Water deity

Sea gods are gods that are related to a real or mythical sea in polytheistic religions and mythologies in close connection or represent its personification.


The category of marine deity has no mythology is a direct correspondence, as can the one hand, the function of a deity is rarely limited to a single region, on the other hand is the image of a single god within a culture, both spatially and temporally pronounced differently. It is thus not useless, but is hardly suitable to classify religious structures or to systematize due to the complexity of polytheistic systems.

To distinguish Basically, as a deity imaginary cosmogony primeval oceans, revealing the world or other gods, personalized concrete seas and deities who rule the sea or inhabiting the sea, where a deity can combine several of these ideas in themselves.

Ancient Near East

In the earliest writing tangible mythology of the Ancient Near East, the Sumerian mythology, the beginning of all things is the sea goddess Nammu. It produces the pair of gods An and Ki, revealing the great gods. With it testifies to the ruling on the freshwater god Enki, who lives in subterranean freshwater ocean Abzu. In the Akkadian, Babylonian, Assyrian and other ancient Near Eastern mythologies the motives of a primeval ocean and an imaginary underground freshwater ocean are adopted and further developed. In Babylonian mythology the salt water ocean called Tiamat is the freshwater ocean Abzu over as more primordial Godhead. Through its connection there arises a pair of gods An and Ea, revealing more gods. Abzu and Tiamat are killed here by the younger generation of gods under the leadership of Marduk, who creates from Tiamat heaven and earth. The Hittites and Hurrians knew a sea god, whose daughter among the Hittites ( and Hattiern ) Ḫatepuna but Šertapšuruḫi was at the Hurrians.

Greek Mythology

In Greek mythology, a multitude of deities is called the god of the sea. With the exception of Poseidon little ritual worship is attested, so that its classification as a god of the sea is mainly based on work of fiction. The Greek polytheism characterized by openness with regard to the composition of the Pantheon.

A collection of Walter Pötscher called eight sea deities:

  • Poseidon, originally a god of inland waters, which is presented in Homer as the ruler of the seas, as he leaves his house under water towards arena and is recognized by the water dwellers as their Lord.
  • Amphitrite, wife of Poseidon.
  • The Tritons developed under the lead of other gods clubs as well as the variety of marine life from the single - god Triton ( mythology). Their number made ​​her look scary.
  • The Nereids inhabit the Mediterranean and were designed from the outset as a larger group, the individual design of individual Nereids comes poetic edits.
  • The " sea old man " Halios geron 's probably one of the oldest Greek sea gods. He confronts as senile sea god the father of the Nereids Nereus, but this could also have arisen from a derivative of the Nereids.
  • Proteus, a particularly transformable God had a skill that was generally attributed also to the sea gods.
  • Phorkys is the son of Pontus and brother of the sea monster Keto and was with keto sired many monsters
  • Glaucus was transformed into a sea god because of his love of the sea.

Some sea deities are missing in this list. In Greek cosmogony, the first gods were conceived as part of the world at the same time, from which herhorgingen other parts of the world. Pontos is in the Theogony of Hesiod, one of the first gods, the personification of the Mediterranean and the father of the sea deities Nereus, Thaumas, Phorkys, keto and Eurybia. Okeanos is in Hesiod Tethys with the father of Oceanids and is thought of as the Orphists primeval ocean. The sea goddess Thalassa is late attested in poetry and probably never had religious significance.

The openness of the Greek polytheistic system is particularly evident at Poseidon. In the early cult he is his brother Zeus equal and in some superior, in the Homeric poems, he is still able to challenge this. But even Dionysus can transform wanton sailors into dolphins, which is why his portrait at the Athenian festival Anthesteria is driven onto a ship through the city. In less influenced by the maritime city-states such as Sparta Poseidon cult is focused on those aspects that are not related to the sea. On the other hand, could cultic dedicatory inscriptions and votive offerings to be addressed in the context of navigation to different deities, not only to the sea gods.

Celtic mythology

Because of the few written documents a comprehensive lighting of the sea from a mythological point of view in Celtic mythology is difficult. Clear allocation of gods to the sea are rare. Thus, the Irish god Manannan is safest attributable to the sea. Through the writing of the Celtic legends goods by Christian monks and associated changes, this is difficult, however, some properties and descriptions of the legendary figure indicates the assignment of God. So is his name Manannán mac Lir ( [ Manana ː n mak L' ir ], Irish for " Manannan, son of the sea" ) and frequent references in the legends to the sea or a realm in or across the sea this presumption close .. Also Lir even the sea is awarded, but the assignment is uncertain. The same applies to the Welsh equivalents Llyr and Manawyddan.

List of sea gods

  • Yam
  • Ba ʿ al
  • Athirat
  • Asherah (Goddess )
  • Poseidon
  • Neptune
  • Ägir
  • Njörðr
  • Rán
  • Ägirstöchter
  • Agwe
  • Repun Kamui
  • Mazu
  • Namaka