An Annotated & Illustrated Collection of Worldwide Links to Mythologies,
Fairy Tales & Folklore, Sacred Arts & Sacred Traditions
by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.
MYTHIC THEMES CLUSTERED AROUND:
POSEIDON / NEPTUNE
The Greek series, "Mythic Themes Clustered
Aphrodite, Artemis, Athena,
Centaurs, Demeter & Persephone,
Hecate & Other "Dark" Goddesses, Icarus, Medusa & Pegasus, Pan, Poseidon/Neptune
[others are forthcoming]
Neptune and the waves, or "steeds," he rides.
Walter Crane, 1892
2 November 2003.
They say Poseidon is bad-tempered, like the sea, and that he loves to quarrel, as many of his myths demonstrate. But this is because the Greeks projected human temperament onto the sea, which, perhaps, shows a lack of respect for the sea itself. The sea is neither quarrelsome nor easily angered. It just is. Certain factors sometimes make it wild and troublesome to humans, but human opinion means nothing to the sea and its inhabitants. Its vast spirit lies far beyond the boundaries of human perception even though it may at times interact in limited ways with certain humans who resonate with it.
The Greeks called this vast spirit Poseidon. The Romans called it Neptune. Both cultures dramatized it, gave it emotions, lovers, offspring; made it a rapist of numerous nymphs and goddesses. Such stories may be entertaining fantasies emerging from projections of Greek libido, but they are hardly relevant to the sea.
The story I like best about the sea, or Poseidon, is that this blue-maned god once lay with a willing, serpent-haired goddess named Medusa on the floor of Athena's temple and, together, conceived the winged horse, Pegasus. Pegasus, like his sire, had "water-magic" and would use it to churn up the springs of inspiration from which the Muses drank. From those magical waters would come all the arts, which is to say, all that makes us truly human, empathic, creative, humorous, and wise. Mythically speaking then, all art comes from the wild, fluid sea-god and the passionate earth-serpent goddess, making love on the floor of the human mind.
ENTRY LEVEL SITES
Attic Red Figure Vase Painting - Greek Pottery, 5th BCE
In this art from ancient Greece, the goddess Nike is pouring an offering to Poseidon,
yet her attention is with his wife, Amphitrite, who is awaiting her turn,
her bowl thrust outrward.
This is "Mythography's" brief, no frills entry on Poseidon. Here is how it opens:http://www.in2greece.com/english/historymyth/mythology/names/poseidon.htmPoseidon, as the god of the seas, held great power and significance for the ancient Greeks. He was a very popular god, and is consequently the subject of many myths....
This is another brief, but useful overview. Here's a passage:http://hunter.apana.org.au/~gallae/pantheon/myth/poseidon.htm...Originally, Poseidon was the god of water, but later became a sea-god as well as the ultimate master of the wells and rivers. His temples were usually situated by the sea, the remains of one of them can still be seen at Cape Sounion, not far from Athens....
Another entry level site from Australia includes a photo of Poseidon with his trident. Excerpts from the text:http://www.greece.org/poseidon/work/argonautika/cosmo6.html...Poseidon has a trident made for him by the Cyclopes with which he stirs up the waves and also commands the winds. He had a terrible temper and could also create earthquakes with the trident, and so was given the title of "Earthshaker". He was also a male spirit of fertility, who sent inland waters and springs....
This is "Poseidon: Prehistoric Hellenes and the Sea," a page researched by Roula Papageorgiou-Haska. Despite the title, the brief essay provides no prehistoric data. The material is stil useful, however, and this particular passage caught my eye:...Poseidon should not be strictly connected with the narrow sense of the "Sea" since he captures the driving-force of every phenomenon occurring either at the bottom of it or on its surface: earthquakes, volcanoes, typhoons etc. His ability to agitate the water indicates his connection with the sea-storms as well as with the seismic-waves which are usually caused after an earthquake tremor. Moreover, Poseidon's quarrels with other Olympian gods (Poseidon-Athena, Poseidon-Hera) take place in regions which are in or near seismic zones even today or were such in the past....I wish evidence were provided for the seismic claims, especially since so much of Greece is prone to earthquakes. Were the areas in dispute between Poseidon and other deities indeed more earthquake-ridden than other sites? [See http://www.milica.com.au/greek_myths/olymp/pose_t.htm for the disputed areas -- the link is annotated below.] It could be an interesting line of inquiry.
[See directly below]
This is a brief but engaging site from "Occultopedia." Here is a small excerpt:http://www.pantheon.org/articles/p/poseidon.html...He is usually shown as a bearded man holding a trident and standing in a shell-chariot being drawn over the sea by dolphins. His festival, called the Neptunalia, was celebrated by the Romans on July 23, when water was scarcest.The page includes brief information on the planet Neptune as well as a pleasing painting (directly above).
Poseidon liked to surprise nymphs with monsters, and concocted the octopus, the blowfish, and the seapolyp for their entertainment....
This is a good overview (with hypertext) from Encyclopedia Mythica, although for reasons unknown each paragraph is fonted smaller than the preceding until it's finally so small you can't read it! Because of this, I've copied and pasted the final three paragraphs:http://www.classicalmythology.org/chaptertopics/07/summary.htmlOne of the most notorious love affairs of Poseidon involves his sister, Demeter. Poseidon pursued Demeter and to avoid him she turned herself into a mare. In his lust for her, Poseidon transformed himself into a stallion and captured her. Their procreation resulted in a horse, Arion. Poseidon is Greek for "Husband" (possibly of wheat), and therefore it is thought that he and Demeter (goddess of wheat) are a good match because they reign as the god and goddess of fertility.In the Athenian competition, by the way, it might be noted that Athena's olives would be useless without the salty brine from Poseidon's seas required to process them -- another example of the underlying cooperation demanded of both.
Another infamous story of Poseidon involves the competition between him and the goddess of war, Athena, for the city of Athens. To win the people of the city over, Poseidon threw a spear at the ground and produced the Spring at the Acropolis. However, Athena won as the result of giving the people of Athens the olive tree. In his anger over the decision, Poseidon flooded the Attic Plain. Eventually, Athena and Poseidon worked together by combining their powers. Even though Poseidon was the god of horses, Athena built the first chariot. Athena also built the first ship to sail on the sea over which Poseidon ruled.
Poseidon often used his powers of earthquakes, water, and horses to inflict fear and punishment on people as revenge. Though he could be difficult and assert his powers over the gods and mortals, Poseidon could be cooperative and it was he who helped the Greeks during the Trojan War. Poseidon is an essential character in the study of Greek mythology.
This link will take you to a fine summary of Poseidon and major sea-deities from the 7th edition of a text, Classical Mythology, by Robert J. Lenardon and Mark P. O. Morford (Oxford University Press). It briefly covers the major players and also provides a pronunciation guide. It is in a useful format even if you don't own the book. Moving beyond the summary, I was surprised to find a whole collection of other pages that are independent of the book. There is a page of great maps (including constellations). The page on primary and secondary sources also includes a marvelous list of musical works composed around mythic themes. There is a moderate archive of relevant Classical and 18th-early 20th century literary works and poetry. There are glossaries, bibliographies, activities, commentaries (brief but quite good), and even quizzes. Whoever developed these interconnecting pages invested a great deal of time and creativity in it.
From Mythweb comes another entry level page on Poseidon. Two excerpts:http://www.loggia.com/myth/lovesofposeidon.htmlAlthough there were various rivers personified as gods, these would have been technically under Poseidon's sway. Similarly, Nereus, the Old Man of the Sea, wasn't really considered on a par with Poseidon, who was known to drive his chariot through the waves in unquestioned dominance. Poseidon had married Nereus's daughter, the sea-nymph Amphitrite....Then there's this interesting, albeit sad, little entry (with more if you follow the hypertext) touching on a little-known myth connected to the sea-god:...Poseidon sometimes granted the shape-shifting power to others. And he ceded to the request of the maiden Caenis that she be transformed into the invulnerable, male warrior Caeneus....
From Mythography comes an entry level site (with several links to more detailed hypertext) on a handful of Poseidon's lovers: Aethra (a mortal woman, the mother of Theseus); Amphitrite (a Nereid or sea goddess); Demeter; Medusa; and Tyro (another mortal woman).http://www.milica.com.au/greek_myths/olymp/pose_t.htm
This is a demo site for an Australian CD-ROM called From Myth to Eternity. The information on Poseidon is fine -- but almost none of the hypertext works because the topics are not part of the demo (if you click on them, most will take you to a home page where a list of what is available online will be find as well as how to order the CD-ROM). Certain passages struck my eye, however -- here's one, for example, on how Poseidon is depicted sequentially in ancient Greek art:...In the art, Poseidon is represented as an elegant, mature man, with thick curly hair and beard. His representations from the archaic period are very similar to those of Zeus; he is shown naked, still or in motion, wearing a long mantle. On the ceramic tablets from his sanctuary in Corinth (sixth century BC), Poseidon is shown riding a horse or driving a chariot with his wife Amphitrite. From fourth century BC, Poseidon is shown in his characteristic pose, leaned on his right leg on a rock, ship or dolphin, and holding a trident or fish in his hands....Here's a lovely passage on his marriage:...Poseidon's lawful wife was Amphitrite, the Nereus' daughter. He first saw her on the island Naxos, dancing with her sisters, and fell in love with her immediately. When he asked her to marry him, she refused and hid herself deep into the ocean. Then Poseidon sent a dolphin to look for her. The dolphin found her and convinced her to marry his master. As a reward, Poseidon placed the dolphin in the constellation. From then on Amphitrite shared Poseidon's kingdom. They had one son, Triton, and one daughter, Rhode.
Like his brother Zeus, Poseidon wasn't a faithful husband. He loved many goddesses and mortal women, to whom he approached in various forms, as stallion, bird, bull or dolphin....
POSEIDON AND HIS WIFE AMPHITRITE
Neptune and Amphitrite
Jacob de II Gheyn (b. 1565, Antwerp, d. 1629, The Hague)
This page on Poseidon's wife Amphitrite (Roman, Salacia) comes from an excellent New Zealand site by Aaron Atsma [see below for more of his webpages]. I enjoy Atsma's work because all his material comes from carefully identified Classical sources. The range offered is impressive. Amphitrite was one of the fifty daughters of Nereus ("the Old Man of the Sea") and his wife Doris. The daughters are known as the Nereides. Here are excerpts about Amphitrite, Goddess of the Sea:http://www.theoi.com/Pontos/Nereides.htmlShe was depicted as a youthful woman clad in a short, transparent garment with her hair enclosed in a net and crab's claws at her temples. Amphitrite rode with her husband in a chariot drawn by Hippokampoi and other creatures of the sea.The seas are her realm, her playground, her "child":
To Nereus and to Doris ... there were born in the barren sea daughters greatly beautiful even among goddesses: Ploto and Eukrante and Amphitrite .... -Theogony 240-264[Nereides:] Kymodoke who, with Kymatolege and Amphitrite, light of foot, on the misty face of the open water easily stills the water and hushes the winds in their blowing. -Theogony 252-254But they are also her own body, for she is their personification, as these two stunning passages indicate:The wave of blue-eyed Amphitrite, roaring over the wine-dark sea.As the female personification of the sea, Amphitrite is often spoken of as moaning, especially in storms. Interestingly, where Poseidon's storms gave him the reputation of being violent, Amphitrite's cause her anguish:
Amphitrite’s rich waters welcome the day.–Ovid Fasti 5.731A ruining storm maddens along the wide gulfs of the deep, and moans Amphitrite (the Sea-queen) with her anguished waves which sweep from every hand, uptowering like precipiced mountains, while the bitter squall, ceaselessly veering, shrieks across the sea. -Quintus Smyrnaeus 8.62One passage suggests she is a weaver:Great god of the sea [Poseidon], husband of Amphitrite, goddess of the gold spindle. –Pindar Olympian 6 ep5She also sings among the denizens of her seas:Nereus’ daughters appeared in singing chorus ... and Salacia [Amphitrite], the folds of her garment sagging with fish. –Apuleius 4.31Amphitrite was the mother of all seals and dolphins -- a poet, Arion, speaks of this in a hymn to Poseidon, who has rescued him from drowning:
Apulian Red Figure Vase Painting - Greek Pottery, 5th BCE
(From Aaron Atsma's site)Highest of gods, gold-tridented Poseidon of the sea, earth-shaker amid the teeming brine, with their fins swimming beasts dance round you in a ring, bounding lightly with nimble flingings of their feet, snub-nosed bristle-necked swift-racing pups, the music-loving dolphins, sea nurslings of the young goddesses the Nereides, whom Amphitrite bore.... –Greek Lyric V Anonymous Fragments 939 (from Aelian, On the Nature of Animals)That is a lovely description of her offspring, dancing nimbly in rings around Poseidon! One of them was even responsible for the marriage between his Sea-mother and Poseidon:
Poseidon and Amphitrite
Attic Red Figure Vase Painting - Greek Pottery, 4th BCE
(From Aaron Atsma's site)...Eratosthenes and others give the following reason for the dolphin’s being among the stars. Amphitrite, when Neptunus [Poseidon] desired to wed her and she preferred to keep her virginity, fled to Atlas. Neptunus sent many to seek her out, among them a certain Delphinus, who, in his wanderings among the islands, came at last to the maiden, persuaded her to marry Neptunus, and himself took charge of the wedding. In return for this service, Neptunus put the form of a dolphin among the constellations. –Hyginus Astronomica 2.17
Theseus and Amphitrite
Attic Red Figure Vase Painting - Greek Pottery 5th BCE
(From Aaron Atsma's site)
Dolphins were also involved in bearing Poseidon's son Theseus to the god's underwater palace. Theseus was Amphitrite's stepson, but this generous-hearted sea-goddess was no wicked stepmother -- she welcomed him as her own in this marvelous description:But sea-dwelling dolphins were swiftly carrying great Theseus to the house of his father, god of horses, and he reached the hall of the gods. There he was awe-struck at the glorious daughters of blessed Nereus, for from their splendid limbs shone a gleam as of fire, and round their hair were twirled gold-braided ribbons; and they were delighting in their hearts by dancing with liquid feet. And he saw his father's dear wife, august ox-eyed Amphitite, in the lovely house; she put a purple cloak about him and set on his thick hair the faultless garland which once at her marriage guileful Aphrodite had given her, dark with roses.... -Greek Lyric IV Bacchylides Frag 17There is much more on this page, including lovely (clickable) thumbnails of Amphitrite in Greek art [I have included 3 images from this site in my annotation of it] and information on texts used.
This is Aaron Atsma's page on the Nereides -- fifty daughters of Doris and Nereus, of whom Amphitrite was one. The page gives their names, translations, eight lovely images of them, and many passages about them from Classical sources. In his introducion, Atsma writes:http://www.theoi.com/Pontos/Einalioi.htmlTHE NEREIDES were fifty SEA-GODDESS or SEA-NYMPHE sisters who dwelt with their father Nereus at the bottom of the sea. They had the power to change into any form they chose. The Nereides rendered assistance to sailors and were worshipped especially in sea-port towns. They appeared in the retinue of Poseidon accompanied by Tritones and other sea monsters, and riding dolphins, hippokampoi, and other sea animals. Thetis often took the role of their unofficial leader. Some of their names are connected with the sea while others are abstractions. These fifty goddesses were depicted as youthful, beautiful maidens - sometimes clothed, sometimes naked. They were often shown holding fish in their hands.I am restraining myself and only including two brief excerpts <smile>. The first gives us a glimpse of their temple-shrine. In the ocean depths, they had immense riches; on land, what honored them most was simplicity hidden in a sea of ancient trees:Close to the sea a temple stood, not bright with gold and marble, but a timber frame of beams and shaded by an ancient grove. The shrine belonged to Nereus and his daughters.-Metamorphoses 11.60The next also refers to an activity on land of these sea-goddesses:Often in autumn-time when the grapes are ripening, a Nereis climbs the rocks, and under cover of the shades of night brushes the sea-water from her eyes with a leafy vine-spray, and snatches sweet clusters from the hills. Often is the vintage sprinkled by the neighbouring foam; Satyri plunge into the waters, and Panes from the mountain are fain to grasp the Sea-Nympha as she flies naked through the waves. –Silvae 2.2.102
This is Aaron Atsma's page on the THEOI & DAIMONES EINALIOI, or, as he writes, "the gods and spirits of the Sea (the Dominion of Lord Poseidon).... Most were offspring of either PONTOS or POSEIDON."http://www.theoi.com/Pontos/Haliai.html
The page gives the names and translations of many of these sea-beings and provides links to more of Atsma's pages about each one. There are many Classical sources here on their battles, loves, and lives as a group. There are no illustrations but much else to explore.
Although there is an obvious overlap between these various categories, this is Atsma's page on a group known as the Haliai, the "the lovely NYMPHAI of the Sea":http://homepage.mac.com/cparada/GML/NEREIDS.htmlThey were depicted as beautiful maidens, often riding on the backs of Hippokampoi (Fish-tailed horses), Ketoi (Sea-monsters) or dolphins. Parents: the various SEA-GODS.Like the link preceding this one, names and translations are provided along with individual links; also passages from Classical sources.
This is Carlos Parada's fine page on the Nereids. There are many useful hypertext-links in his summaries for those who wish to explore further (curiously, there is none for Amphitrite -- he links her to the Oceanids but does not give her a link of her own). Art is minimal and he doesn't cite actual passages as Atsma does, but he does privide Classical references for all the major Nereids. These are: Apollodorus, The Library 1.2.7ff; Hesiod, Theogony 240ff; Homer, Iliad 18.38ff; and Hyginus, Preface. A chart shows which of the Nereids can be found in which of these passages.
MORE COMPREHENSIVE SITES
ON POSEIDON / NEPTUNE:
ATTRIBUTES & LOVES
Demeter and Poseidon: ancient coin from Thrace, Byzantium
Tetradrachm, c.250-219 B.C.
Veiled head of Demeter with corn-ear in hair.
Reversed: Demeter's brother, Poseidon, seated on rock.
From "Myth Man's Homework Help Center" comes a richly illustrated page written in a breezy, engaging manner. Here are some excerpts on Poseidon, horses, and grain-goddess, Demeter, who, like Medusa, bore him a winged horse-child:http://www.messagenet.com/myths/bios/poseidon.html...Poseidon liked to boast that he created the first horse, and it was accepted that he instituted horse-racing. He even claimed to have constructed the first horse bridle, although Athena begs to differ on that...the two rarely got along at first, even though eventually they reconciled and worked on some common causes. Like Zeus, it took many years for Poseidon to mature and not always act belligerently.The site covers many of the major mythic themes connected with Poseidon. It's well worth looking into if you want a good refresher course on this deity.
Poseidon liked horsing around. One time when Demeter, goddess of the harvest, was broken-hearted and seeking her abducted daughter, Persephone, she transformed herself into a mare and began to graze. Demeter did this in order to avoid amorous contact with any god or Titan, she simply wanted to be left alone. Flirtatious Poseidon would have none of that. Changing into a stallion, he covered the mare, and from the union sprang the nymph Despoena and the wild horse Arion.
Although Poseidon is adored for giving men the first horse, his primary importance was as Lord of the Sea. At his command winds rose and the most violent of storms began, but when he drove in his golden chariot over the water, the storms subsided and tranquil peace followed his wheels....
He was always depicted carrying, or using, his distinguishing weapon, the trident, a three-pronged spear which he used to shatter and shake anything he pleased, much like his brother Zeus used his thunderbolts. That's why he was commonly referred to as the "Earth Shaker". The trident, his symbol, was the gift of the Cyclopes, who had fought with the Olympians versus the Titans.
He was always accompanied by his son, Triton, who was half man, half fish. Triton would blow on his seashell to announce Poseidon's arrival.
This page from MessageNet gives a good summary of Poseidon's roles in general mythology as well as in the Iliad and Odyssey. What makes this page unique, howewver, is that it then gives an exhaustive listing of every mention of Poseidon in the Odyssey and Iliad (listed by a few descriptive words and then by book and line). You'll need to refer to your own copies of these books, but having them laid out like this is invaluable.
This unique and comprehensive site on "The Cult of Poseidon" comes from Aaron Atsma of New Zealand. It includes a marvelous collection of quotes (organized by cultic centers) from various Classical sources as well as a useful chart of the god's various cult titles. Here's a passage from an Orphic Hymn to this deity:http://www.theoi.com/Erotes/Poseidon+Amymone.htmlHear, Poseidon, ruler of the sea profound, whose liquid grasp begirds the solid ground; who, at the bottom of the stormy main, dark and deep-bosomed holdest thy watery reign. Thy awful hand the brazen trident bears, and sea’s utmost bound thy will reveres. Thee I invoke, whose steeds the foam divide, from whose dark locks the briny waters glide; shoe voice, loud sounding through the roaring deep, drives all its billows in a raging heap; when fiercely riding through the boiling sea, thy hoarse command the trembling waves obey. Earth-shaking, dark-haired God, the liquid plains, the third division, fate to thee ordains. ‘Tis thine, cerulean daimon, to survey, well-pleased, the monsters of the ocean play. Confirm earth’s basis, and with prosperous gales waft ships along, and swell the spacious sails; add gentle peace, and fair-haired health beside, and pour abundance in a blameless tide. [Orphic Hymn 17 to Poseidon]
Poseidon and Amymone
Again from Aaron Atsma of New Zealand comes the myth of Poseidon and the Princess Amymone, one of the 50 daughters of Danaos. The excellent site offers variants of the myth from various Classical sources (Apollodorus, Apollonius Rhodius, Pausanias, Philostratus the Elder, and Hyginus). Here is the opening summary:http://www.theoi.com/Erotes/Poseidon+Iphimedeia.htmlAMYMONE was a princess of Argos loved by the god Poseidon. She encountered the god soon upon arriving in Argos with her family from Egypt. The land was drought stricken and her father despatched her in a search of water, but the girl unwittingly disturbed a Satyros who attempted to rape her. She called on Poseidon for help, who came, drove away the beast, and ravished her in its place. As compensation he created for her the everflowing Springs of Lerna - a reliable source of fresh water for the country....
Yet again from Aaron Atsma of New Zealand comes a look at another of Poseidon's lovers, the Princess Iphimedeia. Variants from a number of Classical sources are included. Here is one from Apollodorus:http://search.freefind.com/find.html?id=5601060&pid=r&mode=ALL&n=0&query=PoseidonAloeus married Triops’ daughter Iphimedeia, who, however, was in love with Poseidon. She would go down to the sea, gather the waves in her hands, and pour the water on her vagina. Poseidon mated with her and fathered two sons, Otos and Ephialtes, who were known as Aloadai. Each year these lads grew two feet in width and six feet in length. When they were nine years old and measured eighteen feet across by fifty four feet tall, they decided to fight the gods. So they set Mount Ossa on top of Mount Olympos, and then placed Mount Pelion on top of Ossa, threatening by means of these mountains to climb up to the sky. [Apollodorus 1.53]
I am obviously a fan of Aaron Atsma's webpages, but now I must draw the line or I will never finish my own pages <smile>. So I used his search engine and asked for "Poseidon" -- a huge number of entries popped up. The above link will take you to them. Some probably only mention Poseidon in passing, others are more substantive. I'll leave it to you to explore further.
This is the well-told story of Poseidon and Pelops, the son of Tantalus, one of the more dysfunctional fathers in Greek mythology. After surviving his father's plots, the exquisite Pelops became Poseidon's cupbearer and lover. When the youth later fell in love with the Princess Hippodameia and had to race against her father to win her, it was the loyal Poseidon who helped him defeat the king by providing him with a team of winged, immortal horses and a magical chariot.http://homepage.mac.com/cparada/GML/Poseidon.html
From Carlos Parada comes a comprehensive, well-illustrated site organized into logical charts which are dense with hypertext. The format is awkward but the information, covering all the major (and many minor) Poseidon myths, is first rate.http://web.uvic.ca/grs/bowman/myth/gods/poseidon_t.html
From Laurel Bowman's academic site come many references to texts from Classical literature relating to Poseidon. Most, if not all, will take you to the Perseus Project. Unfortunately, the Perseus Project redirects some of the links and I got exceedingly frustrated trying to find my way. I finally gave up. While intellectually, I admit that the Perseus Project is a major accomplishment, my personal experience is that unless you happen to get lucky looking for something, it's among the most user-unfriendly sites on the web. ::sigh:: If you have a high tolerance for going around in circles, you'll love it.
OF POSEIDON / NEPTUNE
Poseidon: detail from an Athenian black-figure clay vase,
6th century BC. Paris, Cabinet des Médailles 222
(See directly below)
This is a small but good collection of images (see directly above).http://web.uvic.ca/grs/bowman/myth/gods/poseidon_i.html
From Laurel Bowman's educational site comes a good-sized collection of fine images, both ancient and more recent, relating to Poseidon.
THE PLANET NEPTUNE
Comparison of Neptune and Earth
Since the blue planet Neptune was given the name of this mythic God of the sea, I am including several scientific sites here. This was written by Bill Arnett:http://www.wwiaviation.com/wavelength/neptune.htmlNeptune is the eighth planet from the Sun and the fourth largest (by diameter). Neptune is smaller in diameter but larger in mass than Uranus.... After the discovery of Uranus, it was noticed that its orbit was not as it should be in accordance with Newton's laws. It was therefore predicted that another more distant planet must be perturbing Uranus' orbit. Neptune was first observed by Galle and d'Arrest on 1846 Sept 23....
...Because Pluto's orbit is so eccentric, it sometimes crosses the orbit of Neptune making Neptune the most distant planet from the Sun for a few years.
Neptune's composition is probably similar to Uranus': various "ices" and rock with about 15% hydrogen and a little helium.... Neptune's blue color is largely the result of absorption of red light by methane in the atmosphere but there is some additional as-yet-unidentified chromophore which gives the clouds their rich blue tint.
Like a typical gas planet, Neptune has rapid winds confined to bands of latitude and large storms or vortices. Neptune's winds are the fastest in the solar system, reaching 2000 km/hour. Like Jupiter and Saturn, Neptune has an internal heat source -- it radiates more than twice as much energy as it receives from the Sun.
This site uses Bill Arnett's text (see above link), but the images and attractive layout are quite different. Thus, despite their similarities, I'm keeping both.http://www.kidscosmos.org/kid-stuff/neptune-facts.html
From "Kid's Cosmos" comes a concise, attractive page geared to students. Here too the unique blue color of the planet is mentioned:http://www.astronomynotes.com/solarsys/s5.htmBlue Neptune is one of the solar system's gas giants. Unlike Earth, gas giants are mostly hydrogen, helium, and methane gases. The methane gas on Neptune gives the planet its blue color because the gas absorbs red light and reflects the blue back into space....
This is "Appearance and Colors of the Atmospheres" from Nick Strobel's Astronomy Notes. He looks at all the planets with Neptune near the end -- great photos and engaging text. He writes vividly of the blue color:http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/image/neptune.html...Uranus and Neptune both have a blue color. Instead of ammonia clouds, their clouds are made of frozen methane crystals because they are much colder than Jupiter and Saturn. The red and orange colors of sunlight are absorbed by the methane in their atmospheres while the blue colors are scattered back out, producing the blue color with a faint greenish tinge.FYI: This site also has an interesting photo showing how small earth is in comparison with Neptune and Uranus. One of these sites (and I can't find it right now) mentions that if Neptune were hollow, nearly 60 earths would fit inside it!
Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter
From NASA's Voyager 2 space craft and the Jet Propulsion Lab in California come this page of terrific (clickable) images of the planet Neptune and its largest moon, Triton. For a fact sheet on the planet as well as a thumbnail history of Voyagers 1 and 2, click on this sister-link: http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/science/neptune.htmlhttp://www.salesio.pe.kr/science/space/uranus.asp
These are more images -- some of Neptune and Triton, but other planets are also included. (FYI: unfortunately, the page doesn't always load correctly: sometimes all the images are scrambled on top of one another.)
Moving to astrology, this is "Neptune in Aquarius," a beautifully written and illustrated page from Don Cerow's Athena's Web. (Don't miss the opening link to Cerow's page from Homer on the animosity Poseidon felt for Odysseus -- there's a stunning photo in addition to Robert Fitzgerald's powerful translation.) Passages for "Neptune in Aquarius" were written in early 1999. Here are excerpts:Now that Neptune is in Aquarius to stay until 2011-2012 AD, it's again time to delve into the essential nature of this alignment. Outer planets entering a new sign introduce new trends to society. By turning this metaphorical crystal over slowly in our minds, examining how the light changes when refracted through its various facets, we might better understand the future. This is a theme we'll be living with for the next dozen years....Cerow then takes his readers on a fascinating and lengthy history tour of what happened the last time Neptune was in Aquarius:
On the high side, Aquarian energy is the energy of the people. It is people working for people, for the common good. It can be, in a social set, looked at as a form of communism, in all its idyllic trappings. But on the other hand, this country has a Moon in Aquarius. We are a nation of the people, by the people, and for the people. A couple of centuries after the original 4th, we sometimes forget that this country is the original experiment in democracy, separating itself from the European kingdoms which existed everywhere at the time.
Finally, it's important to understand this alignment for another reason. Neptune is the planet of intuitive judgement and understanding. Not only will we be living with it for the next dozen years as it passes through Aquarius; but before it leaves, the Age of Aquarius will have begun.
We'll have another 2000 years to learn about it.... we're going to turn back the clock and examine what was going on the last time Neptune was in Aquarius, between February 1834 and February 1848.Those are just a few highlights from a very long page. The work is eloquent, literate, specific, and impressive. It is both encouraging -- and sobering, even frightening when considered in the context of the current (late January 2004) self-righteous crew in Washington D.C. who so easily bend truth and morality to fit their larger agendas. If this continues, it is inevitable that masses of people will rise up against it, for that is the mandate of Aquarius in Neptune when power is abused. Hopefully, wiser leaders will come to the fore before that happens. What seems to be most needed is a steady, honest, compassionate hand at the helm as we navigate through these stormy, yet wondrous seas of Neptune.
Aquarian energy represents knowledge, information, and education. While Neptune passes through Aquarius, there is a greater interest in these themes by the people. Think of them as backyard inventors. This produced both good science and practical inventions, but also pseudo-science and a great deal of quackery....
... Aquarius is a fixed air sign, and the attitudes and opinions espoused by these independent thinkers tend to be, well, fixed and opinionated. Many look at life in a manner that's best for the common good, but their view may be regional rather than universal. Hence, Neptune in Aquarius was also a period of time during which cool, intellectual indifference was also apparent as the Native American was swept aside in the interest of white settlement. It was the established government opinion that all Indians must be moved west of the Mississippi, which led to the Second Seminole War (1835-1842) in Florida, and the infamous Trail of Tears, wherein all Cherokee lands were sold to the US in return for a set amount of money and 'free' transportation to the Indian Territory in Oklahoma. The rest, as they say, is history.
This is a sampling of the many Neptune in Aquarius themes evident between 1834 to 1848, and included a growing movement against slavery, called abolition. With this in mind, combining our subconscious archetype with the growing technologies in metaphorical fashion, the late 1830s found the Underground Railroad in full swing.
With Neptune's passage through Aquarius from 1834 to 1848, there was a growing interest in the spirit of freedom, especially for those at the lower end of the social scale. Since Neptune is the planet of the subconscious, it represents those that society tends to forget. In the mid-nineteenth century, this would have been the immigrant workers, the poor, and the growing slave population....
...We've been examining some of the threads of Neptune's passage through Aquarius from 1834 to 1848; the 'people', and their inventions. Social causes are Aquarian, but so is lightning. You're never quite sure where it's going to strike, or when.
We see the influx of inventions throughout this period, with many of the patents going to common folk, such as blacksmiths and other workers. But as Aquarian energy dawns, so does its misuse. This is the sign of revolution, riots, and change. If Capricorn is the status quo; law and order, and the conservative tradition, so Aquarius is change, cosmic conditions, and social transformation. This is a fixed air sign, which says that these people are set in their ideas, one way or the other....
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© 2003-2004 by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.
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Page created 31 October 2003.
After a long hiatus of 3 months, began adding more links 27-30 January 2004.
30 January 2004, 3:32pm: launched this page at last.
22 October 2004, 10:40pm EDT: put page on hiatus for 10 days along with Creation Myths & Lunar New Year due to heavy traffic;
restored 9:12pm, 1 November 2004
TWO FINAL IMAGES
On the left: ancient coin from Italy, Lucania, Poseidonia
Stater, c.500 B.C.
Poseidon, with chlamys over shoulder, holding trident in right handOn the right: ancient coin from Macedonia, 306-285 B.C.
Tetradrachm, c. 294-293 B.C.
Poseidon striding, brandishing trident; star and dolphin in field to right