Amphitrite
Overview
In ancient Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

, Amphitrite (Ἀμφιτρίτη) was a sea-goddess and wife of Poseidon
Poseidon
Poseidon was the god of the sea, and, as "Earth-Shaker," of the earthquakes in Greek mythology. The name of the sea-god Nethuns in Etruscan was adopted in Latin for Neptune in Roman mythology: both were sea gods analogous to Poseidon...

. 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
Roman mythology
Roman mythology is the body of traditional stories pertaining to ancient Rome's legendary origins and religious system, as represented in the literature and visual arts of the Romans...

, the consort of Neptune, a comparatively minor figure, was Salacia
Salacia (mythology)
This article is about the goddess of salt water, Neptune’s wife.In ancient Roman mythology, Salacia was the female divinity of the sea, worshipped as the goddess of salt water who presided over the depths of the ocean. She was the wife and queen of Neptune, god of the sea and water...

, the goddess of saltwater.
Amphitrite was a daughter of Nereus
Nereus
In Greek mythology, Nereus was the eldest son of Pontus and Gaia , a Titan who with Doris fathered the Nereids, with whom Nereus lived in the Aegean Sea. In the Iliad the Old Man of the Sea is the father of Nereids, though Nereus is not directly named...

 and Doris
Doris
- Geography :* Doris , region of Asia Minor inhabited by Dorians* Doris , region in central Greece in which the Dorians had their traditional homeland* Doris, Iowa, USA- People :* Doris, mother of Antipater...

 (and thus a Nereid), according to Hesiod
Hesiod
Hesiod was a Greek oral poet generally thought by scholars to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer. His is the first European poetry in which the poet regards himself as a topic, an individual with a distinctive role to play. Ancient authors credited him and...

's Theogony, but of Oceanus
Oceanus
Oceanus ; , Ōkeanós) was a pseudo-geographical feature in classical antiquity, believed by the ancient Greeks and Romans to be the world-ocean, an enormous river encircling the world....

 and Tethys
Tethys (mythology)
In Greek mythology, Tethys , daughter of Uranus and Gaia was an archaic Titaness and aquatic sea goddess, invoked in classical Greek poetry but not venerated in cult. Tethys was both sister and wife of Oceanus...

 (and thus an Oceanid
Oceanid
In Greek mythology and, later, Roman mythology, the Oceanids were the three thousand daughters of the Titans Oceanus and Tethys. Each was the patroness of a particular spring, river, sea, lake, pond, pasture, flower or cloud...

), according to Apollodorus
Apollodorus
Apollodorus of Athens son of Asclepiades, was a Greek scholar and grammarian. He was a pupil of Diogenes of Babylon, Panaetius the Stoic, and the grammarian Aristarchus of Samothrace...

, who actually lists her among both of the Nereids and the Oceanid
Oceanid
In Greek mythology and, later, Roman mythology, the Oceanids were the three thousand daughters of the Titans Oceanus and Tethys. Each was the patroness of a particular spring, river, sea, lake, pond, pasture, flower or cloud...

s.
Encyclopedia
In ancient Greek mythology
Greek mythology
Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

, Amphitrite (Ἀμφιτρίτη) was a sea-goddess and wife of Poseidon
Poseidon
Poseidon was the god of the sea, and, as "Earth-Shaker," of the earthquakes in Greek mythology. The name of the sea-god Nethuns in Etruscan was adopted in Latin for Neptune in Roman mythology: both were sea gods analogous to Poseidon...

. 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
Roman mythology
Roman mythology is the body of traditional stories pertaining to ancient Rome's legendary origins and religious system, as represented in the literature and visual arts of the Romans...

, the consort of Neptune, a comparatively minor figure, was Salacia
Salacia (mythology)
This article is about the goddess of salt water, Neptune’s wife.In ancient Roman mythology, Salacia was the female divinity of the sea, worshipped as the goddess of salt water who presided over the depths of the ocean. She was the wife and queen of Neptune, god of the sea and water...

, the goddess of saltwater.

Mythography

Amphitrite was a daughter of Nereus
Nereus
In Greek mythology, Nereus was the eldest son of Pontus and Gaia , a Titan who with Doris fathered the Nereids, with whom Nereus lived in the Aegean Sea. In the Iliad the Old Man of the Sea is the father of Nereids, though Nereus is not directly named...

 and Doris
Doris
- Geography :* Doris , region of Asia Minor inhabited by Dorians* Doris , region in central Greece in which the Dorians had their traditional homeland* Doris, Iowa, USA- People :* Doris, mother of Antipater...

 (and thus a Nereid), according to Hesiod
Hesiod
Hesiod was a Greek oral poet generally thought by scholars to have been active between 750 and 650 BC, around the same time as Homer. His is the first European poetry in which the poet regards himself as a topic, an individual with a distinctive role to play. Ancient authors credited him and...

's Theogony, but of Oceanus
Oceanus
Oceanus ; , Ōkeanós) was a pseudo-geographical feature in classical antiquity, believed by the ancient Greeks and Romans to be the world-ocean, an enormous river encircling the world....

 and Tethys
Tethys (mythology)
In Greek mythology, Tethys , daughter of Uranus and Gaia was an archaic Titaness and aquatic sea goddess, invoked in classical Greek poetry but not venerated in cult. Tethys was both sister and wife of Oceanus...

 (and thus an Oceanid
Oceanid
In Greek mythology and, later, Roman mythology, the Oceanids were the three thousand daughters of the Titans Oceanus and Tethys. Each was the patroness of a particular spring, river, sea, lake, pond, pasture, flower or cloud...

), according to Apollodorus
Apollodorus
Apollodorus of Athens son of Asclepiades, was a Greek scholar and grammarian. He was a pupil of Diogenes of Babylon, Panaetius the Stoic, and the grammarian Aristarchus of Samothrace...

, who actually lists her among both of the Nereids and the Oceanid
Oceanid
In Greek mythology and, later, Roman mythology, the Oceanids were the three thousand daughters of the Titans Oceanus and Tethys. Each was the patroness of a particular spring, river, sea, lake, pond, pasture, flower or cloud...

s. Others called her the personification of the sea itself. Amphitrite's offspring included seals and dolphins. Poseidon and Amphitrite had a son, Triton
Triton (mythology)
Triton is a mythological Greek god, the messenger of the big sea. He is the son of Poseidon, god of the sea, and Amphitrite, goddess of the sea, whose herald he is...

 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
Asopus
Asopus or Asôpos is the name of four different rivers in Greece and one in Turkey. In Greek mythology, it was the name of the gods of those rivers.-The rivers in Greece:...

 as others claim). Apollodorus
Apollodorus
Apollodorus of Athens son of Asclepiades, was a Greek scholar and grammarian. He was a pupil of Diogenes of Babylon, Panaetius the Stoic, and the grammarian Aristarchus of Samothrace...

 (3.15.4) also mentions a daughter of Poseidon and Amphitrite named Benthesikyme
Benthesikyme
Benthesikyme in Greek mythology, according to Apollodorus, was a daughter of Poseidon and Amphitrite and wife of Enalos, by whom she had two daughters. She raised Eumolpus, son of Chione and Poseidon....

.

Amphitrite is not fully personified in the Homeric epics
Odyssey
The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern Western canon, and is the second—the Iliad being the first—extant work of Western literature...

: "out on the open sea, in Amphitrite's breakers" (Odyssey
Odyssey
The Odyssey is one of two major ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer. It is, in part, a sequel to the Iliad, the other work ascribed to Homer. The poem is fundamental to the modern Western canon, and is the second—the Iliad being the first—extant work of Western literature...

 iii.101), "moaning Amphitrite" nourishes fishes "in numbers past all counting" (Odyssey xii.119). She shares her Homer
Homer
In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

ic epithet Halosydne ("sea-nourished") with Thetis
Thetis
Silver-footed Thetis , disposer or "placer" , is encountered in Greek mythology mostly as a sea nymph or known as the goddess of water, one of the fifty Nereids, daughters of the ancient one of the seas with shape-shifting abilities who survives in the historical vestiges of most later Greek myths...

 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
Dione (mythology)
Dione was a Greek goddess primarily known as the mother of Aphrodite in Book V of Homer's Iliad. Aphrodite journeys to Dione's side after she has been wounded in battle protecting her favorite son Aeneas. In this episode, Dione seems to be the equivalent of the earth goddess Gaia, whom Homer also...

 and Rhea
Rhea (mythology)
Rhea was the Titaness daughter of Uranus, the sky, and Gaia, the earth, in Greek mythology. She was known as "the mother of gods". In earlier traditions, she was strongly associated with Gaia and Cybele, the Great Goddess, and was later seen by the classical Greeks as the mother of the Olympian...

 and Ichnaea
Ichnaea
In Greek mythology, Ichnaea , "the tracker" was an epithet that could be applied to Themis, as in the Homeric Hymn to Delian Apollo , or to Nemesis, who was venerated at Ichnae, a Greek city in Macedon....

 and Themis
Themis
Themis is an ancient Greek Titaness. She is described as "of good counsel", and is the embodiment of divine order, law, and custom. Themis means "divine law" rather than human ordinance, literally "that which is put in place", from the verb τίθημι, títhēmi, "to put"...

 and loud-moaning Amphitrite." Theseus
Theseus
For other uses, see Theseus Theseus was the mythical founder-king of Athens, son of Aethra, and fathered by Aegeus and Poseidon, both of whom Aethra had slept with in one night. Theseus was a founder-hero, like Perseus, Cadmus, or Heracles, all of whom battled and overcame foes that were...

 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
Bacchylides
Bacchylides was an Ancient Greek lyric poet. Later Greeks included him in the canonical list of nine lyric poets which included his uncle Simonides. The elegance and polished style of his lyrics have been a commonplace of Bacchylidean scholarship since at least Longinus...

. Jane Ellen Harrison
Jane Ellen Harrison
Jane Ellen Harrison was a British classical scholar, linguist and feminist. Harrison is one of the founders, with Karl Kerenyi and Walter Burkert, of modern studies in Greek mythology. She applied 19th century archaeological discoveries to the interpretation of Greek religion in ways that have...

 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
Iliad
The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

 Amphitrite is not yet 'Neptuni uxor'" [Neptune's wife]".

Amphitrite, "the third one who encircles [the sea]", 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
Cult image
In the practice of religion, a cult image is a human-made object that is venerated for the deity, spirit or daemon that it embodies or represents...

 of Amphitrite that Pausanias
Pausanias (geographer)
Pausanias was a Greek traveler and geographer of the 2nd century AD, who lived in the times of Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. He is famous for his Description of Greece , a lengthy work that describes ancient Greece from firsthand observations, and is a crucial link between classical...

 saw in the temple of Poseidon at the Isthmus of Corinth
Isthmus of Corinth
The Isthmus of Corinth is the narrow land bridge which connects the Peloponnese peninsula with the rest of the mainland of Greece, near the city of Corinth. The word "isthmus" comes from the Ancient Greek word for "neck" and refers to the narrowness of the land. The Isthmus was known in the ancient...

 (ii.1.7).

The widely respected Pindar
Pindar
Pindar , was an Ancient Greek lyric poet. Of the canonical nine lyric poets of ancient Greece, his work is the best preserved. Quintilian described him as "by far the greatest of the nine lyric poets, in virtue of his inspired magnificence, the beauty of his thoughts and figures, the rich...

, 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
Ovid
Publius Ovidius Naso , known as Ovid in the English-speaking world, was a Roman poet who is best known as the author of the three major collections of erotic poetry: Heroides, Amores, and Ars Amatoria...

, Metamorphoses
Metamorphoses (poem)
Metamorphoses is a Latin narrative poem in fifteen books by the Roman poet Ovid describing the history of the world from its creation to the deification of Julius Caesar within a loose mythico-historical framework. Completed in AD 8, it is recognized as a masterpiece of Golden Age Latin literature...

, (i.14).

Eustathius
Eustathius of Thessalonica
Archbishop Eustathius of Thessalonica was a Greek bishop and scholar. He is most noted for his contemporary account of the sack of Thessalonike by the Normans in 1185, for his orations and for his commentaries on Homer, which incorporate many remarks by much earlier researchers.- Life :After being...

 said that Poseidon first saw her dancing at Naxos among the other Nereids, and carried her off. But in another version of the myth, she fled from his advances to Atlas
Atlas (mythology)
In Greek mythology, Atlas was the primordial Titan who supported the heavens. Although associated with various places, he became commonly identified with the Atlas Mountains in north-west Africa...

, 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 and was rewarded by being placed among the stars as the constellation Delphinus
Delphinus
Delphinus is a constellation in the northern sky, close to the celestial equator. Its name is Latin for dolphin. Delphinus was one of the 48 constellations listed by the 2nd century astronomer Ptolemy, and it remains among the 88 modern constellations recognized by the International Astronomical...

.

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 (hippocamp
Hippocamp
The hippocamp or hippocampus , often called a sea-horse in English, is a mythological creature shared by Phoenician and Greek mythology, though the name by which it is recognised is purely Greek; it became part of Etruscan mythology...

s) or other fabulous creatures of the deep, and attended by Tritons and Nereids
Nereids
In Greek mythology, the Nereids are sea nymphs, the fifty daughters of Nereus and Doris, sisters to Nerites. They often accompany Poseidon and can be friendly and helpful to sailors fighting perilous storms. They are particularly associated with the Aegean Sea, where they dwelt with their father...

. 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's legacy

  • Amphitrite
    Terebellidae
    Terebellidae is a family of polychaete worms. They are surface deposit feeders, catching falling particles with numerous elongate prostomial tentacles splayed out on the sea floor. These tentacles, which are the most or only normally visible portion of the animal and are reminiscent of spaghetti,...

     is the name of a genus of the worm family Terebellidae
    Terebellidae
    Terebellidae is a family of polychaete worms. They are surface deposit feeders, catching falling particles with numerous elongate prostomial tentacles splayed out on the sea floor. These tentacles, which are the most or only normally visible portion of the animal and are reminiscent of spaghetti,...

    .
  • In poetry, Amphitrite's name is often used for the sea, as a synonym of Thalassa
    Thalassa
    Thalassa may refer to:* Thalassa , a primordial Greek sea goddess* Thalassa , a moon of the planet Neptune* Thalassa, a fictional planet in Arthur C...

    .
  • Seven ships of the Royal Navy
    Royal Navy
    The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

     were named HMS Amphitrite
    HMS Amphitrite
    Seven ships of the Royal Navy have borne the name HMS Amphitrite, or HMS Amfitrite, after Amphitrite, a sea goddess of Greek mythology: was a 24-gun sixth rate launched in 1778 and wrecked in 1794....

    .
  • At least one ship of the Royal Netherlands Navy
    Royal Netherlands Navy
    The Koninklijke Marine is the navy of the Netherlands. In the mid-17th century the Dutch Navy was the most powerful navy in the world and it played an active role in the wars of the Dutch Republic and later those of the Batavian Republic and the Kingdom of the Netherlands...

     was named HM Amphitrite (corvette, in service 1830s).
  • Three ships of the United States Navy
    United States Navy
    The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

     were named USS Amphitrite
    USS Amphitrite
    USS Amphitrite has been the name of more than one United States Navy ship, and may refer to:, a monitor in commission in 1865 and from 1866 to 1872, renamed USS Amphitrite in 1869, a monitor in commission from 1895 to 1901, from 1902 to 1907, and from 1910 to 1919, a landing craft repair ship in...

    .
  • An asteroid, 29 Amphitrite
    29 Amphitrite
    29 Amphitrite is one of the largest S-type asteroids, probably third in diameter after Eunomia and Juno, although Iris and Herculina are similar in size.-Discovery:...

    , is named for her.
  • In 1936 Australia used an image of Amphitrite on a postage stamp
    Postage stamp
    A postage stamp is a small piece of paper that is purchased and displayed on an item of mail as evidence of payment of postage. Typically, stamps are made from special paper, with a national designation and denomination on the face, and a gum adhesive on the reverse side...

     as a classical
    Classical antiquity
    Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

     allusion
    Allusion
    An allusion is a figure of speech that makes a reference to, or representation of, people, places, events, literary work, myths, or works of art, either directly or by implication. M. H...

     for the submarine communications cable
    Submarine communications cable
    A submarine communications cable is a cable laid on the sea bed between land-based stations to carry telecommunication signals across stretches of ocean....

     across Bass Strait
    Bass Strait
    Bass Strait is a sea strait separating Tasmania from the south of the Australian mainland, specifically the state of Victoria.-Extent:The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the Bass Strait as follows:...

     from Apollo Bay, Victoria
    Apollo Bay, Victoria
    Apollo Bay is a coastal town in southwestern Victoria, Australia. It is situated on the eastern side of Cape Otway, along the edge of the Barham River and on the Great Ocean Road, in the Colac Otway Shire. The town has a population of 1380....

     to Stanley, Tasmania
    Stanley, Tasmania
    Stanley is a town on the north-west coast of Tasmania, Australia. Travelling west, Stanley is the second-last major township on the north-west coast of Tasmania, Smithton being the larger township in the Circular Head municipality...

    .
  • The name of the former Greek Royal Yacht.
  • Amphitrite Pool, a shallow ceremonial pool on the grounds of the United States Merchant Marine Academy
    United States Merchant Marine Academy
    The United States Merchant Marine Academy is one of the five United States Service academies...

     at Kings Point, New York
    Kings Point, New York
    Kings Point is a village and a part of Great Neck in Nassau County, New York on the North Shore of Long Island. As of the United States 2010 Census, the village population was 5,005.The Village of Kings Point is in the Town of North Hempstead...

     contains a statue of Amphitrite. When First Classmen are taking their Third Mate
    Third Mate
    A Third Mate or Third Officer is a licensed member of the deck department of a merchant ship. The third mate is a watchstander and customarily the ship's safety officer and fourth-in-command...

     or Third Assistant Engineer
    Third Assistant Engineer
    The Third Assistant Engineer, also known as the Fourth Engineer, is a licensed member of the engineering department on a merchant vessel....

     License Examinations, it is considered good luck if they bounce a coin off Amphitrite into a seashell at her feet.
  • Amphitrite is featured in a puzzle in the PlayStation 2
    PlayStation 2
    The PlayStation 2 is a sixth-generation video game console manufactured by Sony as part of the PlayStation series. Its development was announced in March 1999 and it was first released on March 4, 2000, in Japan...

     game God of War
    God of War (video game)
    God of War is an action adventure video game for the PlayStation 2 first released by Sony Computer Entertainment's Santa Monica division in March 2005...

     as Poseidon's faithful wife, in which a statue of her is pointing towards the solution to the puzzle, the exit of the room.


Fiction

Amphitrite appears as a minor character in The Last Olympian
The Last Olympian
The Last Olympian is a fantasy-adventure novel based on Greek mythology by Rick Riordan, published on May 5, 2009. It is the fifth and final novel in the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series and serves as the direct sequel to The Battle of the Labyrinth...

 by Rick Riordan
Rick Riordan
Richard Russell "Rick" Riordan, Jr. is an American author best known for writing the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series. He also wrote the Tres Navarre mystery series for adults and helped to edit Demigods and Monsters, a collection of essays on the topic of his Percy Jackson series...

. She is seen in Poseidon's underwater palace.
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