Poseidon’s MDT – Day 4: A Favourite Myth

Χαίρετε ἀναγνώστες!

Today I will share my favourite myth involving Poseidon with you.

This myth would be one that involved Poseidon’s male lover, one of them anyways, Nerites. Nerites was the son of Nereus, coming after the 50 daughters of Nereus who are called Nereïdes. The love between Poseidon and Nerites was mutual, so not just imagined as an older eraster (lover) taking a younger man as his eromenos (beloved) in the sense of an ordinary pederastic relationship. While their age categories do seem to follow this same pattern of older, adult male with a younger male, the mention of it being mutual may indicate actual romantic affection between the two. Aelianus in his On Animals mentions that this is is the origin of Anteros, the God of Requited Love. I am unsure what he means by this, as otherwise Ares and Aphrodite are mentioned as parents to Anteros.

Anyways, Poseidon favoured Nerites greatly, and as he drove his chariot across the seas, many creatures and spirits and tritones would come up to honour him, but were quickly left behind by his great speed. Only Nerites could keep up with him since Poseidon willed the waves to part for Nerites and be calm, allowing him to swim without impediment. In the end, Nerites was transformed into a spiral shelled sea-snail by Helios, who was angered at him, though Aelianus could not tell why. He did offer that perhaps Helios and Poseidon were rivals, though he does not specify how exactly. Perhaps he means they were rivals for the love of Nerites and angered because Nerites loved Poseidon and not him, but it is not made clear.

I like this myth because it is about a reciprocal, homosexual relationship. I just wish we knew more about the why behind his transformation into a spiralled shell.



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