God Neptune: History, Mythology and Symbols

He God Neptune Was the Roman god of the seas and water. It was first chosen as the god of the springs, lakes and rivers to later be named god of the sea.

It was revered by the Romans as the father of all living beings on Earth through the fertilizing power of rainwater.

God Neptune: History, Mythology and Symbols

Neptune was artistically depicted as a sea god, with dark hair and blue-green or sea-green dresses, with a trident like a scepter and sitting on a snail-shaped chariot drawn by whales and sea horses.

It is also said that Neptune is usually escorted and attended by the sea gods and sea goddesses and a retinue of newts and sea nymphs.

In ancient coins and medals, the god Neptune was represented mounted on the beak of a ship as a clear indication that it was the god who presided over the seas.

Neptune was also the god of navigation, earthquakes and horse racing. In fact, the ancient Romans believed that he had been the creator of the horse. A Roman temple dedicated to him was located near the Flaminius Circus, the Roman hippodrome.

The children of Neptune are most recognized are Triton, Proteus, Rhode and Benthesicyme. However, according to some ancient myths and legends, he was also the father of Ephialtes (a giant son), Halirrhothius (a son of Neptune killed by God Mars), Otus (a giant son of Neptune who was killed by Diana and Apollo) and Polyphemus (giant son of Neptune blinded by Ulysses).

History and mythical facts

  • He was the son of Saturn and Ops, brother of Jupiter, Pluto, Vesta, Juno and Ceres and the husband of Amphitrite.
  • Neptune was worshiped by the Romans as the god of horses, under the name Neptunus Equester.
  • Neptune was the God who delayed Odysseus' return from the Trojan War by wrecking his ship.
  • The Neptunalia was the celebration that took place in honor of Neptune every 23 of July. In the middle of the really hot and dry summer season in the ancient Roman Empire, when water was scarce, the Romans sought the protection of Neptune, its irrigation water and its works. They used to sacrifice a bull in their name that day and asked the tide to be friendly to allow a successful maritime trade.
  • During sacrifices to the Roman gods, at festivals like Neptunalia, the sex of the victim had to correspond to the sex of the god to whom it was offered. White animals were sacrificed in honor of the gods of the upper world (Gods of Olympus), while black animals were for the gods of the underworld.
  • Neptune raped Medusa, a beautiful priestess, on the floor of a temple dedicated to the goddess Minerva. The poor girl then became the mythical creature called Medusa, a monstrous creature also called Gorgona.
  • Neptune had two temples in Rome. A temple was located near the circus Flaminius, the Roman hippodrome. The second temple called"Basilica Neptuni"was located on Campus Martius and was built by Agrippa in honor of the naval victory of Actium.
  • The planet Neptune received the name of the Roman god, since its deep blue gas clouds gave the first astronomers the impression of great oceans and seas.

Neptune in Ancient Rome

The Romans frequently assimilated elements of other cultures and civilizations, including the gods and goddesses who were worshiped by the Greeks and other nations.

When the Roman Empire conquered the Greeks in 146 BC, many of the Greek gods and goddesses were adopted by the Romans. The Romans simply changed the names of the Greek gods to Latin equivalents.

The Greek counterpart of Neptune was Poseidon. The Roman religion differed significantly from the Greeks in that it was officially endorsed by the state and exerted influence over the government of Rome.

Politicians took over the offices of influential priests, called pontiffs, to gain control of popular worship. Roman gods like Neptune were worshiped in every public event, including gladiatorial games, where blood sacrifices were made in honor of the gods.

In ancient Rome, the pantheon of 12 important gods, including Neptune, was called the 'Dei Consentes' which means the Council of the Gods.

Symbols of Neptune

  • The Trident Symbol : The trident of power represented its ability to control water. The trident was made by the Cyclopes before the war between the Olympians and the Titans.
  • The horse symbol : The horse was a symbol of this god as it was believed that Neptune had created the first horse. The horses that threw their chariot from the sea shell were the hippocampus.
  • The dolphin symbol : The dolphin symbol was sacred to this God, the dolphins reflected their ability to move in and out of the water.
  • The Bull Symbol : The symbol of the bull is associated with the god due to the mythology of the Cretan Torus.

When Neptune reached maturity, his brother Jupiter assigned the sea and islands to establish his own empire. Much later, the bond between Neptune and his brother was broken since Neptune was part of a conspiracy against him, along with other deities.

On one occasion, the god Neptune competed with Vulcan and Minerva, to test their abilities. The goddess, as a proof of her, made a horse, Vulcan a man, and Neptune a bull, whence that animal was used in the sacrifices to honor him. It is said that Neptune created the horse, striking the earth with his trident.

The Roman poet Ovid describes Neptune with a sullen gaze, while Virgil expressly tells us that Neptune had a soft face and even at times when Neptune is provoked, and one might expect to appear disturbed, says Virgil that there was serenity and majesty in your face.

References

  1. Such beyond belief. (2015). Neptune. 2-1-2017, from Siteseen Ltd.
  2. Wukitsch, T. (2001). Neptunalia. 2-1-2017, from MMDTKW.
  3. Johnson, R. (2010). Neptune. 2-1-2017, from Windows to the Universe.
  4. Alchin, L. (2015). The Roman God Neptune. 2-1-2017, by Tribunes and Triumphs.


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