(god of the sea, earthquakes, and horses)
Roman name: Neptune
Parents: Cronos and Rhea
Brothers: Zeus, Hades
Sisters: Hera, Demeter, Hestia
Poseidon gained control of the sea by drawing lots with Zeus and Hades. He also controlled lakes and freshwater springs. Poseidon challenged other gods and goddesses to become the patron god of certain cities. For example, Poseidon challenged Athena, Zeus’s daughter, for the city of Athens. Poseidon offered a spring of seawater to the people, while Athena offered olive trees. In one version of the story, the Athenians voted for Athena because of the usefulness of the olive trees. In another version the Olympians voted for the winner. All the goddesses voted for Athena, and all the gods, except Zeus, voted for Poseidon. Zeus abstained (did not vote) because he could not decide between his brother and his daughter. Poseidon lost by one vote. After his loss, most accounts suggest that Poseidon flooded the entire area in retaliation. Poseidon had a prominent role in the Trojan War and in Odysseus’ (Ulysses) return voyage. Offended by Odysseus, Poseidon caused Odysseus and his crew to get lost in fog on their way back home to Greece.
Poseidon’s Marriages and Affairs
Poseidon was married to Amphitrite, daughter of Nereus and Doris. Nereus was an early deity, known as the Old Man of the Sea, and Doris was the daughter of Oceanus. Poseidon and Amphitrite had three children, Benthesicymen, Rhodes (after which the island of Rhodes was named), and Triton (who became Poseidon’s herald).
Aethra (wife of Aegeus ruler of Athens)
child: Theseus (hero of Athens)
Amymone (daughter of King Danaus)
Demeter (Poseidon’s sister)
children: nymph Desponia and a wild horse
Iphimedia (wife of Aloeus, who was Poseidon’s uncle and god of the wind
children: the Giants Ephialtes and Otus
Before Medusa was turned into a monster, she was very beautiful. Medusa and Poseidon had an affair and decided to make love in Athena’s temple. Athena was so offended she turned Medusa into a monster with snakes for hair. Athena then helped Peruses kill Medusa. After cutting off Medusa’s head, two offspring came out, Chrysaor and the flying horse Pegasus.
child: ram with a golden fleece
children: the Cyclops Polyphemus (famous from the story of Odyssey) and
Neptune Calming the Waves by Adam, Lambert-Sigisbert - Musee du Louvre, Paris
Major Gods and Goddesses
Introduction | Creation Story | Olympians VS. Titans | Creation of Man |
Revolt of Giants | Abduction of Persephone | The Underworld
Visitors to Underworld | Amzon Warriors | Ares vs. Athena | Daedalus and Icarus
Echo and Narcissus | Judgement of Paris | Perseus and Andromeda | Trojan War