The myth of Poseidon is one of the most important of antiquity. It must be remembered that the Olympian gods defeated the Titans, commanded by Cronos, the supreme divinity at that time. After the triumph, the new deities shared the existing and Zeus was left with the sky, while for Hades the underworld was reserved and Poseidon the waters corresponded.
The Greeks thought that the earth was an element that floated on “primeval waters”. For the same reason, the myth of Poseidon also indicates that this god ruled the telluric movements. It was also associated with some mental disorders and with certain animals, such as horses and bulls.
The god of the oceans had a very active participation in various episodes of Greek mythology . He was present at the founding of Athens and also had a leading role in the famous Trojan War.
The myth of Poseidon says that it was precisely this deity that made it take Odysseus many years to return to his land to meet his beloved Penelope.
” But more wonderful than the wisdom of the old and the wisdom of books is the secret wisdom of the ocean .”
-Howard Phillips Lovecraft-
The myth of Poseidon: the origin
It must be remembered that in Greek mythology who reigned was Cronos, before the gods of Olympus appeared. An oracle assured this god that one of his sons would dethrone him; for that reason, every time he had a child, Cronos himself gobbled it up. However, the future god of the oceans was saved from that fate by a ruse from his mother, Rea.
The Poseidon myth tells that Rhea pretended to have given birth to a foal and Cronos swallowed it. Meanwhile, she hid her son in a flock of sheep. Arne, daughter of Aeolus, the god of the winds, was his nanny. Later Poseidon was raised by the Telquines, who were nine brothers with the head of a dog and the lower part of the body in the shape of a fish.
The Telquines knew the art of blacksmithing and metallurgy. That is why they made for Poseidon an instrument that would later become a symbol of that deity: the trident. Later, together with his brother Zeus, he fought Cronos and they won. After the victory he was left with dominion over the world’s oceans.
The rise of Athens
According to the Poseidon myth, Athens was becoming a prosperous city and both Athena and Poseidon wanted to be its rulers. The conflict was finally to be settled by Cecrops, king of the Athenians. To influence his decision, the two gods gave him a gift.
Poseidon struck the earth with his trident and thus a spring of water was born, which he gave to the city. However, this god only ruled over the seas, so the water that gushed out was salty, which was of little use to the citizens.
Athena, for her part, taught the king the secrets of olive cultivation. This impressed Cecrops, who immediately appointed her patroness of the city.
Poseidon was enraged and flooded part of the region with his salty waters. Later he claimed the life of the successor of the king who had given the patronage of Athens to Athena. Even so, the Greeks always worshiped him, since that seafaring people could not do without the protection of that god during their voyages.
The great offspring of Poseidon
Like other Olympian gods, Poseidon was not a model of fidelity, quite the opposite. Formally his wife was the nymph Amphitrite, goddess of the calm sea.
As a wedding gift, the god of the oceans presented her with a crown made of pearls and shells. She, in fact, did not want to marry him, but accepted after one of his messengers pleaded with her.
After the union, Poseidon did not stop having many love affairs, with goddesses, nymphs and mortals. For the same reason, he had a huge offspring. A woman named Tire was one of his lovers. She was married, but she was in love with the river-god. Poseidon impersonated him and joined her, resulting in two sons who would become heroes: Pelias and Neleo.
He raped a maiden named Céneo, who after the fact asked him to turn her into a man and the god agreed. He also had romances with his granddaughter and with his grandmother.
Frequently, he transformed into some animal to possess the women he desired and this caused him to have children without human form, such as Arion, a horse that had the gift of speech, and the famous Golden Fleece.
The myth of Hades, lord of the underworld
The myth of Hades refers to that realm beyond where the souls of the deceased go to be rewarded or punished.