Poseidon, Ruler of the Sea Profound — The Orphic Hymn to Poseidon

Hear, Neptune [Poseidon], ruler of the sea profound,
 whose liquid grasp begirts the solid ground;

Who, at the bottom of the stormy main
, dark and deep-bosom’d, hold’st thy wat’ry reign;

Thy awful hand the brazen trident bears,
 and ocean’s utmost bound, thy will reveres:

Thee I invoke, whose steeds the foam divide,
 from whose dark locks the briny waters glide;

Whose voice loud founding thro’ the roaring deep,
 drives all its billows, in a raging heap; 

When fiercely riding thro’ the boiling sea,
 thy hoarse command the trembling waves obey.

Earth shaking, dark-hair’d God, the liquid plains
 (the third division) Fate to thee ordains,

‘Tis thine, cærulian dæmon, to survey
 well pleas’d the monsters of the ocean play, 

Confirm earth’s basis, and with prosp’rous gales
 waft ships along, and swell the spacious sails;

Add gentle Peace, and fair-hair’d Health beside,
 and pour abundance in a blameless tide.

This Hymn concentrates on Poseidon’s rule of the oceans and barely mentions his alternate title of “Earth-Shaker”. It does however indicate that he, not Zeus was in charge of the weather at sea. It is also interesting to note that the sea he rules is more often in this hymn portrayed as being stormy, thus indicating that the original authors of this hymn were praying for him to calm the storms and send fair winds.

He, like his brothers, is portrayed as governing nature where his sisters are governing human endeavors. This is interesting to me as it paints the sons of Chronos as being in some ways more primal than the daughters of that same Titan. Poseidon is the god who determines the boundaries of the world in the Greek view of things and it is the “liquid plains” that he has been given in the casting of lots between him and his brothers.

Like all of the Orphic hymns we have looked at, Poseidon is called upon to bring Peace, Health and abundance. To me that is an indication that the Orphic view of the Gods is that there were specific benefits that the worship would bring to them along with the things that the god in question was directly involved with…..

More questions are raised in my mind, but they will have to come at a later time.

One thought on “Poseidon, Ruler of the Sea Profound — The Orphic Hymn to Poseidon

  1. Pingback: Poseidon | Ποσειδώνας - der Beherrscher des Meeres #7 -

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