Salacia – Roman Goddess of the Sea

Affiliate Disclosures

In Roman mythology, Salacia was a minor yet influential goddess. She was the primordial female goddess of the sea and had associations with other deities. Salacia features in the writing of several famous authors of the Roman Empire. Here’s a closer look at her myth.

Who Was Salacia?

Salacia was the main Roman goddess of the sea and saltwater. Salacia was the consort of the King of the oceans and god of the sea, Neptune. Together, Salacia and Neptune ruled over the depths of the sea. Her Greek counterpart was the goddess Amphitrite, who was a goddess of the sea and the consort of Poseidon

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Salacia and Neptune

When Neptune first tried to woo Salacia, she rejected him, as she found him intimidating and awe-inspiring. She also wanted to keep her virginity intact. Salacia managed to escape the attempts of Neptune and left for the Atlantic Ocean, where she hid from him.

However, Neptune was adamant that he wanted Salacia, and sent a dolphin to look for her. The dolphin managed to find Salacia and convince her to return and share the throne with Neptune. So glad was Neptune that he awarded the dolphin with a constellation, which came to be known as Delphinus, a well-known group of stars in the Roman Empire. 

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The Role of Salacia in Mythology

Before being the consort of Neptune and the queen of the ocean, Salacia was only a sea nymph. Her name derives from the Latin Sal, which means salt. As a goddess of the sea, she represented the calm, open, and vast sea as well as the sunlit sea. Salacia was also the goddess of saltwater, so her domain extended as far as the ocean did. In some accounts, she was the goddess of the springs and their mineralized water. 

Salacia and Neptune had three sons who were popular figures of the seas. The most famous was their son Triton, a god of the sea. Triton had body that was half-fish half-man, and in later times, Triton became symbolic of mermen.

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Depictions of Salacia

In many of her depictions, Salacia appears as a beautiful nymph with a crown of seaweed. Several portrayals feature the goddess alongside Neptune in their thrones in the depths of the ocean. In other artworks, she can be seen wearing a white robe and standing on a pearl shell chariot. This chariot was one of her foremost symbols, and it was carried by dolphins, seahorses, and many other mythological creatures of the sea.

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In Brief

The sea was an important feature in the lives of the Romans, especially in light of their constant voyaging and exploration. In this sense, the deities of the sea remained significant throughout the history of the Roman empire, and Salacia was no exception. Although not as famous as some other Roman deities, Salacia was venerated in her time for her role as a sea goddess.