an ancient Roman god of the waters. It is doubtful whether he was originally a marine deity, for the old Italians were the very opposite of a maritime people, yet his name is commonly connected with nato, to swim; hence at an earlier period he may have borne another designation, afterwards forgotten. When the Romans became a maritime power, and had grown acquainted with Grecian mythology, they, in accordance with their usual practice, identified him with the Greek god whom he most resembled. This was Poseidon, also Poteidan (connected with πότος, a
πόντος;, the sea; and ποταμός, a river). Poseidon appears in his most primitive mythological form as the god of water in general, or the fluid element. He was the son of Cronos (Saturn) and Rhea, and a brother of Jupiter. On the partition of the universe among the sons of Cronos, he obtained the sea as his portion, in the depths of which he had his palace near Egee, in Euboea. Here also he kept his brazen-hoofed and golden- maned steeds, in a chariot drawn by which he rode over the waves, which grew calm at his approach, while the monsters of the deep, recognising their lord, made sportive homage round his watery path. But he sometimes presented himself at the assembly of the gods on Olympus, and in conjunction with Apollo built the walls of Troy. In the Trojan war he sided with the Greeks; nevertheless he subsequently showed 'himself inimical to the great sea-wanderer Ulysses, who had blinded his son Polyphemus. He was also believed to have created the horse, and taught men its use. The symbol of his power was a trident, with which he raised and stilled storms, broke rocks, etc. According to Herodotus, the name and worship of Poseidon came to the Greeks from Libya. He was worshipped in all parts of Greece and Southern Italy, especially in the seaport towns. The Isthmian games were held in his honor. Black and white bulls, boars, and rams were offered in sacrifice to him. Neptune was commonly represented with a trident, and with horses or dolphins, often along with Amphitrite, in a chariot drawn by dolphins, and surrounded by tritons and other sea- monsters. As befitted the fluctuating element over which he ruled, he is sometimes figured asleep or reposing, and sometimes in a state of violent agitation. See Vollmer, Mythologisches Worterbuch, s.v.; Westcott, Hand- book of Archaeol. pages 166, 167.