Last Updated on 2022/10/08
Salacia is an ancient marine deity of Roman mythology, goddess of salt water and guardian of the depths of the ocean as stated by Apuleius in The Metamorphoses.
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She was wife and queen of Neptune, god of the sea and water, as told by Varro and reported by Seneca, Augustine and Servius Marius Honoratus. Salacia was in great awe of her famous suitor when the god Neptune proposed marriage to her. In order to protect her virginity, she was able to glide out of his line of sight and hide in the Atlantic Ocean. A dolphin was despatched by the bereaved Neptune to search for the lovely nymph and convince her to come back and share his reign. The King of the Deep was so delighted that Salacia had chosen to marry Neptune that he gave the dolphin a seat in the skies, where he today makes up the well-known constellation Delphinus. She is identified with the Greek deity Amphitrite, consort of Poseidon.
Salacia is shown as a stunning nymph with a seaweed crown who is either seated next to Neptune or riding beside him in a pearl shell chariot pulled by dolphins, sea horses (hippocamps), or other fantastic underwater creatures, with Tritons and Nereids by her side. She has nets in her hair and is clad in regal garments.
Salacia represented the serene and sunny side of the ocean.
Featured image: Herculaneum. Neptune and Amphitrite are shown on an ancient Roman mosaic that is on exhibit at the “House of Neptune and Amphitrite.”
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