Poseidon: God of the Sea
By Amy Hood- @amylia403
The mythology of Poseidon*, who is known by the name Neptune in Roman mythology, is one of the most vast and expansive of all the Greek gods. In many places, his story intersects with others and his influence is spoken of among the oldest mythological tales.
The history most often begins with the tale of his father, the god Chronos, who ate three of his own children: Hades, Zeus and Poseidon. The three brothers fought and defeated their father, bringing a new era to Olympus and the rule of Earth. Zeus took reign over the heavens, Hades was given the Underworld to rule, and Poseidon was given dominion over the Sea. Poseidon was also ruler over earthquakes and horses and often transformed himself into a horse when visiting dry land. The God of the Sea was one of the most amorous in Greek mythology, with a long list of lovers both male and female. He was married to a sea nymph named Amphitrite, but fathered many children with multiple women. One of the most famous of these children is Triton, who is often confused in modern stories with his father. There is no mention in mythology of a daughter named Ursula, but with this unique twist being shown by the Once writers, we should get some great family history and drama. With Triton being Ariel’s father, this makes Poseidon her grandfather, and Ursula her aunt.
Poseidon is said to have ruled from the kingdom of Atlantis but traveled freely all over the world. Among some of his dozens of other children are Atlas, Polyphemus the Cyclops who features in The Odyssey, and the hero Theseus. All three are mentioned throughout Greek mythology. Many works of art including statues, painting and drawings have been dedicated to the God of the Sea.
Aside from the history and storyline upcoming with Ursula and Ariel, Poseidon has ties with another character we met briefly in another season of Once Upon A Time: the gargon Medusa. In Greek mythology, Medusa was a beautiful golden-haired maiden who was a priestess in the Temple of Athena and had sworn a vow of celibacy to the goddess when taking on the priestess title. There are several varying takes on the myth, but the mainstay is that Medusa was wooed by Poseidon and broke her vows. Furious, the goddess Athena cursed Medusa, turning each of her golden strands of hair into venomous snakes and changing the once beautiful maiden into a gorgon Any man who looked upon her would be turned to stone. In the Once Upon a Time take, it was Snow and Charming who were in Medusa’s lair. In the original tale, it is Perseus who kills Medusa. It has not been mentioned yet if Once will delve into the relationship of Medusa and Poseidon in flashbacks, but it definitely could add a whole different story to the mix.
There was often discord among the three brothers, Hades, Zeus and Poseidon. With Zeus ruling the heavens, he was often viewed as the head deity and king over the realm of Earth. Poseidon was said to have felt that he should have this honor since his oceans, lakes and rivers made up so much of the Earth. Hades, ruling the Underworld, also felt slighted by having been given the least of the three realms to rule. We have seen Hades introduced by Disney in their animated feature, Hercules. The introduction of Poseidon opens the door to other gods and goddesses making their way into the Once Upon A Time world. *
Once Upon a Time has cast Ernie Hudson in the role of Poseidon. He has a long list of television and movie credits and is most notably known for his roles in Ghostbusters, The Crow and HBO’s series, OZ.
Explore the Arthurian legend surrounding Lancelot, take a trip into the woods to discover the mythology behind Red Riding Hood or learn more about a modern day hero called Snow White. Origins provides unique insights and perspectives from talented writers into the characters we know and love, going far beyond the boundaries of Storybrooke.