Greek mythology and Roman mythology have always impacted our existing knowledge greatly. Whether it is their writings and principles or their lifestyle, they are believed to be a huge influence on what we are today. If you believe in the revival of history, you cannot help but go through the pages of Roman and Greek origin.
Gods of either mythology are still taken care of in contemporary writings. Today we are going to understand and differentiate amongst two of the greatest Gods of the Roman and Greek culture: Neptune, the God of freshwater, and Poseidon, the great God of the sea.
Poseidon vs Neptune
The difference between Poseidon and Neptune is that Poseidon is the Greek God of the sea and Neptune is the Roman God of freshwater, who is often seen in pictures riding a seahorse. He is believed to have reproduced seahorses with Medusa (one of the three monstrous Gorgons in Greek mythology).
Even though the two appear to have strikingly similar features in sculptures, their history and origin separate them clearly. They belong to two absolutely unique culture.
Although the two Gods might seem to rule the sea, there is a giant difference in their rule, their origin, their culture and their stories. They have their own history to begin with and no way it is possible for the separate histories to collide and merge to be one. Neptune is the Roman God of freshwater and Poseidon is the Greek God of the sea and in no way are these two Gods the same.
It is a myth often heard that Romans adopted the great God of the sea, Poseidon, and very feasibly renamed him Neptune. However, this isn’t true at all!
Even though Poseidon and Neptune appear to look almost the same, there is a gigantic history separating them, originating from their respective geographical land.
Comparison Table Between Poseidon and Neptune (in Tabular Form)
|Parameters of Comparison||Neptune||Poseidon|
|Origin||Neptune (Latin – Neptunus) is a God in Roman mythology.||Poseidon is a God in Greek mythology.|
|Story||Neptune is connoted with horses because according to the legend he was dragged along the seashore in a horse-driven carriage.||Poseidon was the son of Cronus and Rhea who after the defeat of his father was assigned the lordship of the sea.|
|Way of Worshipping||In Greek culture, Neptune is celebrated in this festival called “Neptunalia”, named after the God himself.||In ancient Greece, there was a festival called Isthmian Games known for its elaborate athletic and musical display. This festival was primarily celebrated in the name of Poseidon.|
|Appearance||In Roman culture, Neptune primarily is represented with a trident and a dolphin. Sometimes, seahorses too.||In Greek culture, Poseidon is represented with a trident only. He is not accompanied by dolphins or other sea animals for that matter.|
|Representation||Is considered to be the God of freshwater.||Is considered to be the God of sea.|
Who was Neptune?
Neptune (Latin – Neptunus) is the God of freshwater in Roman mythology. He is represented with a trident and a dolphin, or sometimes even seen riding seahorses in various pictures and sculptures. Neptune’s name in Latin stands for “moist” or wet. The reason why Neptune is sometimes connoted with horses is because according to the legend he was dragged along the seashore in a horse-driven carriage.
In Greek culture, Neptune is celebrated in this festival called “Neptunalia”, named after the God himself. The festival was orchestrated in the middle of summer, 23rd of July when Greece was struck with water scarcity. Since Neptune is believed to be the God of freshwater, the deity was appealed and invocated for the crisis. Neptune is also believed to have a temple in his name in Rome called Circus Flaminius.
The temple is adorned with beautifully crafted sculptures of which one has Neptune and Thetis leading a group of water deities.
Who was Poseidon?
Poseidon is the Greek God of the sea. He was the son of the Greek Gods Cronus and Rhea who after the defeat of his father was assigned the responsibility of the sea while his brother Zeus and Hades were given the sky and the underworld respectively. Poseidon is also represented with a trident in his arm raised towards the skies. But he is not accompanied by sea animals in any picture.
He is often referred to as the messiah of seafarers and voyagers and punishing those severely found guilty, with storms and earthquakes. He is popular for the wrath he expresses. Also known by the name of “earth-shaker” in various cults. In ancient Greece, there was a festival called Isthmian Games known for its elaborate athletic and musical display. This festival was primarily celebrated in the name of Poseidon.
Main Differences Between Poseidon and Neptune
- Poseidon is a God belonging to Greek mythology while Neptune belongs to Roman mythology.
- Poseidon is the God of the sea while Neptune is the God of freshwater.
- Neptune is represented with dolphins and seahorses, sometimes even seen leading the water Gods along with Thetis. Poseidon is represented solely by himself holding a trident raised to the skies above.
- Neptune is celebrated through the famous festival called Neptunalia. Poseidon is celebrated in Greece in a festival called Isthmian Games.
- Neptune is also sometimes connoted with horses because according to the legend he was dragged along the seashore in a horse-driven carriage. Whereas Poseidon was the son of Cronus and Rhea who after the defeat of his father was assigned the lordship of the sea while his brother Zeus and Hades were given the sky and the underworld respectively.
It can be safely concluded that Poseidon and Neptune are not the same Gods. In fact, to begin with, both these legends belong to two separate mythologies and are worshipped in two different religion, differently. Although the two Gods appear to have striking similarities in their appearance and what they rule, we are casually declining the origin of their rule, their origin, their culture and their stories.
They are carrying their own absolutely diverse history to begin with and no way it is possible for the separate histories to collide and merge to be one. Once we navigate through the dusty pages of Greek and Roman literature, we can easily understand the differences in these two legendary ideals.