Poseidon: Olympus Mightiest God of the Sea

Learn about the legend of Poseidon, the God of the seas in Greek mythology. Discover his powers and most popular legends in history.


Poseidon, God of the Sea

Poseidon is a god of Greek mythology and one of the 12 Olympians. He is one of the three most powerful Greek gods (along with Zeus and Hades) and rules over the ocean and all bodies of water. He was especially important to Greek sailors and fishermen.

who was Poseidon?

In Greek mythology and legend, he was the god of the sea. However, his domain also includes some aspects of the earth, and in fact he is known as the “shaker” in many stories, due to his penchant for causing earthquakes. He was responsible, according to Greek legend, for the collapse of the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete, which was nearly destroyed by a giant earthquake and tsunami.

Representation of Poseidon

Poseidon is depicted with a three-pronged spear called a trident. He usually has curly hair and a beard. He is sometimes shown riding in his chariot which is pulled by hippocampi (horses that have fish tails).

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Birth of Poseidon

He was the son of Cronus and Rhea, the king and queen of the Titans. After he was born, Poseidon was swallowed by his father Cronus because of a prophecy that the sons of Cronus would one day defeat him. Poseidon was eventually saved by his younger brother Zeus.

Sons of Poseidon

Poseidon had a number of interesting children with human women and goddesses. Some of his children were monsters like the sea creature Charybdis and the Cyclops Polyphemus (both tried to kill Odysseus). Others were not as scary as the Greek hero Theseus, the famous hunter Orion and the winged horse Pegasus.

Defeating the Titans

Poseidon and his brothers, Zeus and Hades, went to battle with the Titans. They overthrew the Titans and took control of the world. They divided the world by lot. Poseidon drew the ocean and took control of the sea (Zeus drew the sky and Hades drew the underworld).

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Creating the Horse

One of Poseidon’s most famous deeds is the creation of the horse. There are two stories that tell how he did it. The first says that he fell in love with the goddess Demeter. To impress her he decided to create the most beautiful animal in the world. He worked for some time and finally produced the horse. However, it took him so long to make the horse that he was no longer in love with Demeter. The other story tells how he made the horse to win the city of Athens.

Rivalry with Athena

Both Poseidon and Athena wanted to be the patron god of the Greek city-state of Athens. As part of a contest, they each gave a gift to the leaders of Athens. Athena created the olive tree that would produce wood, olives and olive oil. Poseidon presented the horse, a valuable animal that could help in work, battle and transportation (note that in some stories he presents a well of sea water instead of the horse).

Athena won the contest and became the patron goddess of Athens. From then on, Poseidon and Athena were rivals. This is reflected in the story of the Odyssey, where Poseidon tried to thwart Odysseus while Athena tries to help him on his journey.

what powers and abilities did he have?

Poseidon had complete power and control over the ocean. He could create storms to sink ships or clear weather to help them keep going. He could also cause earthquakes on land, which earned him the title “earth shaker.”

Poseidon in classical mythology

He was a very important deity in many Greek cities, including but not limited to Athens. He was regularly honored with offerings and sacrifices, particularly by sailors and others who made their living at sea; fishermen and those who lived along the coast wanted to appease Poseidon so that he would not cause a devastating earthquake or flood.

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Horses were sometimes sacrificed to Poseidon; the sound of his roaring waves was often associated with horses’ hooves, but Homer describes in the Odyssey the use of several other animals to honor this deity:

Take an oar, till one day you come where men have lived on unsalted meat, never having known the sea…and make a just sacrifice to the Lord Poseidon: a ram, a bull, a great boar. Pausanias described the city of Athens and its Hill of Horses, and refers to both Athena and Poseidon as connected to the horse.

Hill of the Horses

Also noted is a place [not far from Athens] called the Hill of Horses, the first point in Attica, they say, which Oidipous reached This account also differs from that given by Homer. But is, nevertheless, the current tradition, and an altar to Poseidon Hippion (Horse God), and to Athena Hippia (Horse God), and a chapel to the heroes Pirithous and Theseus, Oidipous and Adrastos.

He also appears in the stories of the Trojan War, he and Apollo were sent to build walls around the city of Troy, but the King of Troy refused to pay the reward he had promised them.

In the Iliad, Homer describes Poseidon’s rage, in which he explains to Apollo why he is angry: “I walled the city massively in well-cut stone, to make the place impregnable. You herded cattle, slow and dark amid the valleys of Ida’s wooded crags. When the Seasons happily put an end to our period of hire, the barbarian Laomedon withheld all wages from us and drove us away with vile threats. In revenge, Poseidon sent a giant sea monster to attack Troy, but he was killed by Heracles.

Interesting facts about the Greek god Poseidon

  • He lived in a palace under the sea made of jewels and coral.
  • He is the father of Percy Jackson in Rick Riordan’s book series. Percy Jackson and the Olympians.
  • He defeated the giant Polybotes by breaking off a chunk of the island of Kos and throwing it at them.
  • According to Greek mythology, Poseidon helped build the high walls surrounding the city of Troy.

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