Artist: Crystal Dunne
This odd looking creature is called the Hippocamp. It's the "Horse of the Sea" Nereid nymphs and sea gods rode in the mythology of ancient Greece. Poseidon's chariot was sensibly driven by two to four of these fishy tailed equines. As Poseidon was god of both horses and sea, it's fitting such aquatic horses should draw his chariot. He was also, scarily enough, the god of earthquakes. Homer called him the Earthshaker.
Chariot of Poseidon - Floor Mosaic
In this picture, Poseidon is pulled by four of the composite creatures. I can't see any chariot in this mosaic, but perhaps it's hidden under the sea foam churned by the Hippocamps' racing hooves. This is a busy little mosaic. We can only hope Poseidon avoided the fish, swimmers, people riding dolphins and the very large shrimp found at the top of the mosaic. I think that's a shrimp anyway.
The ancients believed Hippocamps were the adult version of sea horses. Sea horses belong to the genus Hippocampus. The name Hippocampus comes from the ancient Greek and means horse (hippos) and sea monster (kampos).
Chariot of Poseidon Drawn by Hippocamps - Roman Mosaic 3rd A.D.
A color mosaic of Poseidon driven by two Hippocamps. Poseidon was a disagreeable god who fought with everyone. He especially fought with his brothers Zeus and Hades over the portioning of planet Earth. I wouldn't want to be the poor Hippocamps compelled to pull his chariot. This is a very fine mosaic though. Take a moment to consider the amount of work required in creating this artwork.
Nereid Riding a Hippocampos - Mosaic - Imperial Roman
This Hippocamp has an especially long and convoluted tail. Nereids were the goddesses of the sea. They were the special patrons of sailors and fisherman, and came to their aid if hurt or in danger.
A Hippocamp carved on the Trevi Fountain in Rome. I saw the Trevi Fountain many years ago. Though I threw a coin in the water, I have yet to return.
A nice coin depicting Poseidon and two Hippocamps. It's a shame Hippocamps don't really exist. I would enjoy boarding a ship for a Hippocamp watch.