I’m sure I must have mentioned at some point previously on this blog that I am a keen geocacher. What is a geocacher? Well, a geocacher is someone who engages in the activity of geocaching:
an outdoor recreational activity, in which participants use a Global Positioning System receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called “geocaches” or “caches”, at specific locations marked by coordinates all over the world.
Since returning to live in Plymouth I have taken the opportunity to find as many geocaches as possible, with the aim of stretching the legs, taking the dogs for a walk, and in engaging in what Hanson Mitchell once called ‘the undiscovered country of nearby’. And so, on one of these walks – in Plymouth’s Central Park – I came across the face of the Roman god of the sea: Neptune.
In mythology, Neptune was one of three brothers; the other two being Jupiter and Pluto. Neptune was seen as ‘ill-tempered and violent’, therefore he was given the task of watching over the turbulent and erratic sea. He seems to have been a rather energetic god, desiring sex with an array of women: goddesses and mortals. The website Mythology.net explains that his lust went to extreme lengths:
He even craved the attentions of his own sister Ceres, who hid from him by turning herself into a mare. Neptune transformed himself into a horse to rape her. This resulted in the birth of a daughter as well as a black mare.
I read up on this information after returning from the walk. But what I could not find was the origin of the head of Neptune being placed in Plymouth Central Park. Of course, there is a link between the city of Plymouth and the sea, and this could explain the appearance of Neptune. But this doesn’t provide me the backstory as to who placed it in the park and the central reason as to why this was the case.
I passed Neptune again earlier today whilst completing a morning Sunday walk. The lack of information on the genesis of this face seems to taunt me every time I walk by it. Perhaps I need to do a little more digging to reveal the answers.