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A trident "/ˈtrdənt/ is a three-"pronged "spear. It is used for "spear fishing and historically as a "polearm. The trident is the weapon of "Poseidon, or "Neptune, the god of the sea in "classical mythology. In "Hindu mythology it is the weapon of "Shiva, known as "trishula (Sanskrit for "triple-spear").



The word "trident" comes from the "French word trident, which in turn comes from the "Latin word tridens or tridentis: tri "three" and dentes "teeth". Sanskrit "trishula is compound of tri त्रि "three"+ ṣūla शूल "thorn".

The "Greek equivalent is τρίαινα (tríaina), from "Proto-Greek trianja (threefold).


Mosaic, 4th century BC, showing a "retiarius or "net fighter", with a trident and cast net, fighting a "secutor.
Fountain of Neptune in Diafáni, "Karpathos island

In Greek, Roman, and Hindu mythology, the trident is said to have the power of control over the ocean.


Tridents for fishing usually have barbed "tines which trap the speared fish firmly. In the "Southern and "Midwestern United States, "gigging is used for harvesting "suckers, "bullfrogs, "flounder, and many species of "rough fish.[1]


The trident, known as "dangpa, is featured as a weapon in the 17th- to 18th-century systems of "Korean martial arts.

In "Ancient Rome, in a parody of fishing, tridents were famously used by a type of "gladiator called a "retiarius or "net fighter". The retiarius was traditionally pitted against a "secutor, and "cast a net to wrap his adversary and then used the trident to kill him.[2]

Symbolism and mythology[edit]

In Hindu legends and stories "Shiva, a "Hindu God who holds a trident in his hand, uses this sacred weapon to fight off negativity in the form of evil villains. The trident is also said to represent three gunas mentioned in Indian vedic philosophy namely "sāttvika, rājasika, and tāmasika.

In Greek myth, Poseidon used "his trident to create water sources in "Greece and the "horse. Poseidon, as well as being god of the sea, was also known as the "Earth Shaker" because when he struck the earth in anger he caused mighty "earthquakes and he used his trident to stir up tidal waves, "tsunamis and sea storms. In relation to its fishing origins, the trident is associated with "Poseidon, the "god of the sea in "Greek mythology, and his Roman counterpart "Neptune.

In "Roman myth, "Neptune also used a trident to create new bodies of water and cause earthquakes. A good example can be seen in "Gian Bernini's "Neptune and Triton.

In religious "Taoism, the trident represents the Taoist Trinity, the "Three Pure Ones. In Taoist rituals, a trident bell is used to invite the presence of deities and summon spirits, as the trident signifies the highest authority of Heaven.

The "trishula of the Hindu god "Shiva. A weapon of South-East Asian (particularly "Thai) depiction of "Hanuman, a character of "Ramayana.

A fork "Jewish priests (Kohanim) used to take their portions of offerings.[3]

The glyph or sigil of the planet "Neptune in "astronomy and "astrology.


The "flag of Barbados incorporates a Trident.

Civilian use[edit]

Military emblems[edit]

Botanical nomenclature[edit]

A number of structures in the biological world are described as trident in appearance. Since at least the late 19th century the trident shape was applied to certain botanical shapes; for example, certain "orchid flora were described as having trident-tipped lips in early "botanical works.[5] Furthermore, in current botanical literature, certain "bracts are stated to have a trident-shape (e.g. "Douglas-fir).[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Turner, Andy. "Fish Gigging: An Ozark Tradition". Missouri Department of Conservation. 
  2. ^ Roland Auguet [1970] (1994). Cruelty and Civilization: The Roman Games. London: Routledge. "ISBN "0-415-10452-1.
  3. ^ "1 Samuel 2 / Hebrew Bible in English / Mechon-Mamre". mechon-mamre.org. 
  4. ^ "Iron-willed 'hero' images". nypost.com. 9 April 2010. 
  5. ^ John Lindley and Thomas Moore (1964) The Treasury of Botany: A Popular Dictionary of the Vegetable Kingdom with which is Incorporated a Glossary of Botanical Terms, Published by Longmans Green, pt.1
  6. ^ C. Michael Hogan (2008) Douglas-fir: Pseudotsuga menziesii, globalTwitcher.com, ed. Nicklas Strõmberg Archived 2009-06-04 at the "Wayback Machine.)
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