Some of the most famous gods of the Greek pantheon – those who lived on the legendary Mount Olympus – are commonly known as the Olympians: it’s the god of sky and thunder, Zeus, the goddess of marriage, Hera, the god of the sea, Poseidon, the goddess of wisdom, Athena, the god of fire, Hephaestus, the goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite, the god of light, Apollo, the goddess of the hunt, Artemis, the god of wine and ecstasy, Bacchus, the goddess of agriculture, Demeter, the god of war, Ares, the goddess of the hearth, Hestia, the god of the underworld, Hades, and the god of travel, Hermes, who acted as a messenger between humans and gods.
Known to this day for his ferocious nature, immense stature and flowing beard, Poseidon was often seen as a figure of omnipotence, exerting both influence and rivalry within the hierarchy of the pantheon. Just like Zeus and Hades, he was the son of the Titans, Cronus and Rhea. The three brothers acted as a triumvirate that divided the main realms – the sea, the sky, and the underworld – between themselves. However, Poseidon’s relationship with the Olympians, especially with his brother Zeus, was characterized by a complex yet persistent conflict and camaraderie. The god of the sea never missed a chance to engage in a power struggle, challenging the authority of other deities and vying for full control of the cosmos.
When he was not fighting with the Olympians, Poseidon commanded the vast sea, creating treacherous depths, turbulent currents, and new islands – just like an artist decorating a tapestry. He also guided seafarers on their dangerous voyages, creating placid seas when pleased, or causing chaotic drownings and shipwrecks when insulted. The sea god’s iconic Trident, a symbol of his dominion, represented his authority. The first prong symbolized his mastery of the turbulent waters, enabling him to summon and tame the chaos. The second prong signified his dominion over the solid earth, allowing him to start earthquakes and reshape coastlines at his will. The third prong stood for his connection to the heavens above, highlighting his ability to command weather phenomena, such as storms and thunderous downpours. Beyond the obvious symbolism, the Trident also embodied the concepts of power, unpredictability, and the balance of chaos and order that Poseidon ruled.
With all these legends and myths in mind, the talented Kartvelian artist, Mr Kakhaber Topchishvili, has depicted the fierce Greek god in all his might on the collectible coin, ‘Poseidon’. The high relief is partially gilded on the reverse side: the Trident in the sea god’s hand, the crown on his head as well as several other pieces of jewellery gleam in gold. The beard flows in waves that seem to go on forever – it is impossible to tell where the hair ends and the water begins. Various sea creatures, such as an octopus, a starfish and a seahorse, are entangled in the curls of Poseidon’s beard. The obverse side features the public seal of Niue in the centre. Below, two katoua cleaving clubs – the symbol of Niue – are crossed, and the island’s motto, ‘atua Niue tukulagi’, is written above them.