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Greek mythology and the religion of ancient Greece have had a deeper impact on the shipping world than some people realise. The very word “ocean” can be traced back to the Greek Okeanos, the great river that flowed around the earth and was personified as Oceanus.

The gods and goddesses worshipped by the Hellenes have been memorialised in the names of such maritime companies as the UAE-basd Helios International FZC and Norway’s Poseidon Simulation AS. Some of the deities have even travelled the world, their names emblazoned on the hulls of ships. Here are some examples:

OCEANUS (built 1954)
Photo by Okänd fotograf, 1964
Courtesy of Sjöhistoriska museet, Stockholm

Named after Oceanus, the oldest Titan, the son of Uranus (Heaven) and Gaea (Earth), the husband of the Titan Tethys, and father of 3,000 stream spirits and 3,000 ocean nymphs READ MORE

Oceanus, 1588/1590
Woodcut print by Hendrick Goltzius (Dutch, 1558–1617)
Courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

CRONUS LEADER (built 2008) at the Pierre Vandamme Lock, Zeebrugge, Belgium
Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Tvx1
Licence: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Named after Cronus (also spelled Cronos or Kronos), male deity identified with the Roman god Saturn. In art he was depicted as an old man holding an implement, probably originally a sickle but interpreted as a harp?, or curved sword. READ MORE

 

Saturn (Cronus), c. 1670
Etching by Girolamo Scarselli (Italian, active 1670)
Courtesy of the Philadephia Museum of Art

NEREUS (built 1957)
Photo by J. Robert Boman (1926 – 2002), 1966
Courtesy of Sjöhistoriska museet, Stockholm

Named after Nereus, sea god called by Homer “Old Man of the Sea,” noted for his wisdom, gift of prophecy, and ability to change his shape. READ MORE

 

Nereus, 1586
Engraving by Philips Galle (Dutch, 1537–1612)
Courtesy of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

DEMETER (built 2006) at Casablanca port, Morocco
Photo by Farid Mernissi, 2019
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0) licence

Named after Demeter, daughter of the deities Cronus and Rhea, sister and consort of Zeus (the king of the gods), and goddess of agriculture. READ MORE

 

Figurine of Demeter with Pig, 5th century B.C.
Terra cotta sculpture, Athens, Greece
Courtesy of The Cleveland Museum of Art

NAVIOS HELIOS (built 2005) moored at Mercuriushaven, Port of Amsterdam
Photo by Alf van Beem, 2019
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Named after Helios, the sun god, sometimes called a Titan. He drove a chariot daily from east to west across the sky. READ MORE

 

Marble relief showing sun god Helios, between the first quarter of the 3rd century BC and 390 B.C.
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

SELENE (built 1894)
Photo by Okänd fotograf, 1952
Courtesy of Sjöhistoriska museets, Stockholm

Named after Selene, the personification of the moon as a goddess. She was worshipped at the new and full moons. READ MORE

 

The goddess of the Moon, with her cloak billowing above her head
Photo by Anthony Majanlahti on Flickr, 2005
Licence: Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

POSEIDON (built 1957)
Photo by Okänd fotograf/Hansen & Pedersen, 1959
Courtesy of Sjöhistoriska museet, Stockholm

Named after Poseidon, god of the sea (and of water generally), earthquakes, and horses. READ MORE

 

Poseidon
Photo by Fernando Insausti on Flickr, 2014
Licence: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

EROS (built 1957)
Photo by Okänd fotograf
Courtesy of Sjöhistoriska museets, Stockholm
Licence: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Named after Eros, god of love. He was a god not simply of passion but also of fertility. READ MORE

 

Bronze statue of Eros sleeping, 3rd—2nd century B.C.
Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

ATHENA (built 2003) at Casablanca port, Morocco
Photo by Farid Mernissi
Licence: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Named after Athena, goddess of war, handicraft, and practical reason, the daughter of Zeus. READ MORE

 

Mattei Athena at the Louvre
Marble sculpture, Roman copy from the 1st century B.C./A.D. after a Greek original of the 4th century B.C., attributed to Cephisodotos or Euphranor.
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

ZEUS (built 2010) at Mississippihaven, Port of Rotterdam
Photo by Alf van Beem, 2021
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Named after Zeus, chief deity of the pantheon, a sky and weather god who was identical with the Roman god Jupiter. READ MORE

 

Zeus in Olympia, 1815
Quatremère de Quincy (French, 1755–1849)
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

~ Barista Uno

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