The Story of Poseidon

Powerful Essays
The Story of Poseidon

(Roman - Neptune)

Poseidon was the ruler of the sea, and a powerful god in Greek mythology who was often called the "Earth-shaker." His father was the Titan Cronus, who at the time was ruler of the Universe, and his mother was Rhea. Cronus was a paranoid ruler, because it had been prophesized that one of his own sons would dethrone him, just as Cronus had done to his father, Uranus.

Thus, Cronus would swallow the children whom Rhea bore him. He figured that it was the safest way to ensure that none of his offspring overthrew him.

One by one, the children were swallowed by Cronus: first Hestia, then Demeter, Hera, Hades and Poseidon. (Some mythographers claim that Rhea tricked Cronus by presenting a foal instead of the baby Poseidon for consumption, but most agree that Poseidon had been swallowed like the rest of his siblings.)

Needless to say, this constant swallowing of her children enraged Rhea. She bore her third son, Zeus, in the middle of the night and gave him for safekeeping to Gaea (Mother Earth). She fooled Cronus into believing he had swallowed his new son by substituting a rock wrapped in baby blankets.

When Zeus grew up, and with the help of Gaea and his mother Rhea, he slipped Cronus a potion that made the Titan disgorge the swallowed children. Being gods, they were unharmed, albeit a tad dazed and confused. With Zeus serving as their leader, Poseidon, Hades, Hestia, Demeter and Hera waged war against the Titans for supremacy of the Universe.

Assisted by the Cyclops (they gave Zeus his thunderbolts, Poseidon his trident and Hades his helmet of invisibility) and the Hecatoncheires (the Hundred-handed-ones), the siblings fought a terrible war that lasted ten years. In the end they were victorious, banishing their vanquished foes to the deepest depths of the Underworld, called Tartarus. This dark and woeful place is as far beneath the earth as heaven is above the earth. Around Tartarus runs a fence of bronze with gates of bronze, which Poseidon fixed in such as way as to offer no escape, and there the Titans were forever confined.

After Zeus, with his brothers and sisters, defeated the Titans and dethroned Cronus, the three brothers drew lots out of a helmet to determine which one of the three realms each would rule. Zeus won the heavens and thus became the supreme ruler, Hades got the Underworld and Poseid...

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...rms began, but when he drove in his golden chariot over the water, the storms subsided and tranquil peace followed his wheels.

Neptune and his Horses

By E. K. Birce, 1880

Ancient sailors and warriors would pray and offer tributes to the great Poseidon prior to undertaking a sea journey. In turn, Poseidon could be cruel and hostile to those who displeased him, such as the hero of the Trojan War, Odysseus, who suffered great tribulations at the hands of Poseidon while embarked on his Odyssey back home.

Both the bull and the horse are associated with Poseidon, but the bull is associated with many other gods as well, so the horse can be considered his animal.

He was always depicted carrying, or using, his distinguishing weapon, the trident, a three-pronged spear which he used to shatter and shake anything he pleased, much like his brother Zeus used his thunderbolts. That's why he was commonly referred to as the "Earth Shaker". The trident, his symbol, was the gift of the Cyclopes, who had fought with the Olympians versus the Titans.

He was always accompanied by his son, Triton, who was half man, half fish. Triton would blow on his seashell to announce Poseidon's arrival.