DOLPHINS IN ANCIENT MYTHOLOGY
Dolphins have been viewed as somehow magical for millennia by humans.
Aphrodite is often depicted with dolphins, riding them or being accompanied by them. In one myth about Poseidon, dolphin messengers were sent to bring him a nymph he loved, who he later married. As a reward, he set the dolphin in the sky as a constellation. Robert Sepehr is an author, producer and anthropologist specializing in linguistics, archeology, and paleobiology (archeogenetics). They’re one of the only animals that appear to play, leaping out of the water and doing tricks, and the bottlenose dolphin even seems to grin widely at everything. It was inevitable that such a remarkable animal also collected a remarkable mythology that extends through today.
The first culture that seems to have mythology associated with the dolphin was the Minoan, a seafaring people in the Mediterranean. They left few written records, but they did leave beautiful murals on the walls of their palaces, murals that show the importance of dolphins in their mythology.
Because they were strongly associated with Poseidon by the later Greeks, this probably explains why the sea god was so often surrounded by dolphins. In one myth about Poseidon, dolphin messengers were sent to bring him a nymph he loved, who he later married. As a reward, he set the dolphin in the sky as a constellation. And he was constantly accompanied by dolphins among other sea creatures.
This wasn’t the last time the Greeks associated dolphins with romance and Mythology. Aphrodite is often depicted with dolphins, riding them or being accompanied by them. Later, the god Dionysus transformed the way dolphins were perceived in Greek literature. He was set upon while at sea by a band of pirates. Instead of simply destroying the sea raiders, he transformed them into a pod of dolphins, charging them to rescue any distressed sailors in the ocean. Dolphins, in Greek culture, were often rescuers of humans, probably because they like to bring things to the surface and, well, because there’s some really good evidence that they do indeed purposely rescue people in danger.