There are plenty of badass gods and goddesses peppering the mythologies of people worldwide, but, if they were all thrown in the ring together, which one would emerge victorious? We’ve pitted 17 ocean, river, sea, or otherwise water-related deities against one another in the hopes of finding that out.
The name of the French city of Orange and the historical royal House of Orange come from a corruption of the name of this Celtic water god, which was eventually conflated with the word for the citrus fruit, “orange.” And, that’s why Arausio is in last place.
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Enbilulu was a Sumerian, and later Babylonian, god of rivers, irrigation, and farming, and was worshipped for his zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…
This Roman goddess of salt water’s husband, Neptune, proposed to her with a dolphin, and she accepted. To that I say: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
A Haitian Vodou loa who presides over various elements of marine life and protects sailors and fishermen, Agwé accepts offerings of cake, fried bananas, champagne, and rum. He’s clearly got excellent taste, but he’s not all that badass.
This Maori and Polynesian fish god would get major points, except for the fact that he fled into the water when another god attacked his family. Not badass!
As the patron deity of the Achelous River, the largest river in Ancient Greece, Achelous reigned over all the other river gods and goddesses. Too bad he created the river by crying.
Before you say anything about this Roman sea deity, like the fact that he wields a trident and can create tidal waves by blowing into his conch shell, just know that he lives with his parents. Next!
While this Japanese water serpent can kill its enemies just by breathing venom on them, Mizuchi was slain by a warrior when he failed to sink three gourds underwater. Come on!
Bangpūtys, the Lithuanian god of seas and storms, once got so mad at another deity that he created a storm just to drown him. Badass, right? Yeah, it might have been — too bad he failed.
8. The Dragon Kings
There are four of these Chinese deities in total, each one presiding over one of the Four Seas from an underwater crystal palace. Did I mention that they’ve got dragon heads? And that they can pop up above water in the form of waterspouts? Because, yeah, that’s pretty cool.
This Fijian god is literally half-shark, and he once did battle with a god-turned-octopus. (Wait, isn’t that a Sci-Fi original movie?) Too bad Dakuwaqa lost said battle, otherwise he’d be higher on this list.
Like Ka-moho-ali’i, who didn’t losing a battle to a superpowered octopus. This Hawaiian shark god can take on the form of any fish, and he’ll rescue a stranded ship in exchange for some deliciously intoxicating beverages. Now, that’s my kind of shark god.
5. Gong Gong
Gong Gong is a sea monster water god in Chinese mythology. One time he threw a temper tantrum after losing a fight and smashed his head into a mountain, thus tilting the sky and flooding the Earth. That’s so badass, it totally makes up for the whole “temper tantrum” thing.
Neptune, the Roman god of freshwater, the sea, and, um, horses for some reason, was so badass he got to carry a trident. And, his followers sacrificed bulls to him. BULLS. Too bad he’s basically just a knockoff of the Greeks’ Poseidon.
Poseidon gets all of Neptune’s points and then some for being the original. Sure, some of his vengeful moves were more petty than badass — delaying Odysseus’ return because he killed the god’s cyclops son, cursing Minos’ wife to copulate with a bull because the Cretian king wouldn’t sacrifice the beast — but he’s Poseidon! If you want to challenge him to a seaside cage match, be our guest.
This ocean goddess, revered by the Sumerians, Assyrians, Akkadians, and Babylonians, was so badass that she could give birth to sea serpents and merpeople. She even tried to kill her own offspring, until they turned against her and went H.A.M. on her entire being, and from her body sprang basically the entire physical world. Tiamat died as she lived: kicking ass and taking names.
An undersea deity worshipped by the Nuxalk and Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw people of modern-day British Columbia, Kumugwe can see into the future, heal the sick and command seals. Plus, his home — which he guards with an octopus! — is made out of actual, living, breathing sea lions. Oh, and he casually snacks on eyeballs, so BOW. DOWN.