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Poseidon, Amphitrite, Hippocamps and Erotes | Greco-Roman mosaic C4th A.D. | Musée du Louvre, Paris
Poseidon, Amphitrite, Hippocamps and Erotes, Greco-Roman mosaic C4th A.D., Musée du Louvre

POSEIDON was the Olympian god of the sea, earthquakes, floods, drought and horses.

The god had numerous lovers in myth. This page describes his divine consorts including the sea-queen Amphitrite, goddess Demeter and Gorgon Medousa.

The second "Loves" page covers his mortal liaisons.


AMPHITRITE The goddess of the sea, eldest of the Nereides, was the wife of Poseidon. She bore him several divine offspring: Triton, Rhode and Benthesikyme.

APHRODITE The goddess of love and beauty was loved by Poseidon and, according to some, bore him two daughters Rhode and Herophile (though both daughters are given alternative parents by other authors).

ASTERIA A Titan-goddess who fleeing the pursuit of Zeus in heaven, transformed herself into a quail and leapt into the sea. When Poseidon then attempted to seduce her she transformed herself into the floating island of Delos.

DEMETER The goddess of agriculture fled the advances of Poseidon and hid among the herds of Onkios in the shape of a horse. Poseidon assumed the form of a stallion and coupled with her. From this union were born the goddess Despoine and the immortal horse Areion.

GAIA (Gaea) The goddess of the earth was a consort of Poseidon. She bore him numerous children including the giants Antaios and Kharybdis.

HESTIA The goddess of the hearth was wooed by Poseidon and Apollon. But she, declaring her desire to remain a virgin, retired to the palace of Zeus and kept her maidenhood.

THETIS A sea-goddess and Nereid-nymph who was wooed by both Zeus and Poseidon. Both gods withdrew from their pursuit when it was revealed that Thetis was destined to bear a child greater than its father.


ALKYONE (Alcyone) A Pleiad-nymph of Boiotia (central Greece) who was loved by Poseidon and bore him several sons and a daughter: Hyrieus, Lykos, Anthas, Hyperes, Epokheus, and Aithousa. [see Family]

ANIPPE A Naiad-nymph of Aigyptos (Egypt) (North Africa), who was loved by Poseidon and bore him a son, the Aigyptian King Bousiris. [see Family]

ARETHOUSA (Arethusa) A Nereid-nymph who bore Poseidon a son named Abas. [see Family]

ASKRE (Ascra) A woman or nymph of Boiotia (central Greece) who was the mother of Oioklos by Poseidon. [see Family]

BEROE The goddess-nymph of the city of Beroe in Phoinikia (Phoenicia, West Asia). She was wooed by the god Poseidon and Dionysos and in the competition that ensued, Poseidon won her as his bride.

EIDOTHEA An Oreiad-nymph of Mt Othrys in Malis (Northern Greece). She bore Poseidon a son named Eusiros. [see Family]

EURYTE A nymph of Attika (southern Greece) who bore Poseidon a son, Hallirhothios. [see Family]

HALIA A sea-nymph loved by Poseidon who bore him the Daimones Proseoous and, according to some, the Goddess-Nymphe Rhode.

KELAINO (Celaeno) A Pleiad-nymph who was loved by Poseidon and bore him a son Lykos. She was sometimes confused with another Kelaino (the Theban daughter of Ergeus) also loved by the god. [see Family]

KELOUSA (Celusa) A nymph of Argolis (southern Greece) who, according to some, bore the River-God Asopos to Poseidon (one of several sets of parents given this god). [see Family]

KHIONE (1) (Chione) A nymph of Thrake (north of Greece) and minor goddess of snowfall. She was seduced by Poseidon and bore him a son Eumolpos.

KHIONE (2) (Chione) A nymph of the island of Khios (Greek Aegean) who bore Poseidon a son, Khios. [see Family]

KLEODORA (Cleodora) A nymph of Phokis (central Greece) who was the mother by Poseidon of a son named Parnassos (though others say the father was Kleopompos). [see Family]

KORKYRA (Corcyra)A Naiad-nymph of Argolis (southern Greece) who was abducted by Poseidon to the island of Korkyra (north-western Greece). She bore him a son Phaiax.

MEDOUSA (Medusa) One of the three Gorgones who was seduced in the shape of a bird by Poseidon. They had two children--the giant Khrysaor and the winged horse Pegasos--both of which sprang from her severed neck when she was slain by Perseus.

MELANTHEIA A Naiad-nymph of Elis (southern Greece) who bore Poseidon a daughter named Eirene. [see Family]

MELIE (Melia) A Okeanid-nymh of Bithynia (Asia Minor) who bore Poseidon two sons: Amykos and Mygdon. [see Family]

MIDEIA A nymph of Boiotia (central Greece) who bore Poseidon a son named Aspledon. [see Family]

NYMPHE KHIAS (Chian nymph) A nymph of the island of Khios (Greek Aegean) who bore Poseidon two sons: Agelos and Melas. [see Family]

NYMPHE TARENTINE A nymph of Taras (southern Italy) who was the mother by Poseidon of the eponymous king Taras. [see Family]

PEIRENE A Naiad-nymph of Korinthos (southern Greece). She bore Poseidon two sons: Kenkhrias and Lekhes.

PERO A nymph of Argolis (southern Greece) who, according to some, bore the river-god Asopos to Poseidon (one of several sets of parents given this god). [see Family]

PITANE A nymph or princess of Lakedaimonia (southern Greece) who was loved by Poseidon and bore him a daughter Euadne. She may be the same as Lena daughter of Leukippos, who is elsewhere called the mother of Euadne.

SALAMIS A Naiad-nymph of Argolis (southern Greece) who was carried off by Poseidon to the island of Salamis (southern Greece) where she bore him a son named Kykhreus.

THOOSA A sea-nymph who was loved by Poseidon and bore him the Kyklops Polyphemos.

TRITONIS The goddess-nymph of Lake Tritonis in Libya (North Africa) who, according to some, was the mother of Athena by Poseidon. [This is a myth from Libyan Mythology whose native gods were identified with their closest Greek counterparts--Athena and Poseidon]. [see Family]


NERITES A minor sea-god who was the charioteer and a male-lover of the god Poseidon. Following a dispute with the god Helios (whom Nerites had dared challenge to a chariot race) he was transformed into a shell-fish.



Poseidon-Neptune and Amphitrite | Greco-Roman mosaic from Herculaneum C1st A.D. | Naples National Archaeological Museum
Poseidon-Neptune and Amphitrite, Greco-Roman mosaic from Herculaneum C1st A.D., Naples National Archaeological Museum

LOCALE : Aegean Sea (Greek Aegean)


Oppian, Halieutica 1. 38 (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd A.D.) :
"The Delphines (Dophins); Poseidon loves them exceedingly, inasmuch as when he was seeking Amphitrite the dark-eyed daughter of Nereus who fled from his embraces, Delphines (the Dolphins) marked her hiding in the halls of Okeanos and told Poseidon; and the god of the dark hair straightway carried off the maiden and overcame her against her will. Her he made his bride, queen of the sea, and for their tidings he commended his kindly attendants and bestowed on them exceeding honour for their portion."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Astronomica 2. 17 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Constellation Delphin. Eratosthenes and others give the following reason for the dolphin's being among the stars. Amphitrite, when Neptunus [Poseidon] desired to wed her and she preferred to keep her virginity, fled to Atlas. Neptunus sent many to seek her out, among them a certain Delphin, who, in his wandering s among the islands, came at last to the maiden, persuaded her to marry Neptunus, and himself took charge of the wedding. In return for this service, Neptunus put the form of a dolphin among the constellations."


Hesiod, Theogony 930 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or 7th B.C.) :
"And of Amphitrite and the loud-roaring Earth-Shaker [Poseidon] was born great, wide-ruling Triton, and he owns the depths of the sea, living with his dear mother and the lord his father in their golden house, an awful god."

Pindar, Olympian Ode 6 ep5 (trans. Conway) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"Great god of the sea [Poseidon], husband of Amphitrite, goddess of the gold spindle."

Bacchylides, Fragment 17 (trans. Campbell, Vol. Greek Lyric IV) (C5th B.C.) :
"But sea-dwelling dolphins were swiftly carrying great Theseus to the house of his father [Poseidon], god of horses, and he reached the hall of the gods . . . And he saw his father's dear wife, august ox-eyed Amphitite, in the lovely house; she put a purple cloak about him and set on his thick hair the faultless garland which once at her marriage guileful Aphrodite had given her, dark with roses [presumably as a wedding gift]."

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 28 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Poseidon married Amphitrite, and had as children Triton and Rhode."

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3. 201 :
"His [Poseidon's] and Amphitrite's daughter Benthesikyme (Deep-Waves)."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Preface (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"From Neptunus [Poseidon] and Amphitrite [was born] : Triton."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Astronomica 2. 5 :
"At once a great swarm of dolphins, tumbling forward over the sea, led him [Theseus son of Poseidon] through gently swelling waves to the Nereides. From them he brought back the ring of Minos and a crown . . . the crown came from the wife of Neptunus [Amphitrite wife of Poseidon]."

For MORE information on this goddess see AMPHITRITE

Amphitrite, Poseidon and Hippocamps | Greco-Roman mosaic from Utica | Bardo National Museum, Tunis
Amphitrite, Poseidon and Hippocamps, Greco-Roman mosaic from Utica, Bardo National Museum


LOCALE : Thelpousa, Arkadia (Southern Greece)

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3. 77 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Demeter bore this horse [Areion] to Poseidon, after having sex with him in the likeness of an Erinys."

Callimachus, Fragment 207 (from Scholiast on Lycophron 1225) (trans. Trypanis) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"Her [the goddess Despoine] he [Poseidon] begat with Erinys Tilphosa [Demeter]."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 25. 5 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"When Demeter was wandering in search of her daughter, she was followed, it is said, by Poseidon, who lusted after her. So she turned, the story runs, into a mare, and grazed with the mares of Ogkios [in Arkadia]; realising that he was outwitted, Poseidon changed into a stallion and enjoyed Demeter. At first, they say, Demeter was angry at what had happened, but later on she laid aside her wrath and wished to bathe in the Ladon . . .
Demeter, they say, had by Poseidon a daughter, whose name they are not wont to divulge to the uninitiated, and a horse called Areion . . .
In the Iliad there are verses about Areion himself : ‘Not even if he drive divine Areion behind, the swift horse of Adrastos, who was of the race of the gods.’
In the Thebaid it is said that Adrastos fled from Thebes : ‘Wearing wretched clothes, and with him dark-maned Areion.’
They will have it that the verses obscurely hint that Poseidon was father to Areion, but Antimakhos says that Gaia was his mother."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 37. 9 - 10 :
"From Akakesion [in Arkadia] it is four stades to the sanctuary of Despoine . . .
This Despoine the Arkadians worship more than any other god, declaring that she is a daughter of Poseidon and Demeter. Despoine is her surname among the many, just as they surname Demeter's daughter by Zeus Kore . . .
Beyond the grove [of the sanctuary] are altars of Hippios (Horse) Poseidon, as being the father of Despoine."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 42. 1 :
"Mount Elaios [in Arkadia] . . . has a cave sacred to Demeter surnamed Black. The Phigalians accept the account of the people of Thelpousa about the mating of Poseidon and Demeter, but they assert that Demeter gave birth, not to a horse but to Despoine, as the Arkadians call her. Afterwards, they say, angry with Poseidon and grieved at the rape of Persephone, she put on black apparel and shut herself up in this cavern for a long time. But when the fruits of the earth were perishing, and the human race dying yet more through famine, no god, it seemed, knew where Demeter was hiding, until Pan, they say, visited Arkadia. Roaming from mountain to mountain as he hunted, he came at last to Mount Elaios and spied Demeter, the state she was in and the clothes she wore. So Zeus learnt this from Pan, and sent the Moirai (Fates) to Demeter, who listened to the Moirai and laid aside her wrath, moderating her grief as well."

Ptolemy Hephaestion, New History Book 3 (summary from Photius, Myriobiblon 190) (trans. Pearse) (Greek mythographer C1st to C2nd A.D.) :
"Concerning the water of the Styx in Arkadia he [Hephaestion] recounts the following: while Demeter was mourning for her daughter, Poseidon intruded on her sorrow and she in anger metamorphosed into a mare; she arrived at a fountain in this form and detesting it she made the water black." [N.B. Fountains were sacred to Poseidon.]

Ovid, Metamorphoses 6. 118 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"The corn's most gracious mother [Demeter], golden-haired, suffered him [Poseidon] as a horse."

For MORE information on this goddess see DEMETER

Poseidon, Gorgon Euryale, beheaded Medusa and birth of Pegasus | Boeotian black-figure bowl C5th B.C. | Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Poseidon, Gorgon Euryale, beheaded Medusa and birth of Pegasus, Boeotian black-figure bowl C5th B.C., Museum of Fine Arts Boston


LOCALE : Erytheia, Red Sea (North Africa)


Hesiod, Theogony 270 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or 7th B.C.) :
"Poseidon, he of the dark hair, lay with one of these [the Gorgon Medousa], in a soft meadow and among spring flowers."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 4. 786 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"She [Medousa], it's said, was violated in Minerva's [Athena's] shrine by the Lord of the Sea (Rector Pelagi) [Poseidon]. Jove's [Zeus'] daughter turned away and covered with her shield her virgin's eyes. And then for fitting punishment transformed the Gorgo's lovely hair to loathsome snakes."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 6. 119 ff :
"As a bird, [Medousa] the snake-tressed mother of the flying steed [Pegasos] [was seduced by Poseidon]."


Hesiod, Theogony 270 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or 7th B.C.) :
"The Gorgones who, beyond the famous stream of Okeanos, live in the utmost place toward night, by the singing Hesperides: they are Sthenno, Euryale, and Medousa, whose fate is a sad one, for she was mortal, but the other two immortal and ageless both alike. Poseidon, he of the dark hair, lay with one of these, in a soft meadow and among spring flowers. But when Perseus had cut off the head of Medousa there sprang from her blood great Khrysaor and the horse Pegasos so named from the springs (pegai) of Okeanos, where she was born."

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 2. 32 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Bellerophon mounted Pegasos, his winged horse born of Medousa and Poseidon."

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 2. 42 :
"Perseus, with Athene guiding his hand, kept his eyes on the reflection in a bronze shield as he stood over the sleeping Gorgones, and when he saw the image of Medousa, he beheaded her. As soon as her head was severed there leaped from her body the winged horse Pegasos and Khrysaor the father of Geryon. The father of these two was Poseidon."

Strabo, Geography 8. 6. 21 (trans. Jones) (Greek geographer C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Pegasos, a winged horse which sprang from the neck of the Gorgon Medousa when her head was cut off."

Lycophron, Alexandra 840 ff (trans. Mair) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"The harvester [Perseus] who delivered of her [Medousa's] pains in birth of horse [Pegasos] and man [Khrysaor] the stony-eyed weasel whose children sprang from her neck."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 151 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"From Medusa, daughter of Gorgon, and Neptunus [Poseidon], were born Chrysaor and horse Pegasus."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 4. 786 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"While deep sleep held fast Medusa and her snakes, he [Perseus] severed her head clean from her neck; and from their mother's blood swift-flying Pegasos and his brother [Khrysaor] sprang . . . She [Medousa], it's said, was violated in Minerva's [Athena's] shrine by the Lord of the Sea (Rector Pelagi) [Poseidon]."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 24. 270 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"[Perseus] shore off the snaky swathe of one Medousa, while her womb was still burdened and swollen with young, still in foal of Pegasos; what good if the sickle played the part of childbirth Eileithyia, and reaped the neck of the pregnant Gorgon, firstfruits of a horsebreeding neck?" [I.e. Medousa's were born from her decapitated neck.]

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 31. 13 ff :
"Perseus was ferrying across to the thirsty stretches of Libya . . . he dived into the dangerous cave [of the Gorones], reaped the hissing harvest [of Medousa's head] by the rockside, the firstfruits of curling hair, sliced the Gorgon's teeming throat and stained his sickle red. He cut off the head and bathed a bloodstained in the viperish dew; then as Medousa was slain, the neck was delivered of its twin birth, the Horse [Pegasos] and the Boy [Khrysaor] with the golden sword."

For MORE information on this gorgon see MEDOUSA


Hermes, birth of Aphrodite, Himeros and Poseidon | Athenian red-figure pelike C4th B.C. | Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki
Hermes, birth of Aphrodite, Himeros and Poseidon, Athenian red-figure pelike C4th B.C., Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki

LOCALE : Aegean Sea (Greek Aegean)

Aphrodite's gratitude to Poseidon and their subsequent affair is described by one of the ancient scholia in his discussion about the passage from Homer's Odyssey in which the god secures the release of Aphrodite and Ares from the chains of Hephaistos after they were caught in the act adultery.

Homer, Odyssey 8. 267 ff (trans. Shewring) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"[Ares and Aphrodite] went to the bed and there lay down, but the cunning chains of crafty Hephaistos [Aphrodite's husband] enveloped them, and they could neither raise their limbs nor shift them at all; so they saw the truth when there was no escaping. Meanwhile the lame craftsman god approached [and called the gods to see the entrapped lovers] . . . and the gods came thronging there in front of the house with its brazen floor . . . For Poseidon there was no laughing; he kept imploring the master smith Hephaistos in hopes that he would let Ares go. He spoke in words of urgent utterance : ‘Let him go; I promise that he shall pay in full such rightful penalty as you ask for--pay in the presence of all the gods.’"

Pindar, Olympian Ode 7 ep1 (trans. Conway) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"Praise the sea maid [Rhode], daughter of Aphrodite, bride of Helios, [demi-goddess of] this isle of Rhodes."

For MORE information on this goddess see APHRODITE


LOCALE : Aegean Sea (Greek Aegean)

Aelian, On Animals 14. 28 (trans. Schofield) (Greek natural history C2nd to 3rd A.D.) :
"There is in the sea a shellfish with a spiral shell, small in size but of surpassing beauty, and it is born where the water is at its purest and upon rocks beneath the sea and on what are called sunken reefs. Its name is Nerites: two stories are in circulation touching this creature, and both have reached me; moreover the telling of a short tale in the middle of a lengthy history is simply giving the hearer a rest and sweetening the narrative . . .
One son was born [to Nereus] after all that number of daughters [the Nereides], though he is celebrated in mariners' tales . . .
[One] account proclaims that Poseidon was the lover of Nerites, and that Nerites returned his love, and that this was the origin of the celebrated Anteros (Mutual Love). And so, as I am told, of the rest the favourite spent his time with his lover, and moreover when Poseidon drove his chariot over the waves, all together great fishes as well as dolphins and Tritones too, sprang up from their deep haunts and gambolled and danced around the chariot, only to be left utterly and far behind by the speed of his horses; only the boy favourite was his escort close at hand, and before them the waves sank to rest and the sea parted out of reverence to Poseidon, for the god willed that his beautiful favourite should not only be highly esteemed for other reasons but should also be pre-eminent at swimming.
But the story relates that Helios the Sun resented the boy's power of speed and transformed his body into the spiral shell as it now is: the cause of his anger I cannot tell, neither does the fable mention it. But if one may guess where there is nothing to go by, Poseidon and Helios might be said to be rivals."

For MORE information on this godling see NERITES






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