When it comes to tattoos, many people draw inspiration from Greek mythology.
Twelve Olympians are still well known to this day, but among the popular gods, there is one powerful character that inspires tattoos all around the world. Poseidon, the god of the sea.
Not only did this Greek god rule the seas, but he was the god of earthquakes, storms, and horses.
As the folklore goes, the gods defeated the Titans and the world was split into three sections: the skies, the underworld, and the seas.
Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon drew their choices randomly and immediately ruled the designated section.
Background on Poseidon
The god of the sea represents confidence, power, and strength. It is said that he was similar to the sea because of his unpredictable emotions.
As the Olympian who protected the waters, sailors would honor him in hopes of safe travels.
In Homer’s Odyssey, Poseidon’s passion and fury are featured as he destroys Odysseus’ raft. But he also shows elements of peace in the Illiad as he favors the Greeks in their battle against the Trojans.
He is seen as a symbol of masculinity as he was often described as flaunting his body to women. He was also named “earth-shaker” because of his ability to manifest earthquakes.
Poseidon is often paired with the iconic trident and chariot drawn by horses.
The Meaning of Poseidon’s Famous Trident
There are many elements of the symbolism of the god of the sea, ranging from the imagery of his trident and horse to the god himself. Tattmag describes the trident’s significance:
“It is a symbol of his power and dominion over sea creatures.”
Power is a common theme with this particular Olympian. The trident represents more than influence and strength. SymbolSage dives deeper into the symbolism of the trident stating,
“The weapon was most commonly used for fishing. Both tridents and especially bidents/pitchforks can also symbolize rebellions.”
Although, Poseidon rarely led rebellions, folklore details that he played a role in a rebellion against Zeus during the Trojan war.
He was then punished for his participation and was forced to work for Laomedon for an entire year. Laomedon was the king of Troy.
There are a few reasons why Poseidon’s trident symbolizes power. He used the trident to create large waves, tsunamis, and storms.
As the earth-shaker, he could strike the earth to produce disastrous earthquakes. Because the trident is known for being the king of the sea’s weapon, it is often crafted into the design of a tattoo.
The symbolism of the Olympian’s Horse
Another title that Poseidon was given was Hippios, the god of horses. In ancient Greek mythology, it is written that he created the first horse and that soon became a symbol that represented him.
As a way to pay tribute to the Olympian, many travelers would sacrifice horses and bulls in hopes of safe travels.
Although myths differ in his relationship with horses, Earthandstarryheaven states,
“He is associated with horses from birth, in others he became a horse, and many different stories tell how he gave horses to humans, even crediting him with the bridle.”
It is even said that he created two immortal horses: Pegasus and Arion. Interestingly, Pegasus tattoos are a crowd-favorite for those who are interested in Greek mythology.
Fittingtattoo describes the Pegasus tattoo as,
“A symbol of poetic insight and inspiration.” The description is based on a legend where Pegasus rescued the goddess, Muses of Hippocrene.
Originally linked with the god of the sea, Pegasus has grown to be a popular tattoo on its own.
The Emotional Elements of Poseidon
Many tattoos represent Poseidon in his element, the sea. He is often seen raising his trident high as a storm ensues. With lightning bolts and ships captured in the waves, a scene of chaos is painted.
Often the god of the sea expresses anger, passion, and deep-seated emotions in tattoo designs.
Knowyourarchetypes explains some of the characteristics of Poseidon as,
“Anger, brooding, destructive, detached, frustration, moody, and ruthless.”
The symbolism of Poseidon resides in emotions, power, and masculinity.
Tattoo Designs of the Sea Olympian
There are multiple variations of the god in tattoo form. Some versions include black ink, whereas other tattoo designs may include colors like blues and oranges.
Designs of Poseidon depict him with a thick beard and mustache, masking most of his facial features. A noticeable characteristic of his face is his eyebrows, which are drawn to make the god of the sea look furious.
Some Poseidon tattoos only feature his face, while other tattoos reveal a dynamic scene between Poseidon and voyagers.
As a representation of strength, Theoi characterizes Poseidon in this way.
“He was depicted as a mature man with a sturdy build and dark beard holding a trident (a three-pronged fisherman’s spear).”
His trident is a common detail in tattoo designs, where he may be holding it up toward the skies, carrying it near his chin, or bursting through the surface of the sea.
Detailed versions of the tattoo may show lightning bolts engulfed in his hair and beard or connecting to his eyes. The color blue can be used for the lightning bolts or a backdrop, representing the water.
A popular tattoo style characterizes the earth-shaker from a side profile, looking over the sea or at distant travelers.
Some versions of Poseidon have a crown, wrapping around his forehead. The crown sometimes utilizes sea elements, such as seashells or a traditional crown.
In terms of color, some designs paint Poseidon’s entire body blue with black and orange menacing clouds in the background.
Some variations get creative with sea creature elements and position tentacles around Posiedons face and beard.
Although there are several adaptations of the Olympian, allthingstattoo defines him as,
“Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea, storms, earthquakes, and horses. Also considered one of the most temperamental and vengeful gods.”
Poseidon is identified as a symbol of power, strength, and revenge. Yet, his image captivates tattoo lovers from all around the world, perhaps because he reflects humanistic characteristics.