ATA Shorts: Gaia

It is widely acknowledged that Gaia, also known as Gaea or Ge, is the oldest of all the gods in the Greek pantheon. Gaia is the mother of all life and the sole source of nourishment for all living things, making her the pillar of human civilization and prosperity. According to Homer, a portion of Gaia’s power was bestowed upon each goddess, establishing her status in mythology as an omnipotent primordial being.

Because of her importance in the delicate cycle of life, Gaia was honored in cults throughout the Greek world. Her powers extended to the realm of prophecy, indicating her connection with the oracles.

As for her origins, Hesiod’s Theogony offers the earliest known account. According to Hesiod, Gaia was born from the great void Chaos; understanding her own fragility, Gaia bore Uranus, the heavens, to surround and protect her. Then, she produced the mountains ‘Ourea’ and the sea ‘Pontus’ to shape her.

Together, Gaia and Uranus became the parents of the Twelve Titans; Oceanus, Coeus, Hyperion, Iapetus, Rhea, Themis, Mnemosyne, Pheobe, Tethys, and Cronus. Her youngest child, Cronus, would later become the king of the gods before being usurped by his son, Zeus. You can read more about this in last week’s post, where we covered the mythology of Uranus.

To the contemporary reader, Gaia symbolizes the innate connection between matriarchal femininity and the nourishment of life.

Lana x

#GreekMythology#Mythology#History#Antiquity#Classics#AncientHistory#AncientGreece#Hesiod#Archaeology