Today it is time to continue the series I started looking at some of the Greek gods. We have already explored the Titans and Hades, and today we are going to look at one of the other sons of Cronus and Rhea.
As I mentioned last time, Hades, Poseidon, and Zeus decided who got to rule which realm by drawing lots. Hades was given the underworld and Poseidon was given the sea. As the god of the sea Poseidon was a very integral part of the lives of the Greek people. He was responsible for protecting people at sea and for keeping the earth watered and fertile so that crops were plentiful, but on the flip side he also caused earthquakes and storms in the seas when he was pissed off, which was a frequent occurrence.
Poseidon was moodier than a hormonal woman. He did not like for people to cross him and took harsh vengeance on those who tried. When he was forced to build a wall around Troy as punishment for something he did against Zeus, the King of Troy decided to renege on the payment he was supposed to give. As you can imagine, Poseidon was not cool with this. So what did he do? He sent a sea monster to attack the city. Fortunately for Troy Heracles came along and killed the monster, but that also left Poseidon with a grudge not fully satisfied, so he aided the Greeks during the Trojan War which didn’t end so well for the Trojans.
Then there was the time that Poseidon and Athena went up against each other to see who would be patron god or goddess over Athens. It was decided that each of them would offer a gift to the people and whoever gave the best gift would be chosen. The people decided that the olive tree given by Athena was better than the spring brought forth by Poseidon, so they chose her. And Poseidon flooded their plains.
He was also responsible for pretty much all of the trouble that befell Odysseus in the Odyssey as well as the creation of the Minotaur.
Poseidon was often seen as a god of fertility and boy did he live up to that calling. He had quite the sexual appetite and didn’t really care all that much whether the object of his fancy returned his interest. He had no problem raping women whatsoever. When the goddess Demeter was grieving over the disappearance of her daughter to the underworld, Poseidon decided he wanted her. Demeter spurned his advances and eventually turned herself into a mare so that she could hide among a herd of horses. When Poseidon realized what she had done he decided he would just turn himself into a horse and mount her that way.
And poor Medusa. Medusa was a beautiful priestess in the temple of Athena where she had taken a vow of chastity. Poseidon lusted after her and took her within the walls of Athena’s temple. Enraged by the desecration of her temple, Athena punished Medusa by turning her into the snake-haired gorgon we know her as.
So yeah, not exactly a ton of flattering stories about this god to share, but in spite of his volatile mood swings Poseidon was a very powerful and important god to the Greek people. I hope you enjoyed reading about him and will join me next time when I conclude this series with a look at the most powerful of Cronus’s sons.
What do you think about Poseidon? Are there any stories I did not mention that you are fond of? Let me know in the comments.