Posidon (Classical Greek: Ποσειδῶν; Romaniz.: Poseidōn), also known as Poseidon, Poseidon, Posidão, Poseidon or Possêidon, assumed the status of the supreme god of the sea, known to the Romans as Neptune, possibly having Etruscan origins as Nethuns. He was also known as the god of earthquakes. The symbols most often associated with Posidon were the trident and the dolphin.
The origin of Posidon is Cretan, as evidenced by his role in the Minotaur myth. In Minoan civilization he was the supreme god, lord of lightning, an attribute of Zeus in the Greek pantheon, hence the agreement of the division of powers between them, with the sea falling to the ancient king of the Minoan gods.
The first attested occurrence of the name, written in Linear B, is 𐀡𐀮𐀆𐀃 Po-se-da-o'ouor 𐀡𐀮𐀆𐀺𐀚 Po-se-da-wo-n, which correspond to Poseidaōn and Poseidawonos in Mycenaean Greek; in Homeric Greek it appears as Ποσειδάων (Poseidaōn); in Aeolian as Ποτειδάων (Poteidaōn); and in Doric as Ποτειδάν (Poteidan), Ποτειδάων (Poteidaōn), and Ποτειδᾶς (Poteidas).
A common epithet of Posidon is Γαιήοχος Gaiēochos, "earth-shaker," an epithet that is also identified on Linear B tablets. Another attested word 𐀁𐀚𐀯𐀅𐀃𐀚, E-ne-si-da-o-ne, recalls his later epithets Ennosidas and Ennosigaios, indicating the kthonic nature of the Greek god.
The origins of the name "Posidon" are obscure. One theory divides them into one element meaning "husband" or "lord" πόσις (posis), from the proto-Indo-European *pótis) and another element meaning "earth" (δᾶ (da), Doric for γῆ (gē)), yielding something like lord or spouse of Da, that is, of the earth; this would be connecting him with Demeter, the "mother of the earth.
"German scholar Walter Burkert concludes that "the second element of Da- remains hopelessly ambiguous" and finds a "husband of the earth," a reading "completely impossible to prove."
Another theory interprets the second element as related to the word *δᾶϝον dâwon "water"; this would make *Posei-dawōn the master of the waters. There is also the possibility that the word originates from pre-Greek.
Plato in his dialogue Tatilus gives two alternative etymologies: either the sea stopped him while he was walking with a "lock at his feet" (ποσίδεσμον), or he "knew many things" (πολλά εἰδότος or πολλά εἰδῶν).
In the Portuguese language he has been given many names, such as Posídon, a transliteration of his name in ancient Greek, and Posidão. He is also referred to as Poseidon, a name also present in the English-speaking world, or Possêidon, also used in Lusophony.
Posidon was one of the children of Kronos and Reia, and, like his brothers and sisters, was swallowed by Kronos at birth. The birth order of his siblings, according to Pseudo-Apolodorus, is Hestia (the eldest), followed by Demeter and Hera, followed by Hades and Posidon the next to be born, Zeus, was hidden by Reia in Crete, who gave a stone for Kronos to eat.
Hyginus lists Saturn and Reia's children as Vesta, Ceres, Juno, Jupiter, Pluto, and Neptune, he also reports an alternate version of the legend, in which Saturn imprisons Orcus in Tartarus and Neptune under the sea instead of eating them.
Primordially Zeus is said to have forced his father, Kronos, to regurgitate and restore life to the sons he swallowed, among them is Posidon, thus explaining Zeus as the younger brother, as his mother Reia, gave a stone in his place.
Posídon had been raised among the Telkines, the demons of Rhodes. When he reached maturity, he fell in love with Halia, one of the Telkines' sisters, and from this romance six sons and one daughter were born, named Rhodus, hence the name of the island of Rhodes.
Posidon disputed with Athena to decide which of the two would be the patron saint of Athens.
According to Marcus Terentius Varron, quoted by Augustine of Hippo, the women of Attica had the right to vote at the time of King Cicrope I. When this king founded a city, an olive tree and a spring of water sprang up in it.
The king asked the Oracle of Delphi what this meant, and the answer was that the olive tree meant Minerva and the fountain Neptune, and that the citizens should choose between the two which would be the name of the city. All the citizens were called to vote, men and women; the men voted for Neptune, the women for Minerva, and Minerva won by one vote.
Neptune became angry, and attacked the city with the waves. To appease the god (whom Augustine calls a demon), the women of Athens accepted three punishments: that they would lose the right to vote, that no children would be named after their mother, and that no one would call them Athenians.
In the Iliad, Poseidon appears to us as the supreme god of the seas, commanding not only the waves, currents and tides, but also marine and coastal storms, causing springs and coastal collapses with his trident. Although his power seems to have extended to springs and lakes, rivers in turn have their own deities, notwithstanding, the fact that Poseidon owned the magnificent island of Atlantis.
Generally, Poseidon used water and earthquakes to exact revenge, but he could also present a cooperative character. He greatly assisted the Greeks in the Trojan War, but took years to exact revenge on Odysseus, who had injured the calf of one of his Cyclopes.
The sailors prayed to him for favorable winds and safe travels, but his mood was unpredictable. Despite sacrifices, which included drowning horses, he could cause storms, bad winds, and earthquakes on a whim.
Considering that the numerous love adventures of Posidon were all fruitful in offspring, it should be noted that, unlike the offspring of his brother Zeus, the children of the god of the seas, like those of his brother Hades, are almost all evil and of violent temperaments.
Some examples: from Theosa is born the Cyclops Polyphemus; from Medusa is born the giant Crisaor; from Amimone is born Nauplius; from Demeter is born Despina, goddess of winter who destroys everything her mother and half-sister Persephone grow, and also freezes the waters; from Iphimidia are born the giant brothers Oto and Ephialtes (the Aloides), who even declared war on the gods.
In turn, the children he had with Halia committed so many atrocities that their father had to bury them to avoid further punishment.
He also married Amphitrite, daughter of Nereus and Doris from whom was born his son Triton, the god of the oceanic abysses, who helped Jason and his Argonauts recover the Golden Velocus, and Rode, who married Helios.
There are several lists of sons of this god. Hyginus lists the following sons:
Boeotus and Helene, by Antiopa, daughter of Aeolus Agenor and Belo, by Libya, daughter of Epaphus Bellerophon by Euryinome, daughter of Nisosus Leuconoe by Temisto, daughter of Hypseus Hirieus by Alcione (daughter of Atlas)
Abas by Aretusa, daughter of Nereus Ephoceus by Alcione (daughter of Atlas) an illegible text, which seems to have the words Beautiful and Actor Díctis by Agamede, daughter of Augias Evadne by *Lena, daughter of Leucippus
Megareus by Oenope, daughter of Epopeus Cigno by Chalice, daughter of Hecato Periclimene and Anceu by Astipaleia, daughter of Phoenix Neleu and Pelias by Tyre (mythology), daughter of Salmoneus Eupemo, Lico and Nicteus by Celeno, daughter of *Ergeus another truncated text, with words Peleus *Arprites and Anteus
Eumolpus by Chione, daughter of Achillus another text truncated, with words by Amimone as well as cyclops Polyphemus *Meto by Melite, daughter of Búsiris Despina and Arion (twins) by Demeter. Cimopoleia and Triton, by Amphitrite. Anteros by Nerites.