daughter of Boreas [North Wind] and Oreithyia … according to the traveler/historian Pausanias, Homer says nothing about the family of Eumolpus, but in his poems styles him as being "manly."

Children of Poseidon

Euphemos

Euphemos (Euphemus) was the son of Poseidon and Europe, daughter of Tityos … he was chosen as an Argonaut for the Quest for the Golden Fleece because he of his ability to skim across the sea only getting his toes wet.

Children of Poseidon

Eurypylos

Eurypylos was the son of Poseidon and Mestra, the daughter of Erysichthon. Poseidon gave Mestra the ability to change shapes into whatever form she wished.

Mestra's father Erysichthon angered the goddess Demeter when he cut down one of her sacred groves. As punishment for his sacrilege, Demeter inflicted Erysichthon with an insatiable hunger … no matter how much he ate, he was always at the point of starvation. In order to satisfy his unquenchable appetite, Erysichthon would sell Mestra and use the money to buy food; after being sold or promised in marriage for a dowry, Mestra would transform into an animal and return to her father so that they could repeat the same deception over and over again.

The goddess Athene Athena put an end to Erysichthon's schemes and Poseidon transported Mestra to the island of Kos (Cos) where she gave birth to Eurypylos.

Children of Poseidon

Eurytos

Eurytos (Eurytus) and his brother Kteatos (Cteatus) were sons of Poseidon and Molione. Molione was married to Aktor (Actor) and he raised Poseidon's sons as if they were his own. Eurytos and Kteatos had four feet and two heads.

Children of Poseidon

Halirrhothius

Halirrhothius was a son of Poseidon but he incurred the wrath of Ares [god of War] when the lusty young man attacked the virgin daughter of Ares at the Kalos (Calos) Spring near the Acropolis in Athens. For killing Halirrhothius, Ares was the first to be put on trial for murder but was acquitted because his offence was considered justified.

Children of Poseidon

Hippothoon

Hippothoon was the son of Poseidon and Alope, daughter of Kerkyon (Cercyon).

Kerkyon tried his best to protect Alope from Poseidon but she became pregnant anyway … when she gave birth to Hippothoon, Kerkyon put Alope to death.

Children of Poseidon

Hyperes

Hyperes and Anthas were the sons of Poseidon and Alkyone (Alcyone), daughter of Atlas. The country of Althepia [later called Troezen] was passed down to Hyperes and Anthas … they founded their own cities and named them Hyperea and Anthea.

Children of Poseidon

Kenchrias

Kenchrias (Cenchrias) and Leches were the sons of Poseidon and Peirene [she was either the daughter of Acheloios (Achelous) or Oebalus]. The harbors of the city of Corinth were named after Kenchrias and Leches.

Children of Poseidon

Kerkyon

According to the Athenian author Choerilus, Kerkyon (Cercyon) was the brother of Triptolemus … their mother was the daughter of Amphiktyon (Amphictyon) … the father of Triptolemus was Rarus but Kerkyon's father was Poseidon.

Children of Poseidon

Krinakos

Krinakos (Crinacus) was the son of Poseidon and Alkyone (Alcyone).

Children of Poseidon

Kromos

Kromos (Cromus) was a son of Poseidon. The city of Kromyon (Cromyon) in the Corinthian territory was named after Kromos.

Children of Poseidon

Kteatos

Kteatos (Cteatus) and his brother Eurytos (Eurytus) were sons of Poseidon and Molione. Molione was married to Aktor (Actor) and he raised Poseidon's sons as if they were his own. Kteatos and Eurytos had four feet and two heads.

Children of Poseidon

Kyknos

Kyknos (Cycnus) was a son of Poseidon and had the dubious distinction of being the first man to be killed by Achilles at the siege of Troy, which means that Kyknos died circa 1250 BCE.

Children of Poseidon

Kymopoleia

Kymopoleia (Cymopoleia) was the daughter of Poseidon and the wife of Briareos (Briareus). Briareos was one of the most terrible creatures ever to be produced by Gaia [Earth] and Ouranos [Heavens] … he and his two brothers each have fifty heads and fifty arms.

Children of Poseidon

Lamia

Lamia was the daughter of Poseidon who became the consort of Zeus. With Zeus as the father, Lamia was the mother of Herophile, the first woman to chant oracles. Herophile would stand on a rock at Delphi and chant the will of Zeus … the Libyans later gave her the surname Sibyl.

Children of Poseidon

Leches

Leches and Kenchrias (Cenchrias) were the sons of Poseidon and Peirene [she was either the daughter of Acheloios (Achelous) or Oebalus]. The harbors of the city of Corinth were named after Leches and Kenchrias.

Children of Poseidon

Lelex

Lelex was a son of Poseidon and Libya, daughter of Epphus … Lelex came to the city of Nisaea from Egypt and was made king. His son Myles [Mill-Man] was the first human being to invent a mill and grind corn.

Children of Poseidon

Machaon

Machaon and Podaleirios (Podaleirius) were phenomenal healers who became famous at the siege of Troy … Machaon treated wounds and Podaleirios treated illnesses. It is generally accepted that they were the sons Asklepios (Asclepius), Apollon's son, but it was also recorded that they were in fact the sons of Poseidon.

Children of Poseidon

Megareus

Megareus was a son of Poseidon from "holy Onchestos" … according to the Boeotians, Megareus led a contingent of Boeotian soldiers to support King Nisus of Nisa in his war against King Minos of Crete. Megareus was killed in the fighting and buried where he fell. The city of Nisa was renamed to honor Megareus and thus called Megara.

Children of Poseidon

Minyas

Minyas was the founder of the Minyan culture of Orchomenos (Orchomenus) in Boeotia and Iolkos (Iolcos) in Thessaly circa 2000 BCE. He was the son of Poseidon and Euryanassa, daughter of Phylakos (Phylacus) and Hyperphas.

Minyas was the father of Klymene (Clymene) and the great-grandfather of Jason, who led the Argonauts in their Quest for the Golden Fleece. The Argonauts called themselves Minyans because, in one way or another, most of them were descended from Minyas.

Children of Poseidon

Nauplios

Nauplios was a son of Poseidon and Amymone, daughter of Danaus … he exceeded all mortals in seamanship. Nauplios was the ancestor of an Argonaut who was also named Nauplios.

Children of Poseidon

Nausithoos

King Nausithoos (Nausithous) was the original leader of the Phaiakians (Phaiacians) … he was descended from Poseidon and Giants. Nausithoos had two male children, Alkinoos and Rhexenor. Rhexenor was married and Alkinoos was not … Apollon killed Rhexenor with a shower of painless arrows and Alkinoos married Rhexenor's daughter, Arete.

Children of Poseidon

Neleus

Neleus was the son of Poseidon and Tyro. Tyro was the daughter of the king of Elis, Salmoneus. Neleus was the brother of Pelias. He became the king of the port city of Pylos on the western Peloponnesian Peninsula … Neleus ruled Pylos two generations before the Trojan War, i.e. circa 1310 BCE.

After Tyro married a mortal man named Kretheus (Cretheus), they had a son named Aeson who became Neleus's half-brother … Aeson's son was the renown adventurer, Jason, which would make Jason the nephew of Neleus.

As the king of Pylos, Neleus was approached by Herakles (Heracles) who asked to be absolved of the crime of murder … Herakles had killed a man named Iphitos (Iphitus) but Neleus refused to give him absolution. In a fit of rage, Herakles killed Neleus and two of his sons, Chromios and Periklymenos (Periclymenos). Neleus's only surviving son was Nestor who became king of Pylos and lived a life of adventure and honor … he became well known as the aged and wise commander at the siege of Troy.

Children of Poseidon

Oeoklos

Oeoklos (Oeoclus) was the son of Poseidon and Askra (Ascra). Oeoklos had the distinction of being the co-founder of a city named after his mother … the other two founders of the city of Askra were also sons of Poseidon, the giants Otos (Otus) and Ephialtes.

Children of Poseidon

Onchestos

Onchestos (Onchestus) was the son of Poseidon and the eponymous founder of the city of Onchestos which was located near Thebes, Boeotia. The city was praised by the poet Homer when he called it "holy Onchestos, the bright grove of Poseidon."

Children of Poseidon

Orion

Orion was the son of Poseidon and Euryale … he was a Giant who was called The Hunter.

Orion was given the power to walk upon the water as if it were land. He went to the island of Chios and outraged Merope, the daughter of Oenopion, while in a state of drunkenness … Oenopion blinded Orion and he fled to the island of Lemnos. Hephaistos (Hephaestus) took pity on the blind hunter and gave him a servant named Kedalion (Cedalion) to act as his guide. Orion carried Kedalion on his shoulders to point out the roads and help him find his way around the world.

While in the east, Orion was healed by Helios [Sun] and resumed his prideful and indulgent life. When he ventured to the island of Crete he hunted with the goddesses Artemis and Leto … his zeal for hunting made him boast that he would kill every wild animal on the earth. Outraged by his boasting, Gaia [Earth] sent a giant scorpion to kill Orion and, after his death, Artemis and Leto persuaded Zeus to place Orion in the heavens as a constellation.

Children of Poseidon

Otos

Otos and his brother Ephialtes were the monstrous sons of Iphimedeia (Iphimedea) and Poseidon. Iphimedeia was married to a man named Aloeus but she was seduced by Poseidon and the magnificently terrible brothers were the result of that union. Although they were incredibly large, Ephialtes and Otos were really quite beautiful … second only to the mighty hunter Orion, Otos and Ephialtes were the most handsome men [demigods] to ever exist. The two brothers were by far the tallest men ever to reside on the earth … when they were nine years old, they were nine cubits across and nine fathoms tall … the units of measurement [yards, cubits and fathoms] varies with each translator but the number nine is used consistently.

In The Iliad, we are given an amazing story which demonstrates the physical prowess and audacity of Otos and Ephialtes. After a confrontation with the gigantic brothers, Ares [god of War] was bound in chains and imprisoned in a cauldron. Ares remained in that humiliating and helpless situation for thirteen months until he was finally freed when Eeriboia, the stepmother of Otos and Ephialtes, told the god Hermes of Ares's plight.

Before the two brothers reached adulthood, they brought about their own doom by daring to try and reach the heavens. The two rebellious boys tried unsuccessfully to pile Mount Ossa on top of Mount Olympos (Olympus) and then put Mount Pelion on top of that. Their intentions were so outrageous that Zeus commanded Apollon to kill Otos and Ephialtes with a rain of arrows.

Children of Poseidon

Parnassos

Parnassos (Parnassus) was the son of Poseidon and a Nymph named Kleodora (Cleodora) who lived on the mountain that would bear the name of her son Parnassos. Like many children of Immortals, Parnassos was raised by a mortal man … his name was Kleopompos (Cleopompus). Parnassos gave his name to the mountain and also the surrounding Parnassian Glen … he discovered augury from birds.

Parnassos

Mount Parnassos

Children of Poseidon

Pegasos

Pegasos

When Poseidon mated with the Gorgon Medusa, Pegasos (Pegasus) and Chrysaor sprang from her blood after Perseus killed her.

There were three Gorgons and two of them were immortal but Medusa was mortal. The gaze of the Gorgons could turn any creature, mortal or immortal, to stone. Perseus was on a quest for the head of Medusa at the command of King Polydektes (Polydectes) of Seriphos … Polydektes was sure that Perseus would be killed when he encountered the Gorgons but the young hero was successful and flew away on his winged sandals with Medusa's head. As Perseus flew, drops of blood dripped from the severed head. A variety of creatures were engendered by Medusa's blood … Pegasos was one of the more benevolent creatures to be born from Medusa's blood.

Pegasos opened the spring of Hippokrene (Hippocrene) on Mount Helikon (Helicon) with a stroke of his hoof. Pegasos is most famous because he and carried Bellerophontes (Bellerophon) in his battle with the fire breathing she-beast with three heads, the Chimera. Since Pegasos was born "near the springs of Ocean" [springs = pegas], his name became Pegasos … he resides on Mount Olympos (Olympus) and carries the thunder and lighting for Zeus.

Children of Poseidon

Pelias

Pelias was the son of Poseidon and Tyro, daughter of King Salmoneus of Elis … he was also the brother of King Neleus of Pylos.

Pelias was said to have been a hard and cruel man … he assumed the throne of Iolkos (Iolcos) because he was of divine birth and relegated his stepbrothers to lives of submission … his stepbrothers Amythaon and Aeson thought that Aeson's son Jason should be the next king of Iolkos.

Pelias told Jason that he could become the next king if he would go to the distant land of Kolchis (Colchis) and retrieve the Golden Fleece which had been created by Helios [Sun] and left at Kolchis. Jason agreed to go to Kolchis and bring back the Golden Fleece but he did not realize that Pelias was trying to send him to his death.

The Quest for the Golden Fleece became a glorious victory for Jason but when he returned to Iolkos with his sorceress wife Princess Medeia (Medea), he discovered that his father Aeson was dead. Whether it was true or not, Jason believed that Pelias was responsible for his father's death. Jason was determined to kill Pelias but he did not have enough men to force his way into the city. Medeia was a clever and deadly woman and she contrived a plan which would allow Jason to kill Pelias and take the city without a fight … she entered the city in the guise of an old hag and pretended to be a messenger of the goddess Artemis.

Medeia had convinced the people of Iolkos of her divine mission with a series of magic tricks and gradually won the trust of Pelias's daughters. She told the gullible girls that she could restore Pelias's youthful vigor with one of her potions. Using simple slight-of-hand magic, Medeia demonstrated the process on an old ram … the beast was chopped to pieces and then put in a caldron with her secret concoction … a young animal emerged from the caldron and Pelias's daughters were convinced that Medeia had supernatural powers. Medeia then drank a harmless liquid and cleverly removed the hag disguise to further delude the girls; when they saw the youthful Medeia, they unwittingly agreed to cut their father into pieces and thus have his youth restored. Medeia drugged Pelias and his daughters hacked him to pieces.

Pelias died soon after the Quest for the Golden Fleece was completed which would have been circa 1285 BCE.

Children of Poseidon

Peratus

Peratus was the son of Poseidon by a woman named Kalchinia (Calchinia), the only child of Leukippus (Leucippus). After his birth, Peratus was raised by Leukippus and eventually inherited Leukippus's kingdom of Apis, which later became known as Olympia on the Peloponnesian Peninsula.

Apis

Children of Poseidon

Phokos

Phokos (Phocus) was thought to be the son of Poseidon with Ornytion as the "stepfather" … Phokos was raised by Ornytion and eventually became the eponymous founder of Phokis, which lies north of the Gulf of Corinth.

Phokos

Children of Poseidon

Podaleirios

Podaleirios (Podaleirius) and Machaon were phenomenal healers who became famous at the siege of Troy … Machaon treated wounds and Podaleirios treated illnesses. It is generally accepted that they were the sons Asklepios (Asclepius), Apollon's son, but it was also recorded that they were in fact the sons of Poseidon.

Children of Poseidon

Polyphemos

Polyphemos

Polyphemos (Polyphemus) was the Cyclops son of Poseidon and the sea Nymph Thoosa. The Cyclopes were a peculiar race of beings with one eye in the center of their foreheads. Polyphemos lived with other Cyclopes on an island in an undisclosed location.

After the Trojan War [circa 1240 BCE] King Odysseus of Ithaka (Ithaca) blundered onto the island of the Cyclopes and had a tragic encounter with Polyphemos. Before their encounter, Polyphemos had been given a prophecy warning him about a stranger named Odysseus.

When Odysseus went ashore for supplies, he became trapped in Polyphemos's cave and the beastly Cyclopes began to eat Odysseus's men. Odysseus told Polyphemos that his name was Nobody and cleverly tricked the Cyclops into drinking some potent wine. While Polyphemos slept in a drunken stupor, Odysseus blinded him with a searing tree trunk and escaped the cave.

As Odysseus and his men were fleeing the island, Odysseus shouted insults at Polyphemos and revealed his true name. Polyphemos realized that the prophecy had come true and called to his father Poseidon for justice. Poseidon's fury caused the deaths of all of Odysseus's men as well as a ten year ordeal before Odysseus was allowed to return to his home on the island of Ithaka.

Children of Poseidon

Taras

Taras was the eponymous founder of the prosperous costal city of Tarentum. He was the son of Poseidon and a Nymph of that country.

Tarentum

Tarentum

Children of Poseidon

Triton

Triton

Triton is a son of Poseidon and the Nereid, Amphitrite … he has the head and body of a man and the tail of a fish … he uses a conch shell as his trumpet.

After retrieving the Golden Fleece, Jason and the Argonauts were stranded in Libya [northern Africa] on the shores of the Tritonian Lake … Triton's Lake. They could not find their way to the sea and were in desperate need of divine assistance. They set out a tripod Jason had been given at the temple of Apollon at Delphi as an offering, hoping that an Immortal would see their plight and come to their assistance. Triton accepted their gift and rose from the depths in the guise of a young man.

The tripod indicated that they had Apollon's blessing and their ship was clear evidence that they had Athene and Hera's protection but they were stranded in his domain and needed his help. Triton humbly apologized that the barren land around his lake afforded no appropriate gifts so he offered them a clod of earth. He then showed them the course they should take to reach the sea. The clod of earth would later prove to be the "seed" for the island of Thera.

Homer and Hesiod

Although they were not children of Poseidon, Homer and Hesiod were thought to be his direct descendants and therefore infused with his divine blood. The poem The Contest of Homer and Hesiod gives a glimpse of their linage and might be represented as follows:

Poseidon > Aethusa    
Aethusa + Apollon > Linus
Linus > Pierus    
Pierus + Kalliope (Calliope) > Orpheus
Orpheus > Dres    
Dres > Eukles (Eucles)    
Eukles > Iadmonides    
Iadmonides > Philoterpes    
Philoterpes > Euphemus    
Euphemus > Epiphrades    
Epiphrades > Melanopus    
Melanopus > Dius and Apelles    
Dius + Pykimede (Pycimede) > Hesiod and Perses
Apelles > Maeon    
Maeon + daughter of Meles > Homer

Encounters with Poseidon

Poseidon

Zeus in Shackles

There is a brief mention in The Iliad of an incident involving Poseidon, Hera and Athene (Athena) … they put Zeus in shackles!

The relations between Hera and Zeus have always been contentious but her aggression is usually tempered with fear. Athene is a devoted daughter to Zeus but sometimes she becomes involved in the intrigues of Hera and runs afoul of Zeus. Of the Olympians, Poseidon is second only to Zeus in power and nobility … his difference to Zeus is a matter of respect … not fear.

We are told that Zeus was in shackles when the Nereid Thetis found him … she was powerless against Poseidon, Hera and Athene so she summoned Briareos to Mount Olympos … Briareos did not have to use his incredible strength against the rebel Immortals … he simply sat beside Zeus and the conflict was over. We are not told exactly how the shackles were removed but we might assume that Briareos easily ripped them off. In case you've forgotten, Briareos was one of the first sons of Gaia [Earth] and Ouranos [Heavens] … he has fifty heads and fifty arms … he is more than a match for the individual or combined might of Poseidon, Hera and Athene.

Encounters with Poseidon

Arethusa

Arethusa, daughter of Hyperes, had an affair with Poseidon and incurred the wrath of the goddess Hera. As to why Hera was enraged with this situation is not made clear but it appears that Arethusa was transformed into a fountain simply because she became the consort of Poseidon.

Encounters with Poseidon

List of Lovers

The Catalogue of Women gives an interesting account of Poseidon's lovers … the list includes: Amymone, Iphimedeia (Iphimedea), Lapethea, Methone, Alkyone (Alcyone), Kelaeno (Celaeno), Kalyke (Calyce), Mekionike (Mecionice), Laodike (Laodice), Tyro, Polyboea and the mortal Gorgon [Medusa].

Encounters with Poseidon

A Strange Request

Poseidon became infatuated with a mortal woman who happened to be the daughter of the king of the Lapithae … her name was Kaenis (Caenis). The young woman was reluctant to become the consort of a god so in order to win her affection, Poseidon agreed to give her anything she desired … her wish was to be turned into an man … her wish was granted and she was thereafter called Kaeneos (Caeneus).

Encounters with Poseidon

Periklymenos

Periklymenos (Periclymenus) was the eldest son of Neleus and Chloris … Neleus was a son of Poseidon therefore Periklymenos was Poseidon's grandson. Poseidon gave Periklymenos boundless strength and the ability to assume any shape he desired. Periklymenos could transform into an eagle, an ant, a swarm of bees, a snake or any other form.

Periklymenos sailed with Jason and the Argonauts but his individual exploits are not mentioned in The Argonautika. Another Argonaut named Iphitos (Iphitus) played an important role in the eventual death of Periklymenos at the hands of Herakles (Heracles).

After the voyage of the Argonauts, Herakles threw Iphitos from the walls of the city of Tiryns. When Herakles asked Neleus for absolution for the murder of Iphitos, Neleus refused … in a rage, Herakles killed Neleus, Periklymenos and his brother Chromios.

During the fight with Periklymenos, the goddess Athene (Athena) warned Herakles about Periklymenos's shape-shifting abilities. When Periklymenos assumed the shape of a bird and perched on the yoke-boss of Herakles's chariot, Herakles killed Periklymenos with an arrow.

Encounters with Poseidon

Mestra

Poseidon endowed several mortals with the ability to be shape-shifters … they could assume the guise of a variety of people or animals … a woman named Mestra was given that facility but she chose to use it in a very questionable way.

Mestra was the daughter of a cursed man named Erysichthon … he had violated a sacred grove of Demeter [goddess of the Harvest] and she cursed him with unquenchable hunger. To support his voracious appetite, he would either sell Mestra or collect a marriage dowry and then she would shape-shift and desert her owner or husband … when she was reunited with her father again, they would repeat the deception over and over again.

The goddess Athene Athena finally put an end to their schemes … Poseidon transported Mestra to the island of Kos (Cos) where she gave birth to Poseidon's son, Eurypylos.

Encounters with Poseidon

Poseidon, Flooder

Poseidon was surnamed Prosklystios (Prosclystius) [Flooder] by the people near Mount Sipylos (Sipylus) on the Peloponnesian Peninsula for what might seem to be obvious reasons but is actually quite convoluted.

There was an important debate as to which of the Immortals had dominion over the land around Mount Sipylos. The people reasoned that since the goddess Hera was often called Hera of Argos, she should be honored above all other deities … Hera did not agree. She induced Poseidon to flood the lowlands to show his dominance and her displeasure. The people understood exactly what was expected of them … they built a temple for Poseidon Prosklystios at the spot where the tide ebbed.

Encounters with Poseidon

Poseidon, Nurturer

Near the city of Troezen on the southern Peloponnesian Peninsula is a sanctuary of Poseidon Phytalmios [Nurturer]. The sanctuary was established to appease Poseidon for inundating the farmland and making it barren. The reason Poseidon was wroth with the people of Troezen is not stated but after the sanctuary was set aside for Poseidon as the Nurturer, the punishment ceased.

Encounters with Poseidon

Aethra and Poseidon

Aethra was the mother of the Athenian hero Theseus … she became pregnant as the consort of King Aegeus of Athens and raised Theseus at Troezen until he was old enough to join his father and claim his royal inheritance.

No precise time frame is given for the following incident but it's assumed that it happened sometime after the birth of Theseus. One of the islands near the mainland was named Sphaeria to honor the hero Sphaerus who was buried on the island … Sphaerus was the charioteer of Pelops. Aethra had a dream inspired by the goddess Athene (Athena) … the goddess instructed Aethra to cross over the shallow waters to the island … Poseidon was waiting for Aethra when she arrived on the island and had relations with her. To commemorate the occurrence, Aethra had a temple built and dedicated it to Athene Apaturia [Deceiver]. It became the custom for Troezenian maidens to dedicate their girdles to Athene Apaturia before they married.

Encounters with Poseidon

Poseidon at Delphi

The oracle of Apollon at Kalaurea (Calaurea) implied that before Apollon established his shrine at Delphi, the site was sacred to Poseidon.

Also the poet Musaeus, son of Antiophemus, said that before Apollon came to Delphi, the oracle belonged to Gaia [Earth] and Poseidon. Gaia gave her oracles herself, but Poseidon used a man named Pyrkon (Pyrcon) as his medium in giving responses.

The temple of Apollon was built at Delphi and became the most famous oracular site in the ancient world.

Encounters with Poseidon

Sacred Lake

In Lakonia near the city of Aegiae [called Augeae by Homer] is a lake called Poseidon's … there is a temple with a statue of Poseidon next to the lake. No fish are taken from the lake because after fishing in the lake, fishermen have been known to transform into a fish called "the fisher."

Encounters with Poseidon

Delayed Protection

Circa 464 BCE the Spartans incurred the wrath of Poseidon by violating the sanctity of supplicants. Several criminals were found guilty of serious crimes and condemned to death. When the opportunity arose, the condemned men escaped and fled to the town of Taenarum … they presented themselves as supplicants and expected to be protected under common law … the Spartan Ephors were more interested in justice than formalities … they seized the men and put them to death. Poseidon "razed all their city to the ground."

Encounters with Poseidon

The Island of Chios

The island of Chios got its name from Poseidon's encounter with a Nymph. The island that we call Chios was uninhabited by mortals when Poseidon visited the island … he met and had relations with an unnamed Nymph of the island … when she went into labor snow began to fall. Poseidon named the island Chios because the Greek word for snow is χιονι, which roughly translates into English as Chios.

Chios

Encounters with Poseidon

Earthquake and Tidal Wave

Helike (Helice) was located on the northern coast of the Peloponnesian Peninsula, west of the city of Corinth. The wrath of Poseidon was never more severe than when he erased the city and inhabitants of Helike. The people of Helike had no idea that their ill-conceived actions would have such a devastating effect on their city.

The reason Poseidon vented his wrath on Helike is not entirely clear but it revolved around a confrontation with some Ionians who wanted to build a replica of the altar of Poseidon at Helike. The Helikians either killed the Ionian supplicants [according to Pausanias] or scattered the Ionian's sacred possessions and took their representatives captive [according to Diodorus Siculus]. Regardless, the punishment from Poseidon was immediate and extreme.

The disaster began with an earthquake … the entire city was swallowed. A short time later, the sea flooded the area that Helike once occupied and covered the land to the tops of the trees. The combination of earthquake and tidal wave swallowed up Helike and every person in it.

Helike

Encounters with Poseidon

Aepytus

Aepytus was a hero from Arkadia (Arcadia) but his fame and bravery could not protect him when he defied Poseidon. Aepytus dared to enter the sanctuary of Poseidon at Mantineia where mortals are forbidden to pass.

By the foot of Mount Alesium there was an ancient sanctuary of Horse Poseidon very near Mantineia. A modern sanctuary was built around the old wooden structure by the Roman Emperor Hadrian, who set overseers over the workmen, so that no one would look into the old sanctuary … he was also careful that none of the oaken ruins of the old sanctuary were removed.

After the new sanctuary was finished, no barrier or gate was placed at the entrance because it was common knowledge that entry was forbidden to mortals … a simple thread was stretched across the entry … some people thought that the thread had some sort of "power" that would discourage righteous people from entering the sanctuary.

Aepytus did not jump over or slip under the thread, he cut it and violated the scared ground … a wave sent by Poseidon dashed into his eyes and blinded him … soon afterwards, he died.

Encounters with Poseidon

Horses for the Whirlpool

In Arkadia (Arcadia) horses were sacrificed to Poseidon for his gift of fresh water rising in the salty sea. The Inachus River goes underground and then reemerges in the sea as fresh water by what in Argolis is called Genethlium … at one time it was the custom to adorn horses with bridles and drown them in the fresh water of the Dine [Whirlpool] as a tribute to Poseidon.

Encounters with Poseidon

Poseidon the Lamb

Poseidon is one of the six children of Kronos (Cronos) and Rheia (Rhea) but Poseidon is usually included in the five children who were swallowed by Kronos and not really "born" until his brother Zeus freed him [and the other four children] from Kronos's interior. There is another account of Poseidon's birth that deserves our attention.

Circa 160 CE the Arkadians (Arcadians) told the traveler/historian Pausanias the following story: Rheia was in Arkadia near a place called the Dancing Floor of Maera when she gave birth to Poseidon. She placed the infant Poseidon among a flock of sheep by a spring called Lamb [Αρνη] … she then told Kronos that she had given birth to a horse and gave him a foal to swallow instead of the child, just as later she gave him a stone wrapped up in swaddling clothes in place of the infant Zeus.

Encounters with Poseidon

Poseidon in Battle

Not far from the sanctuary of Horse Poseidon near Mantineia is a war trophy commemorating the victory of the Mantineans over the Lakedaemonians (Lacedaemonians). The Lakedaemonian King Agis was confidant and perhaps a little careless … the Mantineans were confidant too but their bravado came from a prophecy of victory delivered by an Elean seer named Thrasybulus.

When the battle was engaged, the Mantineans feigned a retreat … the Lakedaemonians blundered into the trap, were surrounded and finally defeated. The Mantineans were adamant that Poseidon had entered the battle on their behalf … a victory trophy was erected in honor of Poseidon's assistance.

Encounters with Poseidon

A Fishing Story

The Korkyraeans (Corcyraeans) had an unusual encounter with Poseidon that involved their inability to catch fish. They noticed that every day a bull would lead the cows to the shore and then bellow towards the water … at that moment, the fishermen would see countless fish but their nets would always come up empty. An envoy was sent to Delphi hoping that Apollon's oracle could explain the strange phenomena. The Pythia [priestess of Apollon] told them to sacrifice a bull to Poseidon. The sacrifice was made and they were able to catch fish … in gratitude, the fishermen dedicated a potion of their catch to Apollon at Delphi and to Zeus at Olympia.

The Ichthyophagi

Encounters with Poseidon

The Ichthyophagi

Some of the Libyans [north Africans] worshiped Poseidon as the god of the Harvest … the Greeks of course gave that honor to the goddess Demeter. These Libyans were called the Ichthyophagi [Fish-Eaters] and as is evident by their name, harvested fish from the sea and thus the lord of the Sea was their benefactor.

Encounters with Poseidon

Monster Unleashed

When Herakles was returning from the land of the Amazons after completing his Ninth Labor, he stopped at Troy just in time to save the king's daughter from one of Poseidon's ketos, i.e. sea monsters. King Laomedon [whose great-great grandfather, Dardanos, was a son of Zeus] had neglected to give proper tribute to Poseidon and as punishment, his daughter Hesione was to be sacrificed to one of Poseidon's beastly minions. There is a wonderful proto-Corinthian krater [shown below] from circa 560 BCE with Herakles shooting arrows at the giant skull-faced monster while Hesione stands face-to-face with the foul creature bravely throwing rocks.

Herakles and Hesione

The above image is from the Greek Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and complies with their fair use stipulations … museum accession number 63.420.

Encounters with Poseidon

Gifts for Herakles

After completing his Twelve Labors, Herakles (Heracles) initiated the first Olympic Games at Olympia, Elis … only Immortals were allowed to participate in the games. To show their gratitude for Herakles's tenacity, each of the Immortals of Mount Olympos (Olympus) gave him a gift … Poseidon gave him horses. It's not stated directly, but it might be assumed that one of those horses was the immortal Arion (Areion), the offspring of Poseidon and Demeter [goddess of the Harvest].

Encounters with Poseidon

Kadmos and the Storm

Kadmos

Kadmos

An important visitor to the island of Rhodes was Kadmos (Cadmus), the son of Agenor. Kadmos was searching for his sister Europa who had been seduced by Zeus when he assumed the guise of a bull and then fled Phoenicia with the young woman. Zeus took Europa to Crete and Kadmos was in pursuit … after nearly being killed by a tempest at sea, Kadmos landed on Rhodes. Thankful for his survival, Kadmos founded a temple of Poseidon and left several of his Phoenician sailors to oversee the temple … the Phoenicians formed a hereditary line of priests and introduced the Phoenician alphabet to the Rhodians.

Encounters with Poseidon

Supplication and Acquittal

There was an unnamed Spartan commander who invented an ingenious but cowardly way of getting rid undesirable soldiers. He would order them to deliver a sealed message that read, "Kill this messenger." The recipient of the message would dutifully kill the messenger with no questions asked because the Spartans were notorious for their obedience to duty.

Finally, a soldier suspected what was happening … when he was ordered to deliver a sealed message, he opened it … his suspicions were confirmed … his commander intended for him to die. The messenger took the message to the Spartan Ephors who oversaw all aspects of Spartan life … the Ephors refused to act because the seal was broken and the message might have been aleterd. The messenger admitted that he had opened the message but was unwilling to accept punishment for what he considered to be a justifiable crime … he took refuge in a temple of Poseidon.

The Ephors were bound by the law and could not acquit the messenger for an admitted crime, however they suspected something was afoot and hid in the temple until the messengers' commander came to confront him … the commander boldly admitted to his crimes thinking that the messenger was doomed … the Ephors heard what was said and justice was done.

Encounters with Poseidon

Alexander verses Poseidon

Alexander the Great

Alexander the Great

When Alexander the Great was besieging the city of Tyre in 332 BCE he had trouble capturing the citadel because it was on an island adjacent to the city. To get access to the citadel, Alexander decided to build a mole [land bridge] from the shore to the citadel. The Tyrians jeered Alexander's workers by asking if they were trying to get the better of Poseidon. After much effort, the mole was abandoned because it proved to be an impossible task … Alexander and the Tyrians agreed that Poseidon had caused the construction of the mole to fail.

Surnames of Poseidon

For the Immortals, a surname is often added to their given names to denote an honor or a unique characteristic … in many cases surnames are exclusive to a particular area or city.

Earth-Shaker

Shaker of the Earth

 

Earth-Embracer

Earth-Holder

Holder of the Earth

 

The Dark-Haired God

Dark-Haired Lord

 

Poseidon King

Poseidon of the House

Poseidon God of Kin

 

Poseidon God of Horses

Horse Poseidon

 

Poseidon God from Argos

Helikonian Poseidon

Onchestian Poseidon

Lord of Helikon

Isthmian Poseidon

Poseidon Taenarum

 

Πελαγιος [of the Sea]

Πελαγαιος [Marine]

Σωτηρ [Savior]

Προσκλυστιος [Flooder]

Φυαλμιου [Nurturer]

Γενεσιος [Remembering the Dead]

Ασφαλιος [Securer or Giver of Safety]

Ιπποκουριος [Horse-tending]

Λαοιτα Poseidon Laoetas

Εποπτου [Overseer]

Poseidon

Poseidon is often confused with the Roman god, Neptunus.

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