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In Greek mythology, Poseidon was the god of the sea, floods, droughts, earthquakes and horses. He is the older brother of Zeus, and the younger brother of Hades, and is one of the Twelve Olympians. As the source of earthquakes, he is also known as the “Earth-shaker.” His consort is the sea goddess Amphitrite. Like his brother Zeus, Poseidon fathered many offspring, both mortals and deities, through multiple affairs.

In Bronze Age Mycenaean Greece, he was venerated as a chief deity of the pantheon, as opposed to Zeus. Poseidon was protector of seafarers, and of many Hellenic cities and colonies. In Homer's Iliad, Poseidon supports the Greeks against the Trojans during the Trojan War.

Poseidon is also known for his intense temper when wronged. In the Odyssey, during the sea-voyage from Troy back home to Ithaca, the Greek hero Odysseus provokes Poseidon's fury by blinding his son, the Cyclops Polyphemus, resulting in Poseidon punishing him with storms, the complete loss of his ship and companions, and a ten-year delay.

In Corinth, the Isthmian Games- a festival with sports and music competitions- were held in honor of Poseidon.

In Mythology

As the god of the oceans, Poseidon was one of the three most powerful Greek gods, alongside his brothers, Zeus and Hades. Like his brothers, Poseidon can control the earth. Poseidon was a dreaded god among the Greeks, and rarely interacted with mortals. The Greeks depended on the sea to carry out trade and earn their livelihood out of fishing, and prayed to Poseidon. The powerful god was also one of the many deities who could make lands fertile.

If Poseidon was pleased, he would bless sailors with a safe voyage in the sea, make the agricultural lands fertile, provide abundant supply of freshwater or would allow trade to flourish. But if someone (like Odysseus) offended Poseidon, the god's vengeance knew no bounds. He would send powerful storms, winds and floods to kill thousands of people, wreck entire ships on islands or sink them beneath the sea; raze entire cities with devastating earthquakes or send terrible sea monsters to maraud cities. Poseidon was also known to cause mental illnesses from time to time, to punish people. When King Alcinous offended Poseidon, he cut off the Phaeacian's access to the sea, and trapped them in between steep mountains he had caused to rise.

Poseidon lived in an underwater palace and as such, ruled over the denizens of his watery world. He controlled every aspect of the oceans and aquatic regions. Poseidon was more powerful than other sea deities combined and the latter were his subordinates. Poseidon posted one of them, Proteus to the icy regions in the north, to rule over these lands.

He is also the creator of horses. Before the horse, Poseidon created the hippo, the camel, the giraffe and the zebra, then refined the shape to create the first horses, out of sea waves.

He fought for the patronship of many cities, mainly Athens. But when the people chose Athena, Poseidon unleashed a powerful flood. Since then, Athenians gave equal worship to Poseidon. The god once again lost control of Argos against Hera, when she won by one vote. Poseidon retaliated by massacring the local river gods, flooding the entire city and subjecting to drought. Since then, the Greeks stripped women of their right to vote. Poseidon was a patron god to majority of the Greek cities and ports, and thus earned the title of "Protector of Greece".

Unlike other gods, Poseidon enjoyed a greater level of autonomy and Zeus rarely exercised control over him. Poseidon, however, did not possess the tremendous authority over the lesser Olympians, gods and humans unlike Zeus, and in that respect, remained inferior to him.

From Birth to the Titanomachy

Like all of his godly siblings, with the exception of Zeus, Poseidon was swallowed by his father Cronus as an infant in order to prevent them from rising up against him. However, he and his siblings were eventually freed when Zeus tricked Cronus into regurgitating them, and they rose up against the Titans. The war, which is referred to as the Titanomachy, lasted ten years. After the battle the three siblings; Zeus, Poseidon and Hades, drew lots to see who would rule each of Kronos' three kingdom's. The Sky, the seas, and the Underworld. Hades became the ruler of the Underworld, Zeus became the ruler of the sky and of Olympus, and Poseidon became ruler of the seas.

Marriage to Amphitrite

Before Poseidon was married to Amphitrite he was in love with the sea nymph Thetis. But once he heard that there was a prophecy that Thetis' son would be more powerful than his father, he disliked her and fell in love with her sister Amphitrite. But Amphitrite disliked Poseidon due to his temper. Amphitrite was ultimately persuaded to marry Poseidon by the crafty god Delphinus (English: Dolphin). Poseidon was so grateful to Delphinus that he made him a constellation, Dolphin.

The Gigantomachy

In the war with the Gigantes (English: Giants), known as the Gigantomachy, Poseidon is noted for battling the giant Polybotes within the Mediterranean. During the battle Poseidon lifted an entire portion of the Island of Kos and threw it upon Polybotes, trapping him underneath. That portion of the Island of Kos became the volcanic island Nisyros, with the rumblings of the volcano said to be the trapped giant underneath.

Vie for Patronage of Athens

Main article: The Naming of Athens

To win the patronage of the Kingdom of Kekropia, Poseidon engaged in a contest with Athena. Poseidon stuck the ground with his mighty Trident, which gave the city a salt-water spring, and Athena gave them the first olive tree, which the people of the city could have olive and their oil for consumption and trade. The other ten Olympians voted, while the king of Kekropia bore witness, and it was determined that Athena's gift was the better of the two. Thus Athena won the competition and became patron of the city which was renamed to Athens. Poseidon was enraged by this and wanted to flood all of Athens, but was forbidden to do so by Zeus.

Poseidon and Medusa

Poseidon desired Medusa, who was said to be a virgin priestess of Athena. In a moment of passion he chased after her, and violated her within Athena's sacred temple. Athena, being a goddess of virginity was infuriated, and as a punishment transformed Medusa into a monstrosity who's very gaze could turn any living thing to stone. Years later, when Perseus slayed Medusa, Poseidon and Medusa's children, the giant Chrysaor and the winged horse Pegasus, were born from her blood.

The Walls Of Troy

Poseidon and Apollo once convinced the other gods to overthrow Zeus during a time when they were unhappy with his rule on Olympus. They tied Zeus up while he was sleeping, and nearly succeeded in overthrowing him. But at the last moment, the sea nymph Thetis along with the Hekatonkheire, Briares, freed Zeus. As a punishment, Apollo and Poseidon had to swear a solemn oath to build the famous Walls of Troy for King Laomedon.

The Cretan Bull

When Minos, the King of Crete wanted to prove that he was the rightful king, he told the Cretans that he was able to make a majestic white bull appear from the sea. Minos prayed to the gods to help him perform this feat and he would sacrifice the bull in return. Poseidon heard this prayer and made a pure white bull appear from the waves. After Minos became king, instead of sacrificing the bull like he promised, he tried to sacrifice his other bulls and kept the white bull as a pet. This greatly angered Poseidon, who, with the help of Aphrodite, made Minos's wife, Pasiphae, fall in love with the bull, leading to the birth of the Minotaur. As his seventh labor, Heracles wrestled the Cretan Bull until it tired out, then brought it before his cousin, King Eurystheus.


During Athena's confrontation with the shark-headed monster Akheilos, Poseidon assisted Athena. He stripped Akheilos of his sea-related powers, an opportunity which Athena used to kill Akheilos.

In the Iliad and the Odyssey

In the Iliad, Poseidon conspires with Hera to make Zeus fall asleep. He nearly exposes the Underworld to the Sun. Poseidon impersonates Greek Warriors, roars like ten thousand warriors and pushes the Trojans back, until he is summoned by Zeus. Poseidon later appears as a storyteller in the war.

In the Odyssey, Poseidon is the main antagonist, responsible for Odysseus's ten years at the sea. Poseidon hated Odysseus for his arrogance, and when the hero blinds his Cyclops son, Polyphemus, the god decides to take revenge on him.

Poseidon wrecks Odysseus's ships and maroons him on dangerous islands. He slowly kills all of Odysseus's crew via accidents and monsters. Odysseus survives alone and is forced to spend seven years on Calypso's island. Poseidon once again plays with Odysseus's life, until the hero reaches home. Later Odysseus begs forgiveness from Poseidon, which the god pardons him.


Olympian Genealogy in Greek mythology
The Muses
Cadmus of Thebes

Consorts of Poseidon (Female):

  • Aba (a nymph)
  • Aethra
  • Agamede
  • Alistra
  • Alkyone
  • Alope
  • Amphitrite (Poseidon's Wife)
  • Amphimedusa, Danaid
  • Amymone
  • Aphrodite
  • Arene
  • Arne (Melanippe)
  • Askre
  • Astydameia (daughter of Phorbas)
  • Astypalaea
  • Beroe (daughter of Aphrodite)
  • Boudeia (Bouzyge)
  • Demeter
  • Diopatra, nymph of Mount Othrys
  • Erythras
  • Euryale (daughter of Minos)
  • Eurykyda
  • Eurynome (Eurymede) (daughter of Nisos)
  • Euryte / Bathykleia
  • Gaea
  • Halia
  • Harpale / Skamandrodike / Kalyke
  • Helle
  • Hermippe
  • Hippothoe
  • Iphimedeia
  • Kaenis
  • Kalkhinia
  • Kanake
  • Kelaino (Pleiad or daughter of Ergeus)
  • Kelaino, Danaid
  • Kerebia
  • Keroessa
  • Kleodora
  • Khione
  • Khrysogeneia
  • Korkyra, nymph
  • Koronis
  • Taphius
  • Laodike
  • Larissa
  • Leis, daughter of Orus
  • Libya
  • Lysianassa/Anippe
  • Mekionike/ Europa, daughter of Tityos
  • Medusa
  • Melantheia, daughter of Alpheus
  • Melantho (daughter of Deukalion)
  • Melia
  • Melissa, daughter of Epidamnus
  • Mestra
  • Mideia
  • Molione
  • Mytilene
  • Oenope
  • Olbia, nymph
  • Ossa
  • Peirene
  • Periboea
  • Pero, nymph / Kelousa, nymph
  • Pitane, nymph / Lena
  • Phoenike
  • Pronoe, daughter of Asopus
  • Rhodope, daughter of Strymon
  • Salamis, daughter of Asopus
  • Satyria, nymph of Taras
  • Syme
  • Themisto
  • Theophane
  • Thyia
  • Tyro
  • Thoosa
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Amphimarus)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Amyrus, eponym of a river in Thessaly)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Astraeus and Alcippe of Mysia)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Kalaurus)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Korynetes) (possibly)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Kromus) (eponym of Krommyon)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Geren), eponym of a town or village Geren on Lesbos
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Dikaeus), eponym of Dikaea, a city in Thrace
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Euseirus (father of Kerambus)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Ialebion (Alebion) and Derkynus (Bergion) of Liguria
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Laestrygon), eponym of the Laestrygonians
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Lamus), king of the Laestrygonians
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Lilaea (possibly)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Messapus)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Onkhestus)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Ourea)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Palaestinus)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Phorbas of Acarnania)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Poltys)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Proteus)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Prokrustes)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Sarpedon of Ainos)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Skeiron)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Syleus)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Taenarus) (possibly)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Amyrus), (eponym of a river in Thessaly)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Astraeus and Alcippe of Mysia)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Kalaurus)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Korynetes) (possibly)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Kromus) (eponym of Krommyon)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Geren) (eponym of a town or village Geren on Lesbos)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Dikaeus), (eponym of Dikaea, a city in Thrace)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Euseirus), (father of Kerambus)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Ialebion (Alebion) and Derkynus (Bergion) of Liguria)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Laestrygon), (eponym of the Laestrygonians)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Lamus, king of the Laestrygonians)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Lilaea) (possibly)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Messapus)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Onkhestus)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Ourea)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Palaestinus)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Phorbas of Acarnania)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Poltys)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Proteus)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Prokrustes)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Sarpedon of Ainos)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Skeiron)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Syleus)
  • Unknown Consort (Mother Of Taenarus) (possibly)

Consorts of Poseidon (Male)

  • Pelops


  • Abas
  • Aeolus
  • Aethusa
  • Agelus
  • Agenor
  • Akhaeus
  • Alcippe of Mysia
  • Almops
  • Aloeus
  • Altephus
  • Amphiktyon (Mother of Kerkyon)
  • Amphimarus
  • Amykus
  • Amyrus, eponym of a river in Thessaly
  • Ankaeus
  • Antaeus
  • Anthas
  • Arion
  • Asopus (possibly)
  • Aspledon
  • Astakus
  • Astraeus
  • Athos
  • Bellerophon (possibly)
  • Belus
  • Benthesikyme
  • Boeotus
  • Busiris
  • Byzas
  • Derkynus (Bergion) of Liguria
  • Despoina
  • Diktys
  • Dikaeus, eponym of Dikaea, a city in Thrace
  • Daimones Proseoous (by Halia)
  • Delphus
  • Derkynus (sometimes known as Bergion) of Liguria
  • Dikaeus, eponym of Dikaea, a city in Thrace
  • Diktys
  • Dyrrhakhius
  • Edonus
  • Eleius
  • Ephialtes (Aloadae)
  • Epopeus
  • Erginus
  • Ergiskus
  • Euadne
  • Eumolpus
  • Euphemus, Argonaut
  • Eurypylus of Kyrene
  • Eurypylus of Kos
  • Euseirus (father of Kerambus)
  • Geren, eponym of a town or village Geren on Lesbos
  • Halirrhothius
  • Herophile the Sibyl
  • Hippothoon
  • Hopleus
  • Hyrieus
  • Hyperenor / Hyperes
  • Ialebion (Sometimes Called Alebion) of Liguria
  • Ialysus
  • Idas (possibly)
  • Irene
  • Kalaurus
  • Kameirus
  • Kaukon
  • Kelaenus
  • Kenkhrias
  • Kerkyon
  • Kharibdis
  • Khios
  • Khrysaor
  • Khryses, father of Minyas
  • Khrysomallus
  • Khthonius
  • Korynetes (possibly)
  • Kromus (eponym of Krommyon)
  • Krysomallos
  • Kykhreus
  • Kyknus
  • Kymopoleia
  • Lelex
  • Lekhes
  • Laestrygon, eponym of the Laestrygonians
  • Lamus, king of the Laestrygonians
  • Leukon (possibly)
  • Lindus
  • Lilaea (possibly)
  • Lykaon
  • Lykus
  • Malinia
  • Megareus of Onchestus (possibly)
  • Melas
  • Messapus
  • Minyas (possibly)
  • The Molionides
  • Mygdon
  • Myton
  • Nauplios
  • Nausithous
  • Neleus
  • Nireus
  • Nykteus
  • Oeoklus
  • Ogygus
  • Onkhestus
  • Orion (possibly)
  • Otus (Aloadae)
  • Ourea
  • Pegasus
  • Paion
  • Palaestinus
  • Parnassus
  • Pelasgus
  • Pelias
  • Peratus
  • Phaeax
  • Phineus
  • Phokus
  • Phorbas of Akarnania
  • Poltys
  • Polydektes
  • Polyphemus
  • Prokrustes
  • Proteus
  • Pythius
  • Rhode/Rhodos
  • Sarpedon of Ainos
  • Sithon (possibly)
  • Skeiron
  • Syleus
  • Taenarus (possibly)
  • Taras (eponym of the location)
  • Theseus
  • Torone
  • Triopas
  • Triton



Image gallery of Poseidon

See also

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