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Poseidon


Poseidon is the god of the sea, earthquakes, and horses. He is often represented by his three-pronged trident and horses.

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Poseidon was one of the children of Rhea and Cronos, and helped his siblings and uncles overthrow his father. After the battle was over, he, Zeus, and Hades threw dice to see which realm each god would rule. Zeus chose the sky, and Poseidon chose the sea. He married Thetis, a sea nymph, but after hearing a troubling prophecy that his offspring with Thetis would be greater than he, decided to marry her off to a human instead (her son with Peleus became Achilles). He then married the sea nymph Amphitrite, but continued to be unfaithful like his brother Zeus. He is thought to be the father of Theseus, Orion, and Polyphemus, the famous Cyclops who imprisons Odysseus in his cave in Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey. It is also Poseidon who curses Odysseus because of his pride and arrogance, making his journey home last ten years. Poseidon is also a key player in helping the Greeks gain the upper hand in the Trojan war, as Homer outlines in The Iliad.

Poseidon is thought to have created the horse to impress the goddess Demeter. In fact, Poseidon is credited with making many different kinds of creatures: the octopus, the jellyfish, the dolphin, the camel, the giraffe, and the zebra in efforts to impress his different love interests. Poseidon’s rule over the sea also gave him dominion over the land, and he was known to cause earthquakes. The Greeks prayed to Poseidon before traveling over the sea, but they believed their safe passage was subject to his whims and moods.

Poseidon Quick Reference

Parents

Cronos and Rhea


Power / Domain

  • Sea
  • Earthquakes
  • Horses

Symbols

  • Trident
  • Horse

Notable Myths

  • Overthrow of Cronos
  • Contest with Athena for Athens
  • Main obstacle in The Odyssey


Be sure to look at our teacher guide on the 12 Olympian Gods!

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