Olympian Census #3: Poseidon

Get the stats on your favorite (and not-so-favorite) gods and goddesses on view at the Getty Center.

Roman name: Neptune

Employment: God of the Sea

Place of residence: A fancy palace somewhere in the Aegean Sea

Parents: Cronus and Rhea

Marital status: Married to Amphitrite, a sea goddess, but had many affairs just like his brother Zeus

Offspring: Had many children including Triton, Theseus, Orion, Polyphemos and Arion

Symbol: Trident, horse, and dolphin

Special talent: Starting earthquakes & Shapeshifting into a horse to pursue women

Highlights reel:

  • When Goddess Demeter turned into a mare to escape Poseidon’s pursuit, Poseidon also turned into a horse and mated with her, creating a talking horse baby, Arion.
  • Athena became the patron goddess of Athens over Poseidon by giving the city an olive tree, which produced wood, oil, and food. Poseidon had given them a salt-water spring. Nice going, Poseidon.
  • Poseidon cursed Olysseus to wander the seas for 10 years after the Trojan War in revenge for Olysseus blinding his son, the cyclops Poplyphemos.

Olympian Census is a 12-part series profiling gods in art at the Getty Center.