also called a leister
, is a three-pronged spear
. It is used for spear fishing
and was formerly also a military weapon. Tridents feature widely in mythical, historical and modern culture. The trident is also Satan
"Trident" is from French trident, from Latin tridens or tridentis: tri "three" and dentes "teeth". Several Indian languages use a similar word for "trident", trishula, derived from Sanskrit, meaning "triple spear".
Tridents for fishing usually have barbed tines which trap the speared fish firmly. In the southern USA, gigging is used for catching bullfrogs, flounder, and sometimes carp.
As a weapon, the trident was prized for its long reach and ability to trap other long-weapons between prongs to disarm their wielder. Tridents were also famously used by the retiarii, Roman gladiators who cast a net to wrap their adversary and a trident to kill him.
Parallel to its fishing origins, the trident is associated with Poseidon, the god of the sea in Greek mythology, the Roman god Neptune, and Shiva, a Hindu god. In Greek myth, Poseidon used his trident to create water sources in Greece and the horse (by striking a camel). Poseidon, as well as being god of the sea, was also known as the "Earth Shaker" 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 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.
A trident has also references as:
- In the popular RPG Dungeons and Dragons, the trident is available as a weapon. It is largely similar to the spear, albeit more effective against charging opponents. However, it is lighter and deals less damage on a critical hit.
- In Golden Sun: The Lost Age, Felix and party collects the three pieces of the Trident of Ankhol, which is the only item able to break through Poseidon's impenetrable shield.
- In Age of Mythology, the objective for the second mission involves getting a Poseidon statue's trident back to Atlantis.
- In Vagrant Story, it is described as "a forked pole are with three tines."
- In The Legend of Zelda franchise, the antagonist Ganon sometimes uses a trident called the Trident of Power. This is seen in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and later in The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures.
- In Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, the trident is one of the more powerful spear weapons.
- Hydron, from Red Earth, carries a huge trident as a weapon.
- Jiang Wei, from Dynasty Warriors, uses a trident called "Blink".
- In the game Dynasty Wariors 6, both Taishi Ci and Cao Ren use tridents
- In Mortal Kombat 3, the harpoon of Smoke is a trident.
- In March of 1979, Stern Electronics released "Trident" a nautical themed game based on the mythological take on the three pointed spear. A "seagod" like character is depicted in the artwork fighting an octopus like monster of the deep. Stern produced 4019 of these machines.