Gaia (mythology)

In Greek mythology, Gaia (Ancient Greek Γαῖα) was the personification of the Earth, one of the Greek primordial deities. Gaia was the great mother of all: the primal Greek Mother Goddess; creator and giver of birth to the Earth and all the Universe; the heavenly gods, the Titans, and the Giants were born to her. The gods reigning over their classical pantheon were born from her union with Uranus (the sky), while the sea-gods were born from her union with Pontus (the sea). Her equivalent in the Roman pantheon was Terra.

Feuerbach_Gaea

Primordial Goddess of the Earth Gaia, by Anselm Feuerbach (1875)

Hesiod

Hesiod’s Theogony tells how, after Chaos, “wide-bosomed” Gaia (Earth) arose to be the everlasting seat of the immortals who possess Olympus above, and the depths of Tartarus below (as some scholars interpret it). He then tells that Gaia brought forth her equal Uranus (or Ouranos in Ancient Greek) (Heaven, Sky) to “cover her on every side” and to be the abode of the gods. Gaia also bore the hills (ourea), and Pontus (Sea), “without sweet union of love” (i.e., with no father) Afterwards with Uranus, she gave birth to the Titans, as Hesiod tells it:

She lay with Heaven and bore deep-swirling Oceanus, Coeus and Crius and Hyperion and Iapetus, Theia and Rhea, Themis and Mnemosyne and gold-crowned Phoebe and lovely Tethys. After them was born Cronos the wily, youngest and most terrible of her children, and he hated his lusty sire.

According to Hesiod, Gaia conceived further offspring with Uranus (Ouranos), first the giant one-eyed Cyclopes: Brontes (“Thunder”), Steropes (“Lightning”) and Arges (“Bright”); then the Hecatonchires: Cottus, Briareos and Gyges, each with a hundred arms and fifty heads. As each of the Cyclopes and Hecatonchires were born, Uranus hid them in a secret place within Gaia, causing her great pain. So Gaia devised a plan. She created a grey flint (or adamantine) sickle. And Cronus used the sickle to castrate his father Uranus as he approached Gaia to have intercourse with her. From Uranus’ spilled blood, Gaia produced the Erinyes, the Giants and the Meliae (ash-tree nymphs). From the testicles of Uranus in the sea came forth Aphrodite.

By her son Pontus, Gaia bore the sea-deities Nereus, Thaumas, Phorcys, Ceto, and Eurybia.

Because Cronus had learned from Gaia and Uranus, that he was destined to be overthrown by his own child, Cronus swallowed each of the children born to him by his Titan sister Rhea. But when Rhea was pregnant with her youngest child Zeus, she sought help from Gaia and Uranus. And when Zeus was born Gaia took the child into her care, and in place of Zeus, Rhea gave Cronus a stone wrapped in swaddling-clothes, which he swallowed.

With Gaia’s advice Zeus defeated the Titans. But afterwards Gaia, in union with Tartarus, bore the youngest of her sons Typhon, who would be the last challenge to the authority of Zeus. Source Wikipedia.

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