Monday, July 14, 2008


The God of the Sea is, by force of his dominion, the God of all of the Earth’s waters. All that is fluid on the Earth and moves and shapes the world that contains it by it’s power. The oceans, the seas, the lakes grand and small, the rivers and streams and even the great glaciers whose movements shape the world so profoundly.

For the ancients, rivers, lakes, streams, springs, etc. each had their own attendant deities. A river God is a very local God, contained by the very river that he is responsible for. The nymphs that inhabited wells and springs were also thus localised and contained by the nature of that which they represented. In my theological view, these are all representations of two specific things. One is the human acknowledgment of the rivers as sources of life without which human existence would be extremely difficult if not impossible. The second is a more abstract concept in the religious ideologies of polytheistic religions, and that is the concept of apsected divinity.

The concept itself is fairly simple. The idea is that a deity can manifest to a people, or person, in a variety of forms, and that those forms are often, perhaps even always, dependent on the people’s or person’s ability to comprehend it. A being who has never seen the vastness of the ocean or a large sea may not have the conceptual ability to see the deity as vast and powerful, rather, he may only be able to identify such a deity with what he is familiar with, a river or small lake or ven a pond or spring. So this person, or these people, may only see the God of the Seas as a God of River X or a nymph of the local springs which are so important to their survival.

The Greeks adopted a form of address that often, if not always, took into account this aspect of their religious system. Gods were often named with epithets that gave an inkling of what that aspect of the deity was to them. How they perceived and called upon that deity until such a time as their view of that deity was expanded.

Poseidon was known by many such epithets, and here are some:
Basileus: This means King or Lord, and Poseidon was very much a king.
Asphalius: He who secures safe voyage.
Epoptes: Watcher or overseer. This is a protective aspect.
Gaeochus: Holder of the Earth or he who bears the Earth in his hands.
Ennosigaeus: Shaker of the Earth, in his aspect of God of Earthquakes.
Phytalmius: He who nurtures plants. A sign that he was associated with more than Sea Water.
Laoites: Of the people.
Patrus: Father. Esecially when seen as father of the clan.
Hippios: Of horses.
Prosclystius: He who dashes against, as when ships are dashed against rocks or when sea storms dash objects onto the shore.

There are many others, of course, and many of them can be found at, an excellent source of quotations about the Mythos of the Greeks.

I will continue this later...

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