World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Amphitrite

Article Id: WHEBN0000060779
Reproduction Date:

Title: Amphitrite  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Poseidon, Nereid, Nereus, Triton (mythology), Oceanus
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Amphitrite

This article is about the Ancient Greek Goddess. For other uses, see 29 Amphitrite.

Triumph of Poseidon and Amphitrite showing the couple in procession, detail of a vast mosaic from Cirta, Roman Africa (ca. 315–325 AD, now at the Louvre)

In ancient Greek mythology, Amphitrite (; Greek: Ἀμφιτρίτη) was a sea-goddess and wife of Poseidon.[1] 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, the goddess of saltwater.[2]

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 the Bibliotheca, which actually lists her among both the Nereids[3] and the Oceanids.[4] Others called her the personification of the sea itself (saltwater). One of Amphitrite's Oceanid sisters is Perse, (wife of Helios). Amphitrite's offspring included seals[5] and dolphins.[6] Poseidon and Amphitrite had a son, Triton who was a merman, 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). Bibliotheca (3.15.4) also mentions a daughter of Poseidon and Amphitrite named Benthesikyme.

Amphitrite bearing a trident on a pinax from Corinth (575–550 BC)

Amphitrite is not fully personified in the Homeric epics: "out on the open sea, in Amphitrite's breakers" (Odyssey iii.101), "moaning Amphitrite" nourishes fishes "in numbers past all counting" (Odyssey xii.119). She shares her Homeric epithet Halosydne ("sea-nourished")[7] with Thetis[8] 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]".[9]

Amphitrite, "the third one who encircles [the sea]",[10] 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).

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,[11] and carried her off.[12] But in another version of the myth, she fled from his advances to Atlas,[13] 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[14] and was rewarded by being placed among the stars as the constellation Delphinus.[15]

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.

Amphitrite legacy

Amphitrite on 1936 Australian stamp commemorating completion of submarine telephone cable to Tasmania

Notes

  1. ^ Compare the North Syrian Atargatis.
  2. ^ Sel, "salt"; "...Salacia, the folds of her garment sagging with fish" (Apuleius, The Golden Ass 4.31).
  3. ^ Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca i.2.7
  4. ^ Bibliotheke i.2.2 and i.4.6.
  5. ^ "...A throng of seals, the brood of lovely Halosydne." (Homer, Odyssey iv.404).
  6. ^ Aelian, On Animals (12.45) ascribed to Arion a line "Music-loving dolphins, sea-nurslings of the Nereis maids divine, whom Amphitrite bore."
  7. ^ , 3rd ed. 1874Wörterbuch der MythologieWilhelm Vollmer, :
  8. ^ Odyssey iv.404 (Amphitrite), and Iliad, xx.207.
  9. ^ Harrison, "Notes Archaeological and Mythological on Bacchylides"The Classical Review 12.1 (February 1898, pp. 85–86), p. 86.
  10. ^ Robert Graves, The Greek Myths 1960.
  11. ^ Eustathius of Thessalonica, Commentary on Odyssey 3.91.1458, line 40.
  12. ^ The Wedding of Neptune and Ampitrite provided a subject to Poussin; the painting is at Philadelphia.
  13. ^ ad Atlante, in Hyginus' words.
  14. ^ "...qui pervagatus insulas, aliquando ad virginem pervenit, eique persuasit ut nuberet Neptuno..." Oppian's Halieutica I.383–92 is a parallel passage.
  15. ^ Catasterismi, 31; Hyginus, Poetical Astronomy, ii.17, .132.

References

External links

  • Warburg Institute Iconographic Database (ca 130 images of Amphitrite)
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.