Sunday, January 31, 2010

Amphitrite

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

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