Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Earth Shaker

 In pre-Olympian Bronze Age Greece, Poseidon was venerated as a chief deity at Pylos and Thebes. He had also the cult title "earth shaker". In the myths of isolated Arcadia he is related with Demeter and Persephone and he was venerated as a horse, however it seems that he was originally a god of the waters. He is often regarded as the tamer or father of horses, and he could create springs with a strike of his trident.

 Homer and Hesiod suggest that Poseidon became lord of the sea following the defeat of his father Cronus, when the world was divided by lot among his three sons: Zeus was given the sky, Hades the underworld, and Poseidon the sea, with the Earth and Mount Olympus belonging to all three. In Homer's Iliad, Poseidon supports the Greeks against the Trojans during the Trojan War and in the Odyssey, during the sea-voyage from Troy back home to Ithaca, the Greek hero Odysseus provokes Poseidon's fury by blinding his son, the Cyclops Polyphemus, resulting in Poseidon punishing him with storms, the complete loss of his ship and companions, and a ten-year delay. In Plato's "Timaeus and Critias", the legendary island of Atlantis was Poseidon's domain.

Poseidon was named Neptune by the Romans and held a special place in their pantheon of deities because in Book XX of the Iliad, even though Poseidon (Neptune) favored the Greeks, he rescues Aeneas from Achilles.  In Virgil's Aeneid, Neptune is still resentful of the wandering Trojans, but is not as vindictive as Juno, and in Book I he rescues the Trojan fleet from the goddess's attempts to wreck it, although his primary motivation for doing this is his annoyance at Juno's having intruded into his domain.

Poseidon. National Archaeological Museum of Athens courtesy of Wikimedia Commons contributor Ricardo André Frantz

High reliefs of Poseidon and Demeter, from the Nerva–Antonine dynasty period, found in the Agora of Smyrna, now on display in the Izmir's History and Culture Museum Athens courtesy of Wikimedia Commons contributor Isabeau

Closeup of Neptune by Adam Lambert-Sigisbert 1725-1727 CE that I photographed at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Bronze statuette of Poseidon, found in the Gulf of Livadostra, c. 480 BCE, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons contributor Sailko.

Roman mosaic depicting the Triumph of Neptune, 2nd century CE, at the Bardo National Museum in Tunisia courtesy of Wikimedia Commons contributor Tony Hisgett.

Mosaic depicting Neptune and Amphitrite, 1st century CE, that I photographed in the House of Neptune and Amphitrite in Herculaneum in 2007.

Reproduction of a frieze depicting an archaic style Neptune decorating the sacred area in Herculaneum that I photographed in 2007.

Sculpture of Neptune that I photographed at Huntington Gardens in Pasadena, California.

Neptune with a Hippocamp by Michel Anguier French 1652 CE Bronze that I photographed at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. in 2015.

Triumph of Neptune and Amphitrite", a Roman mosaic from Cirta, now in the Louvre courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Neptune (with Cosimo I's head) on his chariot by Bartolomeo Ammannati II that I photographed in the Piazza della Signoria in Florence in 2005.

The Lateran Poseidon is a 2nd century CE colossal statue which derived from the lost bronze sculpture made by Lysippos (IV century BCE) for the Temple of Isthmia, on the Isthmus of Corinth, dedicated to the god Poseidon. The statue was originally in the Lateran Museum in Rome (then suppressed) and is probably the most significant evidence of the lost masterpiece of Lysippos.

Roman mosaic of Neptune from Monastir, Tunisia courtesy of Wikimedia Commons contributor Touzrimounir

Terracotta lekythos (oil flask), ca. 440 B.C.E. attributed to the Phiale Painter at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Poseidon, the god of the sea and the brother of Zeus and Hades is said to have created fresh water springs including the great springs at Lerna in the southern Peloponnesos which gushed forth as a result of his pursuit of Amymone, the daughter of the king of Argos.

Detail of Neptune from the Roman "Mosaic of the Seasons" from Palermo in the Regional Archaeological Museum of Palermo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons contributor Giovanni Dall'Orto.

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