Poseidon was the god of the sea, earthquakes, floods, drought and horses. He was depicted as a mature man with a sturdy build and dark beard holding a trident.

Residence: Mount Olympus or the Sea
Symbols: Trident, fish, dolphin, horse and bull
Parents: Cronus and Rhea
Siblings: HestiaHadesHeraDemeterZeus and Chiron
Consort: Amphitrite, Aphrodite and Demeter
Children: Theseus, Triton, Polyphemus, Orion, Belus, Agenor and Neleus
Roman equivalent: Neptune

Poseidon from Milos, 2nd century BC. From the National Archaeological Museum of Athens. (c) Tetraktys


At birth, Poseidon was swallowed whole by his father Cronus, but Zeus later enlisted the aid of the goddess Metis who fed the Titan a potion causing him to disgorge the god and his siblings. 


During the battle with the Titans, the Cyclopes crafted a magical trident for Poseidon, and together with his brothers, Zeus and Hades, he defeated the Titans and imprisoned them in Tartarus.

After the Titanomachy, Poseidon and his brothers drew lots for the division of the world and won the Sea as his domain.


Both Athena and Poseidon wanted to be the patron of Athens. They agreed that each would give the Athenians one gift and the Athenians would choose whichever gift they preferred. Poseidon struck the ground with his trident and a spring sprang up; the water was salty and not very useful, whereas Athena offered them an olive tree. The Athenians or their king, Cecrops, accepted the olive tree and along with it Athena as their patron, for the olive tree brought wood, oil and food. After the fight, infuriated at his loss, Poseidon sent a monstrous flood to the Attic Plain, to punish the Athenians for not choosing him.

Image result for athena and poseidon
The Contest of Athena and Poseidon, painting by Halle Noel.

Walls of Troy

Poseidon and Apollo, having offended Zeus by their rebellion in Hera‘s scheme, were temporarily stripped of their divine authority and sent to serve King Laomedon of Troy. He had them build huge walls around the city and promised to reward them well, a promise he then refused to fulfill. In vengeance, Poseidon sent a sea monster to attack Troy. The monster was later killed by Heracles.

Andrea Doria as Neptune, painting by Angelo Bronzino.
Sea thiasos depicting the wedding of Poseidon and Amphitrite, from the Altar of Domitius Ahenobarbus from Rome, bas-relief, 2nd c. BC.
Poseidon holding a trident. Corinthian plaque, 550-525 BC. From Penteskouphia.

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