I’m sure you’re familiar with Greek and Roman mythology, or you’d at least recognise the crazy-eyed, snake-haired monster with killer looks (that’s Medusa by the way!) The Greek Olympians are an intriguing, incestuous bunch of immortals, and I find them highly entertaining. So here’s a crazy idea, let’s treat them like the celebrities they no doubt were, and give them five-minutes of fame (or in this case a profile).
Neptune, also known as Poseidon, is a power-hungry sea god, with a habit of losing his temper. Since his Greek publicity team tend to be the most influential (most resources follow Poseidon’s adventures), we’ll be deferring to them.
Poseidon is one of the twelve great Olympians, and a descendent of the Titans. He has the ability to generate savage sea storms, summon sea monsters and cause landslides and floods. He is considered by many as second in command to Zeus.
|Best Known for/Powers:||Carries a trident (three pronged spear), which has many uses; such as summoning water (springs) from the earth, or generating sea storms. Poseidon has the power to shapeshift into any animal or mortal he chooses. Some of his more famous transformations are the horse, and ram.|
|General Opinion/Personal life:||He has a reputation for being a violent god, one best avoided if possible. He answers only to Zeus and even then, his brother cannot always rein him in. He is feared by all, especially seafarers.|
|Appearance:||Tall, with a long flowing beard – he is rarely without his trident.|
|Siblings:||Zeus; Hera; Hades; Demeter; Hestia|
|Other Associations:||Like his brother, Zeus, Poseidon has taken many lovers – here are a few of his better known conquests:
Aethra: after leaving Aegeus’ bed (ruler of Athens), Aethra was approached by Poseidon and the pair made love (opinions vary on whether this was consensual).
Amymone: one of the fifty daughters of King Danaus. Poseidon rescued her from a satyr and as a reward he courted Amymone himself.
Demeter: his sister. Demeter transformed herself into a mare to escape Poseidon’s advances. This did not put him off though – he transformed into a stallion and mated with her in a pasture (they were both still in horse form).
Iphimedia: unhappily married to Poseidon’s son. Driven by her love for Poseidon, she set out to lure him – walking along the edge of the sea and stopping by the water to gain his attention. Their union resulted in two sons.
Medusa: a Gorgon (with snakes for hair and a stare that could turn anyone into stone). Some believe Medusa was once very beautiful and caught Poseidon’s eye. He approached her in one of Athena’s temples and they made love. This was unacceptable to the virgin goddess Athena, so she turned Medusa into a horrifying creature as punishment (she also told Perseus how to slay Medusa).
Theophane: very beautiful young girl with many suitors. Poseidon stole her away and took her to an island. When her suitors followed, Poseidon turned her into a sheep, along with everyone else on the island. He then turned himself into a ram and mated with Theophane while they both held their animal form.
Thoosa: daughter of Phorcys (a son of Gaia). Not much is known about this love affair.
|Children:||(With Amphitrite): Benthesicyme; Rhode; Triton.
(With Aethra): Theseus (some say Aegeus is the father).
(With Amymone): Nauplius.
(With Demeter): Desponia; Arion.
(With Iphimedia): Giants – Ephialtes; Otus (some say Iphimedia isn’t the biological mother).
(With Medusa): Chrysaor; Pegasus.
(With Theophane): a son who was never named – ram with a fleece of gold.
(With Thoosa): Polyphemus (Cyclops).
|Enemies:||There is considerable animosity between Poseidon and Athena. Here are just some of their disagreements:
Though Poseidon is god of the sea, Athena brought the art of shipbuilding to mortals (he blames her for brining man to the seas).
Poseidon is the god of horses and though there is some contention about whether he created or tamed them, Athena angered him further when she brought the bridle to mortals.
They fought for possession of the city Athens – Poseidon struck the ground at Acropolis with his trident and created a spring, and Athena planted an olive tree. Zeus interceded and though there are differing views on how the battle was decided, the fact remains, Athena won.
Poseidon has lost quite a few battles when it comes to city patronage. He was defeated when coming up against Dionysus (for Naxos); Apollo (for Delphi); Athena – again (for Troezen); Hera (for Argos), and Zeus (for Aegina).
Poseidon is the divine enemy of Odysseus because he blinded his son, Polyphemus. Poseidon is said to have shipwrecked Odysseus and delayed his return home to Ithaca for ten years.
He sent a bull from the sea to destroy a man named Hippolytus.
|Trivia:||His power extends beyond the sea to both lakes and freshwater springs. Some say he also controls the rivers (though rivers have their own, lesser deities.
Even though he has power over the sea, this is not enough for Poseidon – he believes he deserves more. His greed led him to challenge Zeus for power, but the plan failed.Poseidon believes he can heighten his standing by attaining the most patron cities, and does whatever he can to gain favour in as many cities as possible.
At Corinth, the Greeks celebrate one of the greatest athletics competitions in Poseidon’s honour.
Poseidon and Apollo were forced to help Laomedon, the king of Troy, to build walls around his city – as punishment for participating in the uprising against Zeus. They were to be compensated, but Laomedon refused, even though it took a full year to build. As revenge, Apollo sent a great plague to the city and Poseidon sent a sea monster. Though Apollo was satisfied with this, Poseidon wasn’t – he later sided with the Greeks in their battle against Troy (or at least until it suited him to change sides). He made it hard for everyone during the Trojan War.
|A softer side:||Poseidon is capable of kindness. Some of his acts include:
Allowing twin brothers Castor and Pollux a bit of his power – the ability to calm the seas. He also named them protectors of sailors (giving away some of his glory).
When Ino and her son Melicertes threw themselves into the sea, Poseidon took pity on them and turned them into sea deities.
He also gives away horses as a gift to those he favours.
References: The Everything Classical Mythology Book, by Lesley Bolton; The British Museum Pocket Dictionary of Greek and Roman Gods and Goddesses, by Richard Wolf, and 30-Second Mythology, edited by Robert A. Segal.