Statue of Neptune in Florence, Italy.
Click on image for full size
Neptune was the name that ancient Romans gave to the Greek god of the sea and
earthquakes, Poseidon. Neptune was depicted as a bearded man with long hair, holding
a trident and accompanied by dolphins and fish. He had the reputation for having a
very bad temper. The storms and earthquakes were a reflection of his furious rage.
Neptune split mountains and threw them into the sea to make islands. One day he saw
the beautiful water nymph, Amphitrite dancing in the island of Naxos, and fell
immediately in love with her. He promptly asked her to marry him but unfortunately
Amphitrite refused his proposal. Scared by Neptune's violent temper, Amphitrite
sought refuge with the titan Atlas. However, not discouraged by Amphitrite refusal,
Neptune sent one of his servant, a dolphin to look for her. The dolphin found her,
and persuaded her to change her mind. Since then they ruled the waves together. As a
reward for finding and returning Amphitrite to him, Neptune immortalized the dolphin
by placing it in the heavens as the constellation Dolphinus. Neptune and Amphitrite
had several children. Among them was Triton whose name was given in 1846 by William
Lassell to the principal moon of the planet
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