Imagine you are a sea nymph, one of the fifty daughters born to Nereus and Doris (the daughter of Oceanus). You are perfectly happy in your life in the ocean – but then you catch the eye of a god. The most powerful god in your domain: Poseidon. He wants you as his wife.
You, however, are not convinced. So you flee all the way to the edge of the ocean, to Atlas. But Poseidon sends a dolphin to bring you back, who convinces you that Poseidon is worthy of your heart. You return to Poseidon and become his wife.
Poseidon is an Olympian. Immensely powerful. As his wife you’re more than just a nymph; you’re a goddess of the ocean now. You sit beside Poseidon on a throne. You drive with him in a chariot drawn by sea horses. You bear him offspring: a son, Tritan the merman; a daughter, Rhodoes – and some seals and dolphins. You are one of the goddesses to attend the birth of Apollo.
How, then, do you come to be overlooked, forgotten? We have all heard of Aphrodite, goddess of love, but how many of us knew the story of Amphitrite?
It seems that over time, Amphitrite’s role in Ancient Greek mythology was diminished. She was downgraded to Poseidon’s consort – then to nothing more than a representation of the sea. The Romans created a strong equivalents goddess for the likes of Aphrodite (Venus) and Hestia (Vesta); not so Amphitrite.
Still, she can be found today, in honorific depictions around the world, if you are prepared to seek her out.
Here she is sculpted by François Théodore Devaulx (1866), on the north façade of the Cour Carrée in the Louvre, Paris.
But if you really want to pay homage to this sea goddess, the place to visit is Rynok Square in the city of Lviv, Ukraine. There, in each of the four corners is a statue of a Greek mythological figure: Diana, Adonis, Poseidon and a powerful and beautiful Amphitrite.
Finally, if you are in need of some good fortune, visit the Amphitrite Pool at the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York. According to tradition, if you throw a coin at the statue of Amphitrite and it bounces into the seashell that lies at her feet, you will have good luck.
Someday, I hope there is more of Amphitrite in our world, for it seems a shame to me that she gave up her quiet life for the god who loved her, to stand at his side, but was then cast aside. I would like to know more of her story; I would like to see her empowered.