In Greek mythology Amphitrite was the consort of Poseidon and the goddess of the sea. She was the daughter of Nereus and Doris and is the personification of the sea itself. Her children are seals, dolphins and her son with Poseidon, Triton. Before Poseidon was designated god of the sea by Zeus, Amphitrite and the fifty Nereids ruled it, with their servants the Tritons. In order to win her hand Poseidon chased her all over the sea. Amphitrite however had vowed to live a life of virginity and so fled on a giant tidal wave (which in some stories sank Atlantis.) Seeing he couldn't win her alone he had the King of the Dolphins go to her and persuade her to marry him. When she consented, the dolphin was rewarded by being placed in the sky as the constellation Delphinus. Despite his persistence in marrying Amphitrite, Poseidon found time and the audacity to have many love affairs with other goddesses, nymphs and mortal women which made Amphitrite very unhappy. She was especially upset by his infatuation with Scylla. By throwing magical herbs into Scylla's bathing pool, Amphitrite changed her rival into a barking monster with six heads and twelve feet. Scylla went on to hang out with fellow monster Charybdis and hassle Odysseus on his way home in The Odyssey.
The sailors of ancient Greece prayed to Amphitrite, who was considered kind and charming, to calm angry seas. Amphitrite's Roman equivalent was Salacia, whose name means "the salty one." Amphitrite was frequently represented in ancient works of art; her figure resembled that of Aphrodite, but she was usually distinguished from her by a sort of net which kept her hair together, and by the claws of a crab on her forehead. She was sometimes represented as riding on marine animals, and sometimes as drawn by them.
Find out more about Amphitrite here http://www.theoi.com/Pontios/Amphitrite.html
Say not the mermaid is a myth, I knew one once named Mrs. Smith. She stood while playing cards or knitting: Mermaids are not equipped for sitting.
'We shall see, while above us
The waves roar and whirl,
A ceiling of amber,
A pavement of pearl.
Singing, 'Here came a mortal,
But faithless was she:
And alone dwell for ever
The kings of the sea.'
Afred Lord Tennyson
I would be a mermaid fair; I would sing to myself the whole of the day; With a comb of pearl I would comb my hair; And still as I comb’d I would sing and say, “Who is it loves me? who loves not me?” I would comb my hair till my ringlets would fall, Low adown, low adown, From under my starry sea-bud crown Low adown and around, And I should look like a fountain of gold Springing alone With a shrill inner sound, Over the throne In the midst of the hall; Till that great sea-snake under the sea From his coiled sleeps in the central deeps Would slowly trail himself sevenfold Round the hall where I sate, and look in at the gate With his large calm eyes for the love of me. And all the mermen under the sea Would feel their immortality Die in their hearts for the love of me.
The straightforward mermaid starts every sentence with “Look . . . ” This comes from being raised in a sea full of hooks. She wants to get points 1, 2, and 3 across, doesn’t want to disappear like a river into the ocean. When she’s feeling despairing, she goes to eddies at the mouth of the river and tries to comb the water apart with her fingers. The straightforward mermaid has already said to five sailors, “Look, I don’t think this is going to work,” before sinking like a sullen stone. She’s supposed to teach Rock Impersonation to the younger mermaids, but every beach field trip devolves into them trying to find shells to match their tail scales. They really love braiding. “Look,” says the straightforward mermaid. “Your high ponytails make you look like fountains, not rocks.” Sometimes she feels like a third gender—preferring primary colors to pastels, the radio to singing. At least she’s all mermaid: never gets tired of swimming, hates the thought of socks.
A word about the Images
Many of the images I've used on this blog have been found over years and years of looking at mermaids (plenty are my own though.) I've asked for permission for most but occasionally I don't remember the source. If you find an image here posted that you don't want up (due to your hard work scanning or drawing it) please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
You are watching live video of the "Ocean Voyager" exhibit at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Ga.