The Ancient Library

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erected by himself fell by the hands of the Greeks. (Horn. II. xii. 17, 28, &c.) When Poseidon and Apollo had built the walls of Troy, Laomedon refused to give them the reward which had been stipulated, and even dismissed them with threats (xxi. 443) ; but Poseidon sent a marine monster, which was on the point of devouring Laomedon's daughter, when it was killed by Heracles. ( Apollod. ii. 5 $ 9.) For this reason Poseidon like Hera bore an implacable hatred against the Trojans, from which not even Aeneas was excepted (Horn. //. xx. 293, &c. ; comp. Virg. Aen. v. 810 ; //. xxi. 459, xxiv. 26, xx. 312, &c.), and took an active part in the war against Troy, in which he sided with the Greeks, sometimes witnessing the contest as a spectator from the heights of Thrace, and sometimes interfering in person, assuming the ap­pearance of a mortal hero and encouraging the Greeks, while Zeus favoured the Trojans. (11. xiii. 12, &c., 44, &c., 209, 351, 357, 677, xiv. 136, 510.) When Zeus permitted the gods to assist whichever party they pleased, Poseidon join­ing the Greeks, took part in the war, and caused the earth to tremble ; he was opposed by Apollo, who, however, did not like to fight against his uncle. (//. xx. 23, 34, 57, 67, xxi. 436, &c.) In the Odyssey, Poseidon appears hostile to Odysseus, whom he prevents from returning home in consequence of his having blinded Polyphemus, a son of Poseidon by the nymph Thoosa. (Horn. Od. i. 20, 68, v. 286, &c., 366, &c., 423, xi. 101, &c., xiii. 125; Ov. Trist. i. 2. 9.)

Being the ruler of the sea (the Mediterranean), he is described as gathering clouds and calling forth storms, but at the same he has it in his power to grant a successful voyage and save those who are in danger, and all other marine divinities are sub­ject to him. As the sea surrounds and holds the earth, he himself is described as the god who holds the earth (7011770x05), and who has it in his power to shake the earth (<rj/oo-i%0a>j/, KLvrjT-fjp yds). He was further regarded as the creator of the horse, and was accordingly believed to have taught men the art of managing horses by the bridle, and to have been the originator and protector of horse races. (Horn. II. xxiii. 307,584; Pind. Pyth. vi. 50; Soph. Oed. Col. 712, &c.) Hence he was also represented on horseback, or riding in a chariot drawn by two or four horses, and is designated by the epithets 'ittttios, 'ittttclos^ or'iinrios ava.%. (Pans. i. 30. § 4, viii. 25. § 5, vi. 20. § 8, viii. 37. § 7 ; Eurip. Phoen. 1707 ; comp. Liv. i. 9, where he is called equester.) In consequence of his connection with the horse, he was regarded as the friend of charioteers (Pind. OL i. 63, &c.; Tzetz. ad Lye. 156), and he even metamorphosed himself into a horse, for the purpose of deceiving Demeter. The common tradition about Poseidon creating the horse is as follows: — when Poseidon and Athena disputed as to which of them should give the name to the capital of Attica, the gods decided, that it should receive its name from him who should bestow upon man the most useful gift. Poseidon then created the horse, and Athena called forth the olive tree, for which the honour was conferred upon her. (Serv. ad Virg. Georg. i. 12.) Accord­ing to others, however, Poseidon did not create the horse in Attica, but in Thessaly, where he also,gave the famous horses to Peleus. (Lucan, Phars. vi. 396, &c.; Horn. //. xxiii. 277; Apollod. iii. 13. §5.)


The symbol of Poseidon's power was the trident? or a spear with three points, with which he used to shatter rocks, to call forth or subdue storms, to shake the earth, and the like. Herodotus (ii. 50, iv. 188) states, that the name and worship of Poseidon was imported to the Greeks from Libya, but he was probably a divinity of Pelasgian origin, and originally a personification of the fertilising power of water, from which the transition to regarding him as the god of the sea was not difficult. It is a remarkable circumstance that in the legends about this divinity there are many in which he is said to have disputed the possession of certain countries with other gods. Thus, in order to take possession of Attica, he thrust his trident into the ground on the acropolis, where a well of sea-water was thereby called forth; but Athena created the olive tree, and the two divinities disputed, until the gods assigned Attica to Athena. Poseidon, indignant at this, caused the country to be in­undated. (Herod, viii. 55 ; Apollod. iii. 14. § 1 ; Paus. i. 24. § 3, &c. ; Hygin. Fab. 164.) With Athena he also disputed the possession of Troezene, and at the command of Zeus he shared the place with her. (Paus. ii. 30. § 6 ) Writh Helios he disputed the sovereignty of Corinth, which along with the isthmus was adjudged to him, while Helios received the acropolis. ,(ii. 1. § 6.) With Hera he disputed the possession of Argolis, which was ad­judged to the former by Inachus, Cephissus, and Asterion, in consequence of which Poseidon caused the rivers of these river-gods to be dried up. (ii. 15. § 5, 22. § 5 ; Apollod. ii. 1. § 4.) With Zeus, lastly, he disputed the possession of Aegina, and with Dionysus that of Naxos. (Pint. Sympos. ix. 6.) At one time Delphi belonged to him in common with Ge, but Apollo gave him Calauria as a compensation for it. (Paus. ii. 33. § 2, x. 5. § 3; Apollon. Rhod. iii. 1243, with the Schol.)

The following legends also deserve to be men­tioned. In conjunction with Zeus he fought against Cronos and the Titans (Apollod. i. 2. § 1), and in the contest with the Giants he pursued Polybotes across the sea as far as Cos, and there killed him by throwing the island upon him. (Apollod. i. 6. § 2 ; Paus. i. 2. §4.) He further crushed the Centaurs when they were pursued by Heracles, under a mountain in Leucosia, the island of the Seirens. (Apollod. ii. 5. § 4.) He sued together with Zeus for the hand of Thetis, but he withdrew when Themis prophesied that the son of Thetis would be greater than his father. (Apollod. iii. 13. §5; Tzetz. ad Lye. 178.) When Ares had been caught in the wonderful net by Hephaestus, the latter set him free at the request of Poseidon (Horn. Od. viii. 344, &c.), but Poseidon afterwards brought a charge against Ares before the Areiopagus, for having killed his son Halir-rhothius. (Apollod. iii. 14. § 2.) At the request of Minos, king of Crete, Poseidon caused a bull to rise from the sea, which the king promised to sacri­fice ; but when Minos treacherously concealed the animal among a herd of oxen, the god punished Minos by causing his daughter Pasiphae to fall in love with the bull. (Apollod. iii. 1. § 3, &c.) Periclymenus, who was either a son or a grandson of Poseidon, received from him the power of as­suming various forms, (i. 9. § 9, iii. 6. § 8.)

Poseidon was married to Amphitrite, by whom he had three children, Triton, Rhode, and Ben-thesicyme (Hes. Tlwg. 930 ; Apollod. i. 4. § 6,

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