Greek God Nereus – The Gentle Sea Deity

Greek God Nereus – The Gentle Sea Deity

Greek God Nereus was the eldest son of Pontus and Gaia, the Sea and the Earth, respectively. Along with Doris, he fathered the fifty Nerits and Nereids with whom he lived in the Aegean sea. He was an old man of the seas, as well as the protector of the sea’s bounty of fish.

Just like many other marine divinities, he also had the power of prophecy. People thought that he could predict the future to them. Sometimes he appeared to mortals under different forms. In the story of Heracles, he was the one that acted as a prominent part. Nereus appears in a couple of myths, but in spite of this, he still is an important figure.

Heracles, on his penultimate task, had to steal three golden apples from the tree of the Hesperides. Thus, Heracles set off toward the west. While on his quest, Heracles came across some river nymphs who told him that Nereus, the old man of the sea, would know the whereabouts of the garden. Therefore, Heracles went to find Nereus and ask him for directions.

Greek God Nereus – The Gentle Sea DeityGreek God Nereus – The Gentle Sea Deity

When Nereus refused to help him, Heracles leaped onto the sea god and held him in a clinch. Nereus could transform himself into anything, including fire and water. But Heracles persisted, and this is how Nereus accepted to help him and give him directions.

In all of the ancient Greek depictions, he appears as an old man with a wooden staff. Sometimes he is accompanied by a host of his Nereid daughters. In other depictions he also has a fish tail in place of legs. Unlike other similar gods, such as Triton, Nereus always appears wearing chiton.

In addition to this, Nereus is different from the other aquatic deity, Poseidon. As you might know, Poseidon was much more reckless and full of vengeance. He would often engage in fights with other gods and mortals alike. Greek God Nereus is wiser and less prone to engage in petty fights.

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