Poseidon was the god of the sea, storms, earthquakes, and horses. He was proud and promiscuous, almost enough to rival his brother, Zeus! Though his wife was Amphitrite, he had many other children with many other lovers, some of whom were extremely important. Amongst his children included heroes, gods, giants, and even monsters.
What follows are just some of Poseidon’s many children, both gods and demigods. Each entry describes the child, the circumstances of their birth, and their lasting legacy on Greek mythology. In some cases, where parentage is disputed, alternative fathers are listed – though it’s usually safe to assume that Poseidon had something to do with it!
- 1. Children of Amphitrite – Triton, Benthesikyme and Eumolpus
- 2. Children of Medusa – Pegasus and Chrysaor
- 3. Polyphemus
- 4. Children of Cleito – The 5 Pairs of Twins
- 5. Children of Alcyone – The Line of Atlas
- 6. Theseus
- 7. Cygnus
- 8. Aeolus II
- 9. Lamia
- 10. Busiris
- 11. Kymopoleia
- 12. Athos
- 13. Antaeus
- 14. Torone and Proteus
- 15. Despoina and Arion
- 16. Children of Canace – Tropius, Aloeus, Epopeus, Hopeleus and Nireus
- 17. Bellerophon
- 18. Peratus
- 19. Orion
- 20. Otus and Ephialtes
- 21. Charybdis
- 22. Chrysomallus
- Bonus – The Myth of Jason and the Argonauts
1. Children of Amphitrite – Triton, Benthesikyme and Eumolpus
Poseidon had three children with his wife. The first was Triton, a half-man half-fish who became the first merman. He ruled the deep sea and lived in Poseidon’s golden palace. His full sister Benthesikyme personified waves, and also raised her own half-brother, Eumolpus, whose mother was Chione. Rhodos is also often a daughter of Poseidon and Amphitrite, though sometimes Aphrodite or Halia are her mother.
Triton was a god of the sea and was known to have the tail of a fish and the torso of a man. He was also known to carry a conch shell which he used to calm the waves for his father. It was also said that when the Olympian war began with the Titans, Triton was able to terrify the giants by using his conch shell. He was overall a helpful and good diety.
When the Argonauts went in search of the Golden Fleece, a giant wave took their ship, the Argo, off course. Triton met the captain of the Argonauts, Jason, but Triton was disguised as a human named Euryphylus. He told Jason and the Argonauts how to get back on track by finding the sea.
He also gifted them a peace of earth. It is said that one of the Argonauts dropped the earth in the sea which created the island, Thera. Triton was also known in another myth for bothering the women of Tanagra as they were bathing before worshipping the god Dionysus. Dionysus ended up challenging Triton to a fight which Triton ended up losing.
2. Children of Medusa – Pegasus and Chrysaor
The Gorgon Medusa was transformed into a monster after the was raped by Poseidon on the floor of a temple of Athena. Her sisters also became monsters and they became killers of men. When she was beheaded by the hero Perseus, Poseidon’s sons emerged from the stump. The first was Pegasus, the winged horse who became the companion of heroes. The second was Chrysaor, who fathered the three headed monster, Geryon.
The hero Bellerophon had heard about Pegasus and wanted the flying horse for himself. He made a sacrifice to Athena and then had a dream about her giving him a special bridle. The next morning he found the bridle beside him.
Bellerophon found Pegasus and easily bridled the horse. Together, the two went on to attack and kill the Chimaera. After the Chimaera was killed, Bellerophon and Pegasus continued to fight in other battles and win. These wins ended up going to Bellerophon’s head, who one day decided he would fly Pegasus up into the sky to the home of the gods.
This didn’t sit well with the gods. Zeus sent a gadfly down to the two and had it sting Pegasus. Pegasus reacted badly and threw Bellerophon who fell to the earth and became crippled. This led to Bellerophon having to live out his days as a beggar. Pegasus was kept in the stables of Mount Olympus until Zeus’ daughters, the Muses, fell in love with the horse and told Zeus they must have him. Zeus gave Pegasus to the Muses.
Polyphemus was said to be the son of Poseidon. He was a giant cyclops and was known to be an eater of man. He had a giant eye in the middle of his forehead.
The Greek hero, Odysseus, sailed his ship and his crew to the island of the Cyclopes. They came ashore and decided they were going to look for food and other supplies. The group ended up finding Polyphemus’ home. This was a horrible mistake. Polyphemus ended up coming home and finding Odysseus and his crew there. He sealed them in his home by using a giant rock to block the door. He then proceeded to eat some of Odyesseus’ men. This infuriated and worried Odysseus who was trapped inside the cyclops’ home as well. Odysseus came up with a plan to get Polyphemus drunk. When the cyclops was drunk enough that he passed out, Odysseus took a burning stake and blinded Polyphemus’ one eye.
In a rage, Polyphemus started throwing giant rocks at Odysseus’ ship. When this plan didn’t work, Polyphemus ended up asking his father, Poseidon , for revenge on Odysseus. Poseidon agreed and ended up causing huge storms that capsized Odysseus’ ship and drowned his crew. This horrible event set Odysseus back by ten years from returning home.
4. Children of Cleito – The 5 Pairs of Twins
Cleito was an Atlantean favored by Poseidon, and he took her as a wife. The couple had five pairs of twins. The oldest son, Atlas, was the supreme king of Atlantis, but his twin brother Eumeles and their eight younger brothers were each given a portion of the land to rule over.
The other eight brothers in their twin pairs were Mneseus and Autochthon, Elasippus and Mestor, and Azaes and Diaprepes. All of the younger brothers answered to Atlas.
5. Children of Alcyone – The Line of Atlas
Alcyone was the daughter of the Titan Atlas and Pleoine or Aethra. She was a Pleiad nymph with many sisters, and a favorite of Poseidon. Together, they had several children. These were Hyrieus, the founder and king of Hyria, Hyperes, co-king of Troezen and founder of Hyperea, Anthas, co-king of Troezen and founder of Anthea, Aethusa, the lover of Apollo and mother of Linus and Eleuther, Epopyus, king of Sicyon, and Hyperenor.
Some say Poseidon was the actual father of Theseus. But, Theseus is also known to be the son of King Aegeus. Either way, he was known to be one of the greatest Greek Heroes.
Throughout his life, Theseus performed many great deeds and had many adventures with other heroes like Jason of the Argonauts, Heracles, Oedipus, and others.
When Theseus was a young man, he was determined to stop the sacrifices of other young men and women who were being sent to Crete as tribute to the King Minos. They were to be sacrificed in a labyrinth created by the Greek inventor, Daedalus. When Theseus landed on Crete, King Minos’ daughter Ariadne fell in love with Theseus and wanted to help him on his task to end the sacrifices.
She gave him a special thread that would help keep track of his route through the maze so he could find his way to the centre, where the Minotaur would be.
Theseus killed the Minotaur and then made his way out of the maze. He ended up taking Ariadne with him and his men once they left Crete, but he eventually abandoned her on the island of Naxos. What a charmer.
Cygnus, whose name means swan, was so named because his mother abandoned him at the seashore after his birth. He was found by fishermen who found him with a swan flying above him. Cygnus would later become the king of Kolonai. The identity of his mother varies, though his father is always Poseidon. Some of his mothers include Harpale, Calyce, and Scamandrodice.
His wife fell in love with his son (her stepson), Tenes. Tenes rejected her, so Cygnus’s wife, Philonome, accused him of raping her. As punishment, Cygnus had Tenes and his sister locked in a chest and thrown into the sea. When he discovered the rape was a falsehood, he had Philonome buried alive and went to find his sons, who ruled as kings in another land, but they rejected him.
Cygnus was killed by Achilles in the Trojan War. He was invulnerable to spears and swords and so was suffocated. After his death, he became a swan.
8. Aeolus II
It is thought that Aeolus may have been the offspring of Poseidon and Arne. Some accounts say Aeolus was known to be a mortal who gained the favor of Zeus, with Zeus granting him control over the winds and then making Aeolus god of the winds. Other accounts claim he remained mortal but was well experienced in navigation and the nature of winds.
As god and king of the winds, Aeolus was known to keep the winds locked up in a cave, sending them out to do his bidding whenever he wished. The winds would create light breezes, strong winds, hurricanes or typhoons depending on his mood. Sometimes Aeolus would put winds in bags and sew them up, giving them to the sailors that he liked. The sailors could then open the bags when they needed wind to carry them home.
In one of the myths, Aeolus gave Odysseus a powerful bag of wind, but Odysseus’ men opened the bag too early when Odysseus was asleep and the winds ended up blowing them farther away from their home, Ithaca. This mishap upset Aeolus, and he refused to help Odysseus again in order to solve the situation.
Lamia was a monster known to eat children and bring nightmares. Her father was Poseidon, though no mother is given. She was originally a beautiful Libyan queen, but after having an affair with Zeus, Hera forced her to eat her own children and permanently cursed her to never sleep. Zeus gifted her with the power of prophecy, shapeshifting, and removing her eyes so that she could sleep. She had serpentine qualities.
Busiris’s mother was either the naiad Anippe or the Egyptian princess Lysianassa. When Busiris became king, he captured Heracles, Greek hero and son of Zeus, and sent him to be sacrificed. Heracles escaped and killed Busiris in turn.
She was the daughter of an unknown goddess by Poseidon, and she married a hundred-handed giant, the Hecatoncheire Briarus, who was known as Aegaeon by mortals.
Athos was a giant and the son of the Oceanid Rhodope. He and his father, Poseidon, had somewhat of a rivalry which resulted in the creation of Mount Athos. Either Athos threw a mountain-sized rock at his father which Poseidon deflected, or Poseidon simply threw the rock at Athos. Either way, it became the mountain.
Antaeus was said to be the son of Poseidon and Gaia. He was a giant and an excellent wrestler. He also possessed the magic ability to never be pinned down by his opponents. This ability was drawn from the earth, the source of which was his mother, Gaia. As long as he was in contact with the earth, Antaeus’ strength would be renewed and he would become almost invincible.
Antaeus was known to stop travellers and force them to compete in wrestling matches against him and he would always win. However, when the hero Heracles was on his way to retrieve the golden apples, he came across Antaeus. Antaeus challenged him to a wrestling match. Both the giant and Heracles had incredible strength, so they were very equal opponents.
However, Heracles struggled at first, until he realized Antaeus’ special ability. Heracles then lifted the giant off the ground, cutting off his contact with the earth. Antaeus, unable to gain strength and thus become invincible, was left vulnerable. Heracles ended up strangling Antaeus and then continuing on his way to complete his twelfth labor of retrieving the golden apples.
14. Torone and Proteus
These were the children of the Phonecian princess Phoenice and Poseidon. As well as siblings, Torone and Proteus were also married, and had two sons of their own. Their sons had a terrible habit of killing guests, which grew so bad that Proteus abandoned them and returned to Poseidon. Torone and Proteus’s sons were later killed by Heracles.
15. Despoina and Arion
Despoina was a goddess of mystery, while her brother, Arion, was a black-maned intelligent horse. They were both conceived after Poseidon desired his sister, Demeter, who was searching for her daughter Persephone. Demeter rejected his advances and turned herself into a mare to escape, but Poseidon turned into a stallion and raped her anyway, resulting in the children.
Poseidon and Demeter would get into a fight every year because Poseidon would flood Demeter’s fields. Arion was likely the result of Poseidon and Demeter forgiving one another. He was a very fast horse that once belonged to Heracles, but then ended up belonging to the king of Argos, Adrastus.
One myth involving Arion is as follows. The Greek hero Odyessus’ two sons, Polynices and Eteocles had at one time, agreed to share the throne of Thebes on alternating years. But when Eteocles first year was complete, he refused to step down and give his brother the throne.
Polynices decided to lead an expedition to dethrone Eteocles, and take what was rightfully his for the next year. Polynices was helped by King Adrastus. They went to Thebes ready to go after the throne. Eteocles is warned by a messenger that Polynices’ army is going to attack Thebes’ seven gates. In turn, Eteocles sends champions to defend each gate. When Polynice attacks, there is a huge battle and the brothers end up killing one another. King Adrastus ends up escaping the useless battle by flying on the back of Arion.
16. Children of Canace – Tropius, Aloeus, Epopeus, Hopeleus and Nireus
Canace was a lover of Poseidon with whom she had many children. She was the daughter of the first Aeolus and a sister of Poseidon’s lover Alcyone. Their son Tropius was punished for destroying a temple of Demeter by suffering eternal hunger and being chased by a snake. Both he and the snake were eventually placed amongst the stars as a constellation.
Tropius’s brother was Aloeus, who sided with the giants against the gods and helped them capture Ares. When Aloeus’s wife told the gods of this, Aloeus had her flayed to death. The next brother was Epopeus, a great king and warrior. The other two brothers were Hopeleus and Nireus.
Some say Poseidon and the wife of King Glaukos, Eurynome, were the parents of Bellerophon.
Bellerophon was a human hero known to have captured the horse Pegasus. Although some say Poseidon may have been his father, it was also said the Corinthian king, Glaukos could have been as well. Bellerophon was also known to be a very handsome ladies man.
One day, Bellerophon visited Argos. He was the guest of the king and queen, Proteus and Anteia. The queen tried to seduce him, but he rejected her. In anger, she told the king Bellerophon had tried to seduce her. The king became enraged and decided to send Bellerophon on an impossible task as punishment.
He wanted him to kill the fire breathing Chimera. Bellerophon agreed to the task and asked the goddess, Athena for help. Athena told Bellerophon he needed to capture Pegasus who would help him to win. Bellerophon did that and together the two went and slayed the Chimaera.
Bellerophon was crippled when he decided to ride up to Mount Olympus on the back of Pegasus. Zeus didn’t like this so he sent a fly down to bother Pegasus. It worked, and Pegasus ended up bucking Bellerophon off his back. Once Bellerophon was crippled, he ended up becoming a beggar and living out his days.
Peratus was the son of Princess Calchinia of Sicyon and Poseidon. He was raised by his maternal grandfather, King Leucippus. After Leucippus died, Peratus became the next king. He was also sometimes known as Eratus. The first version of his name means ‘wanderer’, while the second means ‘lovely’. Peratus ruled Sicyon as its tenth king for around forty-six years.
Orion was said to be the son of Posiedon and Euryale. He was known to be an incredibly handsome giant who could walk on the bottom of the sea. He was also known to be a great hunter of both animals and women.
One day Orion took an interest in Merope, the daughter of Oenopion. Oenopion did not like what was going on between his daughter and the giant, so he ended up blinding Orion and leaving him on the beach. Orion then ended up getting his eyesight back from the goddess of dawn, Eos, who he started to pursue instead of Merope.
The goddess of the moon, Artemis, saw what was happening between Eos and Orion and became curious. Artemis ended up falling in love with Orion, and he with her. Artemis’ brother, Apollo, became very jealous because he was used to having all of Artemis’ attention. Apollo enlisted the help of his grandmother, Gaia, to get rid of the giant. Gaia sent Orion to fight a giant scorpion.
Orion ended up escaping from the scorpion by going into the sea. Apollo then led Artemis to the sea and told her the bobbing head on the water was someone who had attacked a nymph. This infuriated Artemis and so she shot the bobbing head with a silver arrow. It killed Orion. She was so filled with grief, that she ended up making Orion immortal.
20. Otus and Ephialtes
Otus and Ephialtes were two giants who were said to be the sons of Poseidon and his granddaughter, Iphimedia. They grew so fast that they were said to be more than fifty feet tall by the age of nine.
Otus and Ephialtes were prone to causing trouble. One day they got bored and decided to capture the god of war, Ares. They put Ares in a jar.and left him there for months on end. The messenger god, Hermes, ended up finding Ares and released him from the jar. Otus and Ephialtes then decided to capture the goddesses Hera and Artemis. The two giants had decided they were in love with the goddesses and must have them as their own.
They attacked Mount Olympus in order to kidnap Hera and Artemis. But, the goddesses had defended the home of the gods by shooting a rain of arrows into the sky. The arrows ended up killing Otus and Ephialtes who were then imprisoned in the Underworld. They were bound back to back on a pole for all of eternity.
Charybdis was said to be a daughter of Poseidon and the earth goddess Gaia. She was an underwater monster who would transform into a whirlpool and swallow up passing ships.
In one of the Greek myths Odysseus had the misfortune to come across Charybdis. He was sailing in the area and had been warned about the monster. He sailed at what he thought was a safe distance but eventually got sucked into the whirlpool. He managed to escape but many of his crew died.
Charybdis was thought to have once been a women who made the mistake of stealing cattle from her neighbours. The Olympian god Zeus was angered by this and flung her out to sea where she became the terrible sea monster.
She often partnered up with another monster called Scylla and together they would terrorise ships and sailors. The trick to overcoming these two was to sail directly in the middle of them, thereby not angering either.
Chrysomallus was said to be the son of Poseidon and Theophane. He was a beautiful ram with a golden fleece that could fly.
It was said that Chrysomallus was then placed among the stars and known as the constellation Aries. His golden fleece later became a quest for the leader of the Argonauts, Jason. Jason was sent on the impossible task to retrieve the Golden Fleece and bring it back to the King of Iolcos, Pelias.
Pelias said if Jason succeeded, he would step down from the throne and let Jason have his birthright as king of Iocles. Although Jason ended up retrieving the fleece and making it back safely, Pelias refused to step down. This ended up causing problems resulting in Jason and his wife, Medea being exiled from Iolcos.