The Son of the Titan Cronus and ruler of all the seas, Poseidon was one of the most powerful gods in Greek mythology. Able to conjure monstrous storms that smashed ships and shores asunder, Posidon’s power over seven seas was only matched by his anger and lust for women. An insatiable womanizer that needed no invite to approach a goddess, Poseidon’s thirst for the fairer-sex lead to a family that’s as far-reaching and complex as the oceans he presides over. So read on to learn 50 facts about the Greek god Poseidon.
Fact 1: Poseidon was an ancient Greek God.
Fact 2: He was just one of 12 Olympians that included Zeus, Hera, Athena, Demeter, Apollo, Artemis, Aries, Aphrodite, Hephaestus, Hermes, and Hestia.
Fact 3: In ancient Greek religion and myth, Poseidon was mainly seen as the God of the sea and storms. But he was also the God of earthquakes and horses. The ancient Greeks really did have a God to cover every aspect of life!
Fact 4: His Roman name is Neptune. You may recognize this name as it is used by the eighth planet in our solar system, the blue planet, Neptune.
Fact 5: Poseidon was treated as a main God in pre-Olympian ancient Greece. He was particularly celebrated in the coastal town of Pylos.
Fact 6: Poseidon was known to have two homes. One was at Mount Olympus with the rest of the Olympian gods. The other was under the water deep within the oceans. This is where Poseidon felt most at home.
Fact 7: The ancient Greeks used a number of symbols to represent Poseidon. These included the iconic Trident, a fish, a horse, a dolphin, and a bull.
Fact 8: Poseidon had many consorts, which is another word for a partner or wife that is also a queen. His consorts included Demeter, Amphitrite, and Aphrodite. Poseidon also had many other partners both God and mortal.
Fact 9: As you might imagine, having a lot of partners lead Poseidon to have a lot of children. Poseidon’s children included the founder of Athens Theseus, Orion, Atlas who was the king of Atlantis, Triton, Belus, Polyphemus, Pegasus, and even more. I told you he had a lot of kids!
Fact 10: Poseidon had a number of brothers and sisters such as Hades, God of the underworld, Demeter, Hestia, Hera, Zeus, and Chiron.
Fact 11: Poseidon was prayed to by many seafarers, ship owners, and captains as they thought he would protect them and their ships while at sea. However, the seas off the coast to Greece are very rough and often claimed hundreds of lives a year. So people prayed to him to beg for mercy more than anything else.
Fact 12: Homer, the ancient Greek author, wrote in the Iliad that Poseidon actively supported the Greeks in their battle against the Trojans by keeping the seas calm as the Greek army across the Aegean Sea.
Fact 13: In Homer’s other epic poem, the Odyssey, the main character, Odysseus, upsets Poseidon by blinding one of his sons, Polyphemus. Incensed by Odysseus’ actions, Poseidon brought the wrath of the seas down upon Odysseus which destroyed his ship. This destruction delayed Odysseus’ journey home by 10 long years.
Fact 14: Also, Homer wrote a hymn about Poseidon. It was called “To Poseidon” and it was only seven lines long. That’s not very long when you consider Homer’s “Hymn of the Gods”, called “To Hermes”, was 580 lines long!
Fact 15: The origins of the name Poseidon, like many Greek god’s names, is largely unknown.
Fact 16: Scholars, however, have theorized that Poseidon’s name was born from adding together the ancient Greek words for husband, lord, and earth.
Fact 17: however, what a Burkert, a German Greek mythology scholar, suggested that any theories about the origin of Poseidon’s name are no more than blind guesses. And that we’ll never know for sure where Poseidon’s name originated.
Fact 18: Poseidon had a polearm called the Trident. A Trident has three prongs and was used for fishing.
Fact 19: A cult in Peloponnesus, Greek’s largest southerly island, once worshipped a horse version of Poseidon that was still called Poseidon. Maybe they got him confused with a seahorse or something. Who knows!
Fact 20: The National Archaeological Museum of Athens has a 2200-year-old statue of Poseidon that is, unfortunately, missing its Trident. The Trident was likely made out of metal, most likely gold or bronze, and has long ago been looted for its value.
Fact 21: Bronze Age Greek tablets indicate that there was a feminist version of Poseidon called Posedeia. This would suggest a lost goddess wife of Poseidon. However, no other evidence to provide any more details of her existence. And she, if she existed, will be likely lost to time forever.
Fact 22: The temple of Poseidon, a huge temple built in the name of the sea god, was erected in 440 BC. That’s over 2500 years ago. It still has many pillars still erect, and it can be found at Cape Sounion in Greece.
Fact 23: Poseidon is considered to be one of the three most powerful gods alongside Hades and Zeus.
Fact 24: Poseidon is usually pictured with wet long curly hair and a long bushy beard.
Fact 25: When he wasn’t staring up storms and sinking ships, Poseidon liked to travel around in his chariot. Not much different from most Greek gods then. But there was something very odd about what pulled this particular chariot. Instead of normal horses leading his chariot, a set of creatures called Hippocampuses did. Hippocampuses are animals that have the body of a horse and the tail of a fish.
Fact 26: Poseidon had the nickname “Earthshaker” because he had a rather nasty habit of causing most of the earthquakes in Greece.
Fact 27: Cronus, a Titan and Poseidon’s father, had a vision that his child, namely Poseidon, would overthrow him. So, he did what any fearful God would do: he swallowed his son whole in an effort to kill him.
Fact 28: Fortunately, Poseidon was saved by his brother Zeus.
Fact 29: After this, Poseidon, Zeus, and the black sheep of the family, Hades, teamed up like The Avengers to defeat the Titans. After Poseidon and his brothers won the war they split the world up between them. Poseidon got the sea, Zeus got the sky, and, well, Hades got stuck with the underworld.
Fact 30: Poseidon is father to the winged horse Pegasus.
Fact 31: Poseidon is credited with creating the horse. Apparently, he created the beast so he could present it as a gift to his love, at the time, the goddess Demeter. Unfortunately, Poseidon spent so long toiling away making the horse, he decided he didn’t love Demeter after all and kept the horse for himself.
Fact 32: In Homer’s epic poem, the Odyssey, Athena actively works against Poseidon to help Odysseus return home. She doesn’t do a very good job though as Odysseus still took 10 extra years to get home.
Fact 33: Poseidon had a palace under the sea made of jewels set into massive structures of coral.
Fact 34: The giant Polybotes and Poseidon had an epic cosmic scale battle. Eventually, Poseidon won by throwing a section of Kos island at Polybotes, crushing and killing him in the process.
Fact 35: Poseidon is actually considered to be the second most violent and badly tempered God out of all the Greek gods. The God considered to be the most violent was Aries, who, unsurprisingly, was the God of war.
Fact 36: Poseidon is often seen as the fertility god in ancient Greece.
Fact 37: Poseidon had the ability to strike the world with his Trident to create earthquakes.
Fact 38: One of Poseidon’s sons, Triton, was half human and half fish.
Fact 39: Amphitrite, Poseidon’s wife, was also a goddess of the sea.
Fact 40: There are statues of Poseidon in many places around the world including:
- Presov in Slovakia
- Bristol in England
- Gothenburg in Sweden
- Berlin in Germany
Fact 41: Alexander the great prayed on the shore of the Syrian Sea, before setting off to the Battle of Issus, to ask Poseidon for safe passage across the sea.
Fact 42: Sailors were so scared of Poseidon’s wrath that they would take horses on board their ships just to throw them overboard as a sacrifice if the weather got bad.
Fact 43: The fight between Poseidon, his brothers, and the Titans was called the Titanomachy.
Fact 44: Though Poseidon was a generally violent God, he was extremely dedicated to his children. He made time to spend with them and would give them advice often.
Fact 45: Poseidon’s trident was made for him by three elder cyclopses to aid him in the war against the Titans
Fact 46: Poseidon’s trident can be found throughout the world as a symbol of the sea.
Fact 47: The Trident is found on the special warfare insignia of the US Navy SEALs.
Fact 48: The Trident can also be found on the national flag of Barbados.
Fact 49: Poseidon often tried to force himself on women which resulted in an estimated 30+ relationships.
Fact 50: In modern culture, Poseidon was featured in the 1989 Disney animated film The Little Mermaid.
Book – A Companion to Greek Mythology – Volume 87 of Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World