Amphitrite


Amphitrite

In ancient Greek mythology, Amphitrite (Ἀμφιτρίτη) (not to be confused with Aphrodite) was a sea-goddess. [Compare the North Syrian Atargatis.] Under the influence of the Olympian pantheon, she became merely the consort of Poseidon, and was further diminished by poets to a symbolic representation of the sea. In Roman mythology, the consort of Neptune, a comparatively minor figure, was Salacia. ["...Salacia, the folds of her garment sagging with fish" (Apuleius, "The Golden Ass" 4.31).]

Mythography

Amphitrite was a daughter of Nereus and Doris (and thus a Nereid), according to Hesiod's "Theogony", but of Oceanus and Tethys (and thus an Oceanid), according to Apollodorus, who actually lists her among both the Nereids ["Bibliotheke" i.2.7] "and" the Oceanids ["Bibliotheke" i.2.2 and i.4.6.] . Others called her the personification of the sea itself. Amphitrite's offspring included seals ["...A throng of seals, the brood of lovely Halosydne." (Homer, "Odyssey" iv.404).] and dolphins. [Aelian, "On Animals" (12.45) ascribed to Arion a line "Music-loving dolphins, sea-nurslings of the Nereis maids divine, whom Amphitrite bore."] By her, Poseidon had a son, Triton, and a daughter, Rhode (if this Rhode was not actually fathered by Poseidon on Halia or was not the daughter of Asopus as others claim). Apollodorus (3.15.4) also mentions a daughter of Poseidon and Amphitrite named Benthesikyme.

Amphitrite is not fully personified in the Homeric epics: "out on the open sea, in Amphitrite's breakers" ("Odyssey" iii.101); she shares her Homeric epithet "Halosydne" ("sea-nourished") [Wilhelm Vollmer, "Wörterbuch der Mythologie", 3rd ed. 1874 [http://www.vollmer-mythologie.de/halosydne/] ] with Thetis ["Odyssey" iv.404 (Amphitrite), and "Iliad", xx.207.] : in some sense the sea-nymphs are doublets.

Representation and cult

Though Amphitrite does not figure in Greek "cultus", at an archaic stage she was of outstanding importance, for in the Homeric Hymn to Delian Apollo, she appears at the birthing of Apollo among "all the chiefest of the goddesses, Dione and Rhea and Ichnaea and Themis and loud-moaning Amphitrite." Theseus in the submarine halls of his father Poseidon saw the daughters of Nereus dancing with liquid feet, and "august, ox-eyed Amphitrite", who wreathed him with her wedding wreath, according to a fragment of Bacchylides. Jane Ellen Harrison recognized in the poetic treatment an authentic echo of Amphitrite's early importance: "It would have been much simpler for Poseidon to recognize his own son... the myth belongs to that early stratum of mythology when Poseidon was not yet god of the sea, or, at least, no-wise supreme there— Amphitrite and the Nereids ruled there, with their servants the Tritons. Even so late as the "Iliad" Amphitrite is not yet 'Neptuni uxor'" [Neptune's wife] " [Harrison, "Notes Archaeological and Mythological on Bacchylides"The Classical Review" 12.1 (February 1898, pp. 85-86), p. 86.] Amphitrite, "the third one who encircles [the sea] " [Robert Graves, "The Greek Myths" 1960.] , was so entirely confined in her authority to the sea and the creatures in it that she was almost never associated with her husband, either for purposes of worship or in works of art, except when he was to be distinctly regarded as the god who controlled the sea. An exception may be the cult image of Amphitrite that Pausanias saw in the temple of Poseidon at the Isthmus of Corinth (ii.1.7).

The widely respected Pindar, in his sixth Olympian Ode, recognized Poseidon's role as "great god of the sea, husband of Amphitrite, goddess of the golden spindle." For later poets, Amphitrite became simply a metaphor for the sea: Euripides, in "Cyclops" (702) and Ovid, "Metamorphoses", (i.14).

Eustathius said that Poseidon first saw her dancing at Naxos among the other Nereids, [Eustathius of Thessalonica, "Commentary on Odyssey" 3.91.1458, line 40.] and carried her off. [The "Wedding of Neptune and Ampitrite" provided a subject to Poussin; the painting is at Philadelphia.] But in another version of the myth, she fled from his advances to Atlas, ["ad Atlante", in Hyginus' words.] at the farthest ends of the sea; there the dolphin of Poseidon sought her through the islands of the sea, and finding her, spoke persuasively on behalf of Poseidon, if we may believe Hyginus ["...qui pervagatus insulas, aliquando ad virginem pervenit, eique persuasit ut nuberet Neptuno..." Oppian's "Halieutica" I.383-92 is a parallel passage.] and was rewarded by being placed among the stars as the constellation Delphinus. ["Catasterismi", 31; Hyginus, "Poetical Astronomy", ii.17, .132.]

In the arts of vase-painting and mosaic, Amphitrite was distinguishable from the other Nereids only by her queenly attributes. In works of art, both ancient ones and post-Renaissance paintings, Amphitrite is represented either enthroned beside Poseidon or driving with him in a chariot drawn by sea-horses ("hippocamps") or other fabulous creatures of the deep, and attended by Tritons and Nereids. She is dressed in queenly robes and has nets in her hair. The pincers of a crab are sometimes shown attached to her temples.

Other uses

* is also a genus of the polychaete family .
*In poetry, Amphitrite's name is often used for the sea, as a synonym of Thalassa.
*Seven ships of the Royal Navy were named HMS "Amphitrite" .
*An asteroid, 29 Amphitrite, is named for her.
*In 1936 Australia used an image of Amphitrite on a postage stamp as a classical allusion for the submarine communications cable across Bass Strait from Apollo Bay, Victoria to Stanley, Tasmania.
*The name of the former Greek Royal Yacht.
*The United States Merchant Marine Academy has Amphitrite Pool dedicated to the goddess. When First Classmen are taking their Third Mate License Examinations, it is considered good luck if they bounce a coin off of Amphitrite into a seashell at her feet.
*Amphitrite is featured in a puzzle in the Playstation 2 game God of War as Poseidon's faithful wife, in which a statue of her is pointing towards the solution to the puzzle, the exit of the room.

Notes

References

* [http://www.theoi.com/Pontios/Amphitrite.html Theoi.com: Amphitrite] : a repertory of Greek and Latin quotes, in translation.
* Smith, "A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology": [http://www.ancientlibrary.com/smith-bio/1433.html "Halosydne"] and [http://www.ancientlibrary.com/smith-bio/0161.html "Amphitrite"]

ee also

*USS "Amphitrite" (ARL-29)


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