21 Poseidon Facts for Kids
In early Greece and Rome there were stories of Gods that ruled the earth and the seas. There was a God that would explain the weather and how the earth changed from one season to another. It has been man’s quest since the beginning of time to better understand his surroundings.
1. Long before there was a scientific measure there was the desire to understand why it rained and why there was loud thunderous claps from the sky. The ocean also held great mysteries. For the Greeks it was the God Poseidon who controlled the seas. For the Romans it was the God Neptune that controlled the seas.
2. Poseidon was worshipped by Greek sailors and the people that lived in coastal areas. It was thought if you kept Poseidon happy than the sea would be plentiful and your travels on the sea would be protected.
Who Was Poseidon?
3. Poseidon according to legends was the brother of Zeus (king of all the Gods and ruler of the earth ) and Hades. Zeus ruled over all the Gods and the earth and Hades rules the underworld and the undead while Poseidon ruled the oceans. He is often depicted with long flowing hair and carrying a trident (a spear of sorts with three tines). They are three of the five children of Kronos.
4. He could whip the ocean into a frenzy simply by pointing the trident at the ocean. He could raise the wind as well with a point of his trident, a stomp of his foot and the earth would shake. He maintained a home on Mount Olympus but spent the majority of his time living beneath the sea.
5. His underwater mansion was elaborate and had huge columns of marble with gold leafing. Like most of the gods he had many wives but only one main wife that lived under the ocean with him. He is typically thought of as a God of ill will because he is associated with angry seas and the bad weather that can come off the ocean.
6. Many temples were built in his honor and gifts in abundance were left in the temples for his pleasure. The goal was always to keep Poseidon happy so that there would be calm waters surrounding the coastal areas.
7. Storms of large magnitudes which we now know are relative to many different scientific causes were not understood then. The crashing waves and high winds that typically come off the ocean during a storm must have seemed to the people of ancient Greece like the ravings of an angry man.
His Role In Athens
8. As new villages were settled a God was chosen as the patron of that village. A new village sprouted up and there was a big to do about which God would be selected. According to legend in this instance it was not the people that were selecting the God but two Gods that were interested in the village.
9. Poseidon and his niece Athena were both interested in becoming protectors of this newly formed village. The villagers felt it was only right that Poseidon was the God of the village because it was a coastal town but no one wanted to be the one to choose and risk upsetting the God that was not chosen.
10. Poseidon is playful and he challenged his niece to a contest. Each God would present the villagers with a gift and depending on which gift the villagers found to be more useful that would determine who was God of the village. Poseidon went first. He provided the villagers with a beautiful stream. The villagers gasped with joy when they saw the water, every village needs a water supply however when they tasted the water they could not believe it, it was salt water.
11. Athena presented the village with a beautiful olive tree in full bloom. The olives were plump and beautiful. The wood could be used to build houses. The olives could be eaten and pressed to make oils to cook with.
12. Clearly Athena’s gift was the better more useful gift but no one in the village would dare to upset Poseidon. Poseidon laughed a deep belly laugh and bowed to his niece. He never intended on taking on the village under his protection he was just giving his niece a hard time.
13. The village was named Athens and went to grow by leaps and bounds and enjoyed a great deal of prosperity from the sea and the land.
Horses and Earthquakes
14. Poseidon was also the God of horses and earthquakes both large and as unpredictable as the ocean and again depending on how things were going Poseidon was either considered a loving fair God or a vengeful cruel God.
15. It was believed when an earthquake hit (which happened quite a bit) it was due to Poseidon. It was said that he stomped his foot and banged his trident down on the earth and made the earth shake. With the right gifts and sacrifices the earth shaking would subside.
16. People also believed that Poseidon was the God that controlled the mood and personality of the horses. This all seems to tie together and make sense when you consider that the ocean is a huge expanse that is largely uncontrollable, earthquakes are also uncontrollable as are horses for the most part. To the residents of ancient Greece it must have been a lot easier to put the control off on a God instead of trying to wrangle in the ocean, horses and earthquakes in on their own.
17. Of course it was also a lot easier to simply put your fate in Poseidon’s hands after making your dutiful offerings than it was to really think about the amount of risk there was involved with taking a small wooden boat out into the middle of the ocean which many Greeks did on a regular basis. It must have been comforting to think since you made your offering in the temple that you would not be safe traveling on the ocean.
18. The thought of a God that could protect you from the dangers of the sea must have been the single thing that offered many sailors the confidence that they needed to embark on such dangerous journeys.
19. Poseidon was worshipped in fishing villages throughout Greece but he never really had a crown jewel until Atlantis was born. According to legend Poseidon’s ten sons became kings of Atlantis and the city became one of the most well established successful civilizations of ancient times. Atlantis was Poseidon’s favorite locale.
20. It is said that under Poseidon’s protection Atlantis was able to achieve greatness. There is no hard evidence that Atlantis ever existed although there are many historians that believe it did in fact exist and that something like a sudden volcanic eruption wiped it and all the residents completely off the face of the planet.
21. Atlantis has long been an explorers dream to find. There have been numerous expeditions for centuries that have been launched with the hopes of finding this city that legend have been written about but there has been no one that has been able to locate the ruins of this city.
As for Poseidon, his stories are still told today.