It's been a long time since I looked at the Perseus myth, and became confused debating with a child who asserted Perseus was the the son of Poseidon. This led me to read the Percy Jackson series, which also initially confused me because I was sure Perseus is the son of Zeus. But, then I started thinking about it, and wondered: Is it supportable to consider Perseus a son of Poseidon?

Not explicitly per the ancient canon, but rather reimagined in a modern retelling.

  • What aspects of the Perseus myth support modern retelling as a son of Poseidon?

What elements of the ancient canon could have led Rick Riordan to reimagine Perseus in this manner?

  • Though I haven't read Percy Jackson in several years now, I seem to recall that Riordan still considered Perseus a son of Zeus. From what I remember, Percy's mom tells Percy early in the series that she named him Perseus because she hoped he would succeed like Perseus did in the face of various challenges. For whatever reason, Riordan was interested in creating a demigod son of Poseidon.
    – Harel13
    Apr 21, 2021 at 20:47
  • @harel13 That is correct, but why did he name him after Perseus? I think there may be elements of the Perseus myth that could support Poseidon as the father, which could have influenced Riordan, consciously or unconsciously.
    – DukeZhou
    Apr 23, 2021 at 2:55

1 Answer 1


This is a question that is answered if you look through the series background. Percy Jackson is a character invented by Rick Riordan during a storytelling night with his ADHD dyslexia son who couldn't concentrate at school. Since his son loves the story of Perseus and the Greek hero had a great and happy ending, he decides to name his character Percy, short for Perseus. The reason why he picked Poseidon was that Hera's jealousy of Zeus's child might kill Percy in the first chapter or it could be from the original Perseus story where Poseidon used gentle waves to bring the chest that contained his mother and him to the shore.

Who knows?

  • I guess Amphitrite is more easygoing than Hera?
    – Spencer
    Apr 24, 2021 at 21:10
  • What are your thoughts on Riordan's observation that riding a winged horse protects Percy in the air since horses are symbols of Poseidon. (Although the canonical Perseus uses the winged sandals of Hermes, it's quite common to conflate this with Perseus riding Pegasus, as opposed to Bellerophon, because Pegasus sprung from the neck of Medusa when Perseus severed her head.)
    – DukeZhou
    May 10, 2021 at 0:33

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