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Myth about Amphitrite and Poseidon - Windows to the Universe

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Painting (c.1610) of Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665) entitled "The Triumph of Neptune and Amphitrite."
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Image courtesy of the Philadelphia Museum of Art: The George W. Elkins Collection.


Amphitrite was one of the fifty Nereids, the attendants of the sea-god Poseidon. Poseidon (Neptune) had fallen in love with Amphitrite after seeing her dancing on the island of Naxos. Amphitrite rejected his advances with repugnance, and fled to the Atlas Mountains to escape him. However, Poseidon sent a messenger after her, one Delphinus, who pleaded so well Poseidon's cause that the Nereid accepted to marry the sea god.

For gratitude, Poseidon placed the image of the Dolphin among the stars to form the constellation Dolphinus, the Dolphin. Amphitrite and Poseidon had three children: Triton, Rhodes, and Benthesicyme.

The principal moon of the planet Neptunewas named in 1846 by William Lassell after Triton. The island of Rhodes was named after the daughter of Poseidon ad Amphitrite. The next largest moon of the planet Neptune was discovered by Gerard P. Kuiper in 1949 and named Nereid after the attendants of the sea god, the Nereids.

Notwithstanding his persistence in marrying Amphitrite, Poseidon had many love affairs with goddesses, nymphs and mortal women making Amphitrite unhappy. She especially loathed his infatuation with a Scylla. By throwing magical herbs into Scylla's bathing pool, Amphitrite changed her rival into a barking monster with six heads and twelve feet.

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