Greek mythology, which is the basic building block of modern civilizations, has survived to the present day thanks to the epics of the Iliad and Odyssey which are thought to be written by Homer. Greek mythology, which has become the mythology that attracts the most attention from the past to the present, develops especially around Zeus, Poseidon and Hades, the children of the titan Kronos. Poseidon, the ruler and protector of the seas, perhaps the most belligerent Greek god of these three brothers, is known for his outbursts and scandalous love stories, just like Zeus. Alright, who is Poseidon ? Let’s take a closer look.
The First Olympians and the Birth of Poseidon
Before we get to the birth of Poseidon, we need to know who some important titans of the first generation were. In Greek mythology, there are 6 male and 6 female titans born of the mother of earth, Gaia and the father of the sky, Uranus. These 12 titans make up the first generation titans. The most important of these titans are Rhea and her brother Kronos. In particular, Kronos is the name that forms the basis of Greek mythology as we know it right now. Kronos, revolting against his father Uranus and dethroning him, took his older sister Rhea as his wife and began to rule his brothers and the lower titans who were also descended from his own lineage.
From the union of Kronos with Rhea, Zeus, Hades, Poseidon, Hestia, Demeter and Hera were born. Because of the prophecy of Gaia and Uranus, Kronos began to swallow his every child born in order not to be dethroned. Rhea who could not stand this situation any longer hid Zeus with the help of her parents, Uranus and Gaia, and made Kronos swallow a stone wrapped in swaddle instead of Zeus.
Later, with the help of his grandmother Gaia and his grandfather Uranus who gave him his famous lightning bolt, Zeus succeeded in overthrowing his father Kronos after a 10-year war and saved his brothers. Zeus, Poseidon, Hera and Demeter were later joined by Zeus’ children born to Hera and some second generation titans, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Ares, Hephaestus, Aphrodite, Hermes and Dionysus, and the 12 Olympians we know today were formed. Hades, on the other hand, is not basically an Olympian, as he is the head of the underworld.
How Did Poseidon Become the God of the Seas?
Poseidon with his two other brothers, Zeus and Hades, became the new rulers of the universe when their father Kronos was dethroned. The three layers of the known universe were shared between these three brothers. Zeus took the heavens for himself, gave Hades the underground, and Poseidon the oceans, seas, lakes, and rivers. Poseidon became the god of the seas, earthquakes and horses after this point. If we consider that the main source of livelihood in ancient Greece was maritime, we can also understand how powerful a god Poseidon was in terms of belief.
The Trident, the famous three-headed spear of Poseidon, which we see constantly in his hand, was made during the Titanomachy war against his father Kronos. During this war, Zeus awakened the ancient cyclops to turn the tide in his favor, and the cyclops made various weapons to Zeus and his brothers as a thank. Perhaps, the most powerful of these weapons was the Trident, which contained the power of the seas. After the war, Poseidon used his spear to create islands, create waves, tsunamis, earthquakes, dominate sea creatures, and even create the first horse on earth. At the same time, Poseidon is also called the god of horses for this reason.
Poseidon and the Sea Nymph Consort Amphitrite
After Poseidon became one of the Olympian gods and started to rule the universe with his brothers, he traveled alone for quite a while. Finally, Poseidon got bored with loneliness and decided to choose a wife to suppress his growing anger. Poseidon chose Amphitrite as his wife, who’s one of the 50 sea nymphs born from the union of the titan Nereus and the ancient sea goddess Doris. On the other hand, Amphitrite refuses to be a wife to Poseidon because of her shyness and fear and takes refuge in the titan Atlas, who carries the world on her shoulders. However, Poseidon is perhaps one of the most stubborn gods when it comes to the woman he likes. Poseidon sent a dolphin after Amphitrite and brought her back with this dolphin and married him. Poseidon and Amphitrite have the same value in Greek mythology as Zeus and Hera were, Hades and Persephone were. The most famous of Amphitrite’s other 49 sisters is Thetis, the mother of Achilles.
Poseidon and His Debauchery
Poseidon is a god who has signed some love scandals that will surpass even Zeus who is famous for his debauchery. Just like his brother Zeus, Poseidon, who is in love with another woman he sees all the time despite being married, is not a god who gives up on his love easily. Of course, Poseidon’s pursuit of so many women caused his wife Amphitrite to have fits of jealousy like Hera.
Poseidon’s best-known love affair was with his sister Demeter. Tired of searching for her missing daughter and bored of endless passions of the gods, Demeter turns herself into a horse and goes to Apollo’s son Onkos in order to make Poseidon to lose track of her. But Poseidon, who does not give up on his love, turns himself into a mare and goes after Demeter and gets together with Demeter in this way. From the end of this union, the immortal Areion is born, the fastest horse of Greek mythology.
Another famous debauchery of Poseidon occurs due to the conflict between him and Athena. Poseidon, who has the ambition to rule the earth outside the seas, competed with Athena to become the chief god and ruler of the city of Athens and lost. Poseidon then cursed the city of Athens and caused the city’s water shortage problem, which continues today.
Poseidon, who is mentioned in some sources that he was with Athena during this period, also had his eye on Medusa, who lived in Athena’s temple in Athens. After Poseidon was forced to have sex with Medusa in this temple, Athena cursed Medusa, stripping her of Medusa’s beauty and turning her into a terrible demon with snakes for her hair. Even this was not enough, Athena later helped Perseus and played a role in the murder of Medusa. When Perseus cut off Medusa’s head, the horse Pegasus, which we all know, was born from the blood of Medusa, who was pregnant with Poseidon.
Poseidon’s Rebellion Against Zeus
Although he was famous for the love scandals he created, Poseidon was such an angry and egotistical god that he could rebel against his brother, the chief god Zeus. Tired of Zeus being with other women all the time, Hera organized a rebellion against Zeus, with the help of Apollo -and according to some sources, of Athena – so that Poseidon would be the chief god. Trying to put Zeus to sleep and steal his lightning, Hera, Poseidon and Apollo were thwarted by the titan Briareus, whose son of Gaia and Uranus.
Released from Tartarus prison by Zeus, Briareus heard about Hera’s plan and helped Zeus. As a result, Zeus made Posesidon and Apollo mortal for one year and sentenced him to serve the Trojan king Laomedon. Poseidon and Apollo helped to build the famous Trojan walls during this time. However, as the Trojan king Laomedon did not pay the promised reward to Poseidon and Apollo, Poseidon sent a sea monster to Troy and Apollon the plague. Also, for this reason, Poseidon played a role in the destruction of Troy by defying the orders of Zeus during the Trojan War and taking the side of Hera.