In Greek mythology, the goddess Gaia represented the earth. Also called Gaea or Ge by the Greeks and Terra or Tellus by the Romans, she was a maternal figure who gave birth to many other creatures and deities. Gaia was the child of Chaos, an early deity who produced the gods of the underworld, night, darkness, and love. Gaia gave birth to Uranus, who represented the sky; Pontus, the sea; and Oure, the mountains.

Gaia had numerous other children who appear in a variety of myths. She mated with her son Uranus to create gods, including the Titans, and giants such as the Cyclopes. She was also the mother of Aphrodite*, Echo, the Furies, and the serpent that guarded the Golden Fleece. When Gaia's son, the Titan Cronus*, had children, Gaia and Uranus warned him that one of his offspring would challenge and defeat him. Cronus therefore swallowed each child at birth. However, his wife, Rhea, managed to trick him and save the youngest one, Zeus*.

Gaia is mentioned in Virgil's Aeneid * and the Theogony * by the Greek poet Hesiod. She was widely worshiped at temples in Greece, including the shrine of the oracle at Delphi*. The Greeks also took oaths in Gaia's name and believed that she would punish them if they failed to keep their word.

See also Aeneid, the ; Cyclopes ; Delphi ; Echo ; Furies ; Golden Fleece ; Titans ; Uranus ; Venus ; Zeus .

deity god or goddess

underworld land of the dead


Titan one of a family of giants who ruled the earth until overthrown by the Greek gods of Olympus

oracle priest or priestess or other creature through whom a god is believed to speak; also the location (such as a shrine) where such words are spoken

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