Document belonging to the Greek Mythology Link, a web site created by Carlos Parada, author of Genealogical Guide to Greek Mythology
Characters • Places • TopicsImagesBibliographyPDF Editions
About
Copyright © 1997 Carlos Parada and Maicar Förlag.

Poseidon
Ποσειδῶν

2319: Poseidon and Amphitrite. Painting by Jan Gossaert, 1478-1532. Gemälde Galerie Kulturforum, Berlin.

Poseidon, the earth-shaker, was alotted the dominion of the sea (just as Zeus got the sky, and Hades the Underworld); and he received the trident from the CYCLOPES (just as Zeus got the thunderbolt, and Hades a helmet). Poseidon was the first to concern himself with seafaring, and the first to tame horses.

Birth and childhood

The Arcadians say that when Poseidon was born his mother declared to her husband Cronos, who used to swallow his offspring at birth, that she had given birth to a horse, and so she presented him a foal to swallow instead of the child, just as later she offered him a wrapped stone in place of Zeus. Rhea 1 committed the child Poseidon to Caphira (one of the OCEANIDS) and to the TELCHINES (see CORYBANTES), so that they would nurture him, much in the way as she later committed Zeus to the CURETES for his protection. But others say that Poseidon was swallowed by his father, as also were his siblings Hestia, Hera, Hades and Demeter; for they assert that only Zeus escaped that fate.

Lord of the sea

When Zeus had grown up, he asked Metis 1 to help him against his father Cronos, who was a stern tyrant; so she gave Cronos a drug, which forced him to disgorge first the stone with which Rhea 1 had deluded him, and then the children whom he had swallowed, among which Poseidon. And with the aid of his brothers and sisters Zeus waged war against Cronos and the TITANS, whom he defeated and cast into Tartarus, a place as far beneath the earth as heaven is above earth. Having won victory, they cast lots for the sovereignty, and to Zeus was allotted the dominion of the sky, to Poseidon the dominion of the sea, and to Hades the dominion of the Underworld. Then Poseidon constructed the brazen fence that runs round Tartarus and its gates of bronze, behind which the TITANS were confined (for Tartarus see also Underworld).

Plots against Zeus

Poseidon took once part in a minor conspiracy in heaven; for he, along with Hera and Athena, had agreed to put Zeus in bonds. However, he was saved by Briareus (one of the HECATONCHEIRES), whom Achilles' mother Thetis had called to Zeus' rescue; and by just squatting down close to him and through the mere display of his force, Briareus frightened Poseidon and the goddesses away.

Dispute with Helius

According to the Corinthians, this same Briareus acted as adjudicator arbitrating between Helius and Poseidon, who had a dispute concerning the lands about Corinth. He then assigned to Poseidon the Isthmus of Corinth including the adjacent lands, and gave to Helius the height above the city (Acrocorinthus).

Dispute with Hera

A similar dispute, though this time for the patronage of Argos, involved Poseidon and Hera. A tribunal of three RIVER GODS: Inachus, Cephisus, and Asterion 2, decided on this occasion that Argolis would belong to Hera and not to Poseidon. Disappointed with this judgement, the god made their waters disappear, and that is why they never provide any water except after rain, their streams being dry during the summer. But since little and much must compensate each other, Poseidon inundated many districts in Argolis because of the decisions of the RIVER GODS. Lerna is however, excepted; for it was here that Amymone 1 (one of the DANAIDS) yielded to Poseidon on condition that she might have water, and the god, being in love with her, revealed to her the springs at Lerna.

Dispute with Athena (I)

Yet another disagreement concerning the patronage of lands and cities arised between Poseidon and Athena in relation to Troezen. But Zeus commanded them to hold this city in common, and so they did. This dispute took place during the reign of King Althepus, himself son of Poseidon and Leis, the daughter of Orus 1, predecessor of Althepus.

Amphitrite. 4611: Joseph-Marie Vien 1716-1809: Triomphe d'Amphitrite. Musée des beaux arts, Caen.

Dispute with Athena (II)

Poseidon, they say, was the first who came to Attica; and with a blow of his trident on the Acropolis, he produced a sea or, as some say, just a well of sea-water that could be seen in the Erechtheum on the Acropolis not far from the outline of the trident on the rock. These were the evidences in support of Poseidon's claim to the land. But Athena, coming after him, planted an olive tree and claimed the land; and since they fought for the possession of the country, Zeus parted them and appointed the OLYMPIANS as arbiters, who adjudged the city to Athena, because King Cecrops 1 witnessed that she had been the first to plant the olive tree. Athena called the city Athens after herself, but Poseidon, angry at the verdict flooded Attica. However, some say that it was Zeus who ajudged Athens to Athena, and that Poseidon never flooded the country because Hermes forbade him to do so. In any case, in the shrine of Erechtheus there remained preserved a long time an olive tree and a pool of salt water which had been set there by Athena and Poseidon as tokens when they contended for the city.

Thetis

Zeus and Poseidon were once rivals for the hand of Thetis, but when Themis, or the MOERAE, or Proteus 2 prophesied that the son born of Thetis would be mightier than his father, they withdrew. Zeus then, bade his grandson Peleus to marry her, and from their union Achilles was born, who was mightier than his father.

Marriage

It is said that when Poseidon decided to marry the Oceanid Amphitrite, she, wishing to remain a virgin, escaped and fled to Atlas. Poseidon then send many to look for her, and among them a certain Delphin, who after long wanderings, found her and persuaded her to marry Poseidon, organizing himself the whole wedding. For this reason, they say, Poseidon put the dolphin among the CONSTELLATIONS.

The walls of Troy

When Laomedon 1 was king of Troy, Apollo and Poseidon decided to put him to the test, and assuming the likeness of mortal men, fortified the city for wages. But when the work was done, King Laomedon 1 would not pay their wages; so Apollo sent a pestilence, and Poseidon sent a sea-monster that snatched away the people of the plain. Since oracles foretold deliverance from these calamities if Laomedon 1 would expose Hesione 2 to be devoured by the sea-monster, he exposed her by fastening her to the rocks near the sea, but Heracles 1 delivered her.

More monsters

On another occasion, Poseidon sent another sea-monster against the Teucrians because Hierax 2, otherwise a righteous man, was devoted to Demeter, and would not honour him. Poseidon also shared the wrath of the NEREIDS, when Queen Cassiopea 2 boasted of being better than them; and he sent a flood and yet another sea-monster to invade the land. The seer Ammon 3 predicted deliverance from the calamity if the queen's daughter Andromeda were exposed as a prey to the monster. So her father King Cepheus 1 was then compelled by the Ethiopians to do it, and he bound Andromeda to a rock. But the girl was rescued by Perseus 1, who slaughtered the beast. Poseidon heard his son Theseus when he, believing Phaedra's charges against Hippolytus 4, prayed to the god that Hippolytus 4 might perish. And when this young man was riding in his chariot and driving beside the sea, Poseidon sent up a bull from the waves, and the horses were frightened, the chariot dashed to pieces, and Hippolytus 4, entangled in the reins, was dragged to death.

Atlantis

In the legend of Atlantis, which is not connected to other myths except for the names of Atlas and Poseidon, the first ten kings of Atlantis (five pairs of twins) were all sons of Poseidon and Cleito 2. The first born was Atlas, who was appointed to be king over the rest, and the island was called after him.


Family 

Parentage


Mates & Offspring
"a)", "b)", etc. indicate different versions; "---" means unknown

Mates

Offspring

Notes

Arethusa 1

Abas 1

Arethusa 1 is one of the NEREIDS. Abas 1 was king in the island of Euboea, where the inhabitants were called Abantians after him. He was father of Canethus 1 and, some say, of Canthus 1. Canethus 1 is counted among the ARGONAUTS.

Larisa 1

Achaeus 2

Larisa 1 is daughter of Pelasgus 2, son of Triopas 1, son of Phorbas 1, son of Argus 5, son of Zeus and Niobe 1, the daughter of Phoroneus, the first man. Achaeus 2 is the eponym of the district called Achaea.

Arne

Aeolus 3

This Aeolus is said to have come in possession of the islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea which are called Aeolian after him.

Alcyone 1

Aethusa

Alcyone 1 is one of the PLEIADES.

Nymph 10

Agelus

 

Libya

Agenor 1

Agenor 1, who sometimes is called son of Belus 1 & Anchinoe, was born in Egypt but departed to Phoenicia and reigned there. He had children either by Telephassa, or by Argiope 2: Europa, Cadmus, Phoenix 1, Cilix, Thasus, and Phineus 2.

Canace

Aloeus 1

Aloeus 1 is the founder of Alus, a city of Aetolia.

Leis

Althepus

Althepus was king of Troezen.

---

Amphimarus

Amphimarus is said to be the father of Linus 1, a great musician.

Melie

Amycus 1

Melie was a Bithynian Nymph. Amycus 1 was king of the Bebrycians, who received the ARGONAUTS.

a) Althaea

Ancaeus 2

For Althaea see MOERAE. Ancaeus 2, king of Samos, is one of the ARGONAUTS.

b) Astypalea

 

---

Antaeus 1

See Heracles 1.

Alcyone 1

Anthas

Anthas founded Anthea or Anthedon (now Poros). Later he emigrated and founded Halicarnassus.


Demeter

Arion 1

Arion 1 was a horse.

a) Pero 1

Asopus

Asopus is a River God. He made his home in Phlius, but in search of his daughter Aegina, who had been carried off, he came to Corinth and learned from Sisyphus that the ravisher was Zeus. Asopus pursued him, but Zeus, by hurling thunderbolts, sent him away to his own streams.

b) Celusa

 

Mideia

Aspledon

Aspledon gave his name to Aspledon, near Boeotian Orchomenus.

Tritonis


Athena

The Lake Tritonis in Libya. According to the Libyans Athena was the daughter of Poseidon and Lake Tritonis.

Cleito 2

The kings of Atlantis

 

---

Augeas

See Heracles 1.

Libya

Belus 1

King of Egypt.


Amphitrite

Benthesicyme

Benthesicyme had two daughters by an Ethiopian husband.

a) Arne

Boeotus

After Boeotus the Boeotians are called

b) Antiope 5

 

a) Lysianassa 2

Busiris 2

See Heracles 1.

b) Anippe

 

Celaeno 1

Celaenus 2

Celaeno 1 is one of the DANAIDS.

Pirene 2

Cenchrias

Cenchrias gave his name to the Corinthian harbor of Cenchrae. When he died Pirene 2 shed so many tears that she became a spring.

Nymph 9 Chian

Chios

 


Medusa 1

Chrysaor

Chrysaor was King of Iberia.

Chrysogenia

Chryses 1

Chryses 1 succeeded Phlegyas 1 as king of the Phlegyans. Father of Minyas.

---

Corynetes

A bandit. He carried a club and with it killed anyone who passed by. Was killed by Theseus.

---

Cromus 2

 

Molione

Cteatus

One of the MOLIONIDES. General of the Eleans against Heracles 1.

Salamis

Cychreus

Cychreus became king of Salamis through killing a snake which ravaged the island and bequeathed the kingdom to Telamon, father of Ajax 1. The island is called after his mother.

Calyce 2

Cycnus 1

King in Colonae, a city in the Troad.

---

Cymopolea

Poseidon gave this daughter to Briareus on account of his braveness in the war against the TITANS.

---

Dercynus

This Dercynus attempted, in Liguria, to rob Heracles 1 of the cattle of Geryon.


Demeter

Despoina

The real name of this mistress not to be divulged to the uninitiated.

Agamede

Dictys 4

Agamede was the eldest of Augeas' daughters.

Eurycyda

Eleius 1

Eurycyda is daughter of Endymion. Eleius 1 is the eponym of the Eleans, who live in Elis.

Melantheia

Eirene 2

 

Iphimedia

Ephialtes 2

Poseidon consorted with Iphimedia, taking the form of the river Enipeus. For the child see ALOADS in Zeus.

Canace

Epopeus 1

Epopeus 1 was an immigrant from Thessaly. He became king of Sicyon.

---

Erginus 2

One of the ARGONAUTS.

---

Eryx 1

King over the Elymi in Italy, who challenged Heracles 1 to wrestle for the sake of a bull.

Chione 1

Eumolpus 1

Eumolpus 1 was thrown into the sea by his mother and brought up by Benthesicyme. Cleansed Heracles 1 of the slaughter of the CENTAURS and initiated him at Eleusis. Fought on the side of the Eleusinians in their war against the Athenians and was killed by Erechtheus.

a) Europe 2

Euphemus 1

Mecionice was native of Hyria. Euphemus 1 came from Psamathe to join the ARGONAUTS. Received a magical clod from Triton and threw it into the sea, following a dream, and therefrom rose an island, Calliste, where his descendants, led by Theras, came.

b) Mecionice

 

Celaeno 2

Euphemus 4

Celaeno 2 is one of the PLEIADES.

Astypalea

Eurypylus 4

Eurypylus 4 was king of Cos.

Molione

Eurytus 1

One of the MOLIONIDES. General of the Eleans against Heracles 1.

---

Eusiros

 

Pitana

Evadne 3

Evadne 3 consorted with Apollo and became the ancestor of a family of seers.

Euryte 1

Halirrhothius

 

Antiope 5

Hellen 2

 

Alope

Hippothous 2

Poseidon transformed Alope into a spring that was called after her. Hippothous 2 was exposed by her mother but was suckled by a mare. He became one of the CALYDONIAN HUNTERS.

Canace

Hopleus 1

 

Alcyone 1

Hyperenor 1

Hyperenor 1 is the founder of Hyperea.

Alcyone 1

Hyrieus

Hyrieus owned a treasure inside a building built by Trophonius and Agamedes 1, which had a stone that they could take away from the outside, thus robbing him, until one of them was caught in a trap made by Hyrieus.

---

Ialebion

Attempted, in Liguria, to rob Heracles 1 of the kine of Geryon but was killed by him.

Arene

Idas 2

The city Arene in Messenia is named after her. Idas 2 is one of the ARGONAUTS and one of the CALYDONIAN HUNTERS. He killed Castor 1, one of the DIOSCURI.

---

Laestrygon

From him sprang the people of the isle of Ortygia

---

Lamia 1

Lamia 1 was seduced by Zeus and Sibyl was born. Sibyl is a surname, but this is the first woman who chanted the oracles at Delphi.

Pirene 2

Leches

Leches gave his name to the Corinthian harbor of Lechaeum.

Libya

Lelex 2

Lelex 2 came from Egyp to Laconia and there he became king.

Themisto 2

Leuconoe 2

 

Celaeno 2

Lycus 2

Poseidon made Lycus 2 dwell in the Islands of the Blest.

---

Lycus 6

A descendant of Lycus 5 from Dirphys in Euboea, who killed Creon 2 and seized power in Thebes. Killed by Heracles 1.

Oenope

Megareus 2

Came from Onchestus with an army of Boeotians to help Nisus 1 in his war against Minos 2, but was killed in battle. The city of Megara was named after him.

---

Melas 4

 

---

Messapus

Messapus fought against Aeneas in Italy as an ally of Turnus.

---

Minyas

Owned a marvellous treasure in Orchomenus. The Minyans are called after him.

Melie

Mygdon

Melie was a Bithynian Nymph. Mygdon was the king of the Bebrycians who once fought with Priam 1 against the AMAZONS.

Amymone 1

Nauplius 1

Amymone 1 was one of the DANAIDS (see text above). Nauplius 1 lived to a great age and to avenge the death of his son contrived for the wives of the Greeks fighting at Troy to play their husbands false (see Agamemnon).

Periboea 1

Nausithous 1

Nausithous 1 was king of the Phaeacians (Corcyra).

Tyro

Neleus

Neleus was exposed as a child. When he and his twin brother were grown up they killed their stepmother Sidero. Having been banished he came to Messenia and founded Pylos.

Canace

Nireus 1

 

Celaeno 2

Nycteus 1

Nycteus 1 is sometimes said to be the father of Callisto.

Ascra

Oeoclus

Oeoclus founded Ascra together with the ALOADS. (For the ALOADS see Zeus.)

---

Onchestus 2

After whom a city Onchestus was named in Boeotia.

Euryale 2

Orion

Euryale 2 is a daughter of Minos 2. Orion was of gigantic stature. Poseidon bestowed on him the power of striding across the sea. He wooed Merope 3, the daughter of Oenopion 1. But Oenopion 1 made him drunk, put out his eyes as he slept, and cast him on the beach. But he went to the smithy of Hephaestus, and snatching up a lad set him on his shoulders and bade him lead him to the sunrise. When he arrived there he was healed by the sun's rays.

Iphimedia

Otus 1

Poseidon consorted with Iphimedia, taking the form of the river Enipeus. For the child see ALOADS in Zeus.

Cleodora 1

Parnassus

After Parnassus Mount Parnassus was named. Founder of the oldest city in Phocis.


Medusa 1


Pegasus

Pegasus is a winged horse which opened up a spring on a mountain by striking the rock with its hoof. Bellerophon mounted it when he went to kill the Chimera. It is said to have leapt forth from the teeming neck of the slain Medusa 1, its mane bespattered with blood.

Larisa 1

Pelasgus 4

The country Pelasgiotis is called after Pelasgus 4.

Tyro


Pelias 1

Pelias 1 was king of Iolcus after Cretheus 1. He bade Jason to go in quest of the Golden Fleece. His daughters were persuaded by Medea to make mincemeat of their father and boil him, because Medea promised them to make him young again with her drugs.

Calchinia

Peratus

Peratus was king of Sicyon.

Astypalea

Periclymenus 3

Periclymenus 3 was a defender of Thebes against the SEVEN.

Corcyra

Phaeax 1

From Phaeax 1 the Phaeacians, who lived in Corcyra, received their name.

---


Phineus 2

Phineus 2 was king and seer from Salmydessus in Thrace who had lost the sight of both eyes. He is variously alleged to have been blinded by the gods for foretelling men the future; or by Boreas 1 and the ARGONAUTS because he blinded his own sons at the instigation of their stepmother; or by Poseidon, because he revealed to the children of Phrixus 1 how they could sail from Colchis to Greece. The gods also sent the HARPIES to him. These were winged female creatures, and when a table was laid for Phineus 2, they flew down from the sky and snatched up most of the victuals, and what little they left stank so that nobody could touch it. But the ARGONAUTS chased the HARPIES away. Being rid of them, he revealed to the ARGONAUTS the course of their voyage.

---

Phocus 4

After Phocus 4 Phocis was named.

Larisa 1

Phthius 2

The country Phthiotis is called after Phthius 2.

---

Poltys

An Aenian.

Thoosa


Polyphemus 2

A huge, wild cannibal with one eye on his forehead, whom Odysseus blinded. Was in love with Galatea 1 but was refused by her.

---

Procrustes

Offered hospitality to the passers-by and laid the short men on a big bed and hammered them, to make them fit in the bed, but the tall men he laid on a little bed and sawed off the portions of their bodies that projected beyond it. Was killed by Theseus.

---


Proteus 2

The Old Man of the Sea. A seer who knows all that has been, is now, and lies in store, though reluctant to answer questions. By his art he changed his real figure for a false semblance, but soon returned to his true form.

Theophane

Ram 1

Poseidon carried Theophane off and to deceive her suitors changed her into a ewe and himself into a ram. Ram 1 is the ram with the Golden Fleece. It was given to Nephele 2 by Hermes. It bore Phrixus 1 and Helle through the sky to Colchis. This is the Golden Fleece which the ARGONAUTS fetched.

a) Amphitrite

Rhode 2

Halia is a sister of the TELCHINES.

b) Halia

 

---

Sarpedon 2

 

---

Sciron

Disputed with Nisus 1 about the throne. He compelled passers-by to wash his feet and in the act of washing he kicked them into the sea to be the prey of a huge turtle. Was killed by Theseus.

Hippothoe 3

Taphius

Taphius colonized Taphos and called the people Teleboans.

Nymph 12 Tarentine

Taras

 

Thalatta

TELCHINES

Thalatta is the sea. The TELCHINES are sometime said to have nursed Poseidon and sometimes they are said ot be his offspring (see text above).

---

Thasus

Settled in an island off Thrace and founded a city, Thasus.


Aethra 2


Theseus

See Theseus.

Canace

Triopas 2

 


Amphitrite

Triton

For Triton see BESTIARY.

---

Urea

 

Beroe 5

---

After Beroe 5 the city Berytos (Beyrut) in Lebanon was called. Aphrodite came to Harmonia 3, who possessed the oracles of Ophion 1, asking whether the gift of Justice would be assigned to the city of her own daughter Beroe 5. Dionysus 2 fell in love with her and Poseidon as well. They had to fight for her but Poseidon won.

Erysichthon 2's Daughter

---

Her father's greed for food was so great that, at last, when all his fortunes had been swallowed up, he sold his daughter. But she prayed to Poseidon and the god changed her form, giving her the features of a man and garments proper to a fisherman. When her master went away her former shape was given back to her. But when her father noticed that his daughter had the power to turn into different forms, he sold her often and to many master. With each new master she changed into a new form.

Ossa

Sithon 2

Sithon 2 was king of the Thracian Chersonesus, and father of Pallene by the nymph Mendeis (Con.10)


Related sections Poseidon in GROUPS: OLYMPIANS METAMORPHOSES 
Sources
Abbreviations

Apd.1.2.1; Con.10; Dio.5.69.4; Eur.Tro. passim; Hes.The.453ff.; Hom.Il.15.187ff.; Nonn.43.394ff.; Ov.Met.8.850; Soph.OC.712.

Free counter and web stats