Document belonging to the Greek Mythology Link, a web site created by Carlos Parada, author of Genealogical Guide to Greek Mythology
Characters • Places • TopicsImagesBibliographyPDF Editions
AboutCopyright © 1997 Carlos Parada and Maicar Förlag.


Gaia. 8838: Tellus. Roman relief, 13-9 BC. Marble, Ara Pacis. Royal Cast Collection, Copenhagen.

Gaia is the Earth. She is the offspring of Chaos or comes into being after it.

Gaia appears

The first to exist was Chaos, a void of unexplained origin. After Chaos, Gaia appeared, whether she was the offspring of Chaos or not, and also Eros, through whom the whole Cosmos came to be; for the world is not created, but procreated through Love and intercourse.


Then Gaia bore Uranus (Sky, or Heaven), as an equal to herself; for as the gods have in her a sure standing-place, they have, in Uranus, a secure resting place. This is why Heaven and Earth, though being different, are equal. And after Uranus, she brought forth, by herself, the MOUNTAINS and Pontus, the sea. But she gave birth to Uranus, so that he would cover her all over; so laying with him, she bore the TITANS, the CYCLOPES, and the HECATONCHEIRES. However, Uranus, hating his offspring, hid some or many of them away in a secret place on earth, or as some say, cast them into Tartarus, which is a gloomy place in the Underworld as far from Earth as Earth is from Heaven.

Gaia behind Cronos' coup d'état

And since it seems to be written in the fate of stern tyrants that they will be conspired against, Gaia, grieved at the destruction of her children, and being strained and stretched inside her (where the children were hidden), addressed the TITANS, persuading them to attack their father. For this purpose she gave Cronos an adamantine sickle, with which he castrated his father, and dethroned him. When the TITANS had deposed Uranus, the latter prophesied that vengeance for the terrible deed they had performed would come afterwards. The TITANS then liberated their brethren, who had been hurled down to Tartarus, and Cronos became the second ruler of the universe. Being in power, however, Cronos started seeing things much as his predecessor, and soon he again bound and shut the CYCLOPES and the HECATONCHEIRES up in the same dark depth where they had been before. And since both Gaia and Uranus foretold to their son that he would dethroned by his own son, Cronos began to swallow his offspring at birth in an attempt to escape fate.

Gaia foretells victory to Zeus

Such attempts are vain, though, and Rhea 1 (Cronos' wife), tired of being so often pregnant yet never a mother, deceived her husband by wrapping a stone in clothes, and giving it to him to swallow, as if it were the newborn child Zeus. When Zeus grew up, he and the gods waged war against the TITANS for ten years. It was then that Gaia prophesied victory to Zeus if he would have the CYCLOPES and the HECATONCHEIRES on his side. And he, taking them as allies, dethroned Cronos and shut the TITANS up in Tartarus, appointing the HECATONCHEIRES as their guards.

Gaia angry at the gods

Gaia: the great mother takes the body. "Den stora modern". Grass sculpture by Lena Lervik, Lund, Sweden 1998.

Yet some have said that Gaia was vexed because the OLYMPIANS had defeated the TITANS, and that this was the reason why she gave birth to GIANTS who then attacked heaven (see also Gigantomachy). They add that when the OLYMPIANS had overcome the GIANTS, Gaia, still more enraged, had intercourse with Tartarus, giving birth to Typhon 1. This was a hybrid creature, between man and beast, who in size and strength surpassed all her offspring (for the attack of Typhon 1 against heaven see Zeus). The gods can cope with such beasts. But when Orion boasted that he was able to kill anything the earth produced, Gaia, angered at this boast, sent the Scorpion (now among the CONSTELLATIONS) that killed him.

Prophetic powers

According to a certain Pythian priestess, the first to have prophetic powers was Gaia, who appointed Daphnis 4, a Mountain Nymph (Oread), as prophetess at Delphi. It is said that Gaia was succeeded at this oracle by Themis, and the latter by the Titaness Phoebe 1, who finally ceded her seat to Phoebus Apollo, surnamed after her. It was Gaia (along with Uranus) who told Zeus that Metis 1, after giving birth to the maiden who was in her womb, would bear a son fated to become the lord of heaven. The god then, listening to that prophetic warning, swallowed the goddess with whom he had intercourse so that, having her in his belly, she should advise him in good and evil plans.

Zeus takes the soul of man and Gaia his body

Concerning the soul and body of man, this has been told: Cura fashioned a man out of mud, and asked Zeus to give him life. The god granted his request, but forbade her to call man after herself, as she wished. When Zeus wanted to call him after himself, however, Gaia said it should have hers, since it was made out of her own body. Cronos then decided the dispute, letting Zeus take the soul, and Gaia the body, after death. Cura, since she first fashioned him, would possess him as long as he lived. His name would be Homo, since he was made from humus.


Parentage (two versions)




Chaos.- (alone)


Aether & Hemera


Some authors, when reading Hesiod's Theogony, have understood that Gaia came after Chaos in the sense that Gaia is the offspring of Chaos, whereas others think she just appeared after Chaos.
Aether is the Upper Sky; Hemera is Day.



The land of Anactoria, later called Miletus in Asia Minor, was called after Anax. He had a son Asterius 4, who became ruler of Anactoria.


Antaeus 1

Antaeus 1, sometimes called son of Poseidon, ruled in Libya and used to kill strangers by forcing them to wrestle. He became stronger when he touched the Earth, so Heracles 1 killed him while holding him in the air.


Argus 1



Arion 1

This is the horse given by Heracles 1 to Adrastus 1, who survived the war against Thebes, saved by his horse.


Caerus 1

One of the horses of Adrastus 1. Was one of the horses of Amphiaraus in the chariot-race at Opheltes 1's funeral games (see also SEVEN AGAINS THEBES).


Cecrops 1

Cecrops 1 had a body compounded of man and serpent, was the first king of Attica and under his kingdom the country was adjudged to Athena. Some have said Cecrops 1 was AUTOCHTHONOUS (see also Athens and Envy).


Ceto 1

Pontus is the sea and Ceto 1 a divinity of the sea. Ceto 1 is the mother of the GORGONS (see Medusa 1), the GRAEAE (see Perseus 1), of Ladon 4, the guardian snake with one hundred heads who kept the golden apples of the HESPERIDES, and of Echidna, the monster slain by Argus 1.

Eurybia 1

Eurybia 1 married the Titan Crius 1 and had by him Astraeus 1, Pallas 1 and Perses 1.


Nereus is a sea-deity who can turn himself into all kinds of shapes and who dwells in the Aegean Sea. He is the father of the NEREIDS.


Phorcus is a sea-deity. Some say he was the offspring of Oceanus & Tethys.

Thaumas 1

Thaumas 1 consorted with the Oceanid Electra 1 and had by her the HARPIES (see BESTIARY), Iris 1 and Hydaspes 1, an Indian river god. Some have said that Thaumas 1 had the HARPIES by Ozomene.


Creusa 3

Creusa 3 was a Naiad. She consorted with the river god Peneus, and had by him Hypseus 1, king of the LAPITHS, and Stilbe, mother of Lapithus 1 and Centaurus by Apollo.






Uranus is Sky, son and husband of Gaia.








Dragon 3

This is the dragon that guarded the Golden Fleece. It was lulled to sleep by Medea and killed by Jason, Captain of the ARGONAUTS.



For Echidna see BESTIARY, and for Tartarus see Underworld.


For Tartarus see Underworld and for Typhon see Zeus.


Erichthonius 2

For Erichthonius 2 see Athens.

Uranus' Blood




MELIADS are called the Nymphs of the ash-trees.


Hyllus 2

After Hyllus 2 a river in Lydia in Asia Minor, was called.



Leader of the Boeotians against Troy. He was wounded by Hector 1, and was the only one among the Boeotian chiefs to return home from Troy. He is also called son of Alector 2, or son of Lacritus and Cleobule 2, or son of Alectryon.



Manes was the first king of Lydia in Asia Minor. He married the Oceanid Callirrhoe 1 and had by her sons Atys 3 and Cotys 2. Atys 3 became king after his father (who some said was Cotys 2) and is said to be a descendant of Heracles 1 and Omphale.









Pheme is Rumour, a messenger of Zeus, a swift-footed creature, a winged angel of ruin with sleepless eyes and countless tongues and ears. The peaceful world of heaven was forbidden for her, whose voice is ever sounding both good and evil and spreading panic. In wrath she dwells beneath the clouds, a spirit neither of hell nor of heaven, and troubles the earth.



Father of Celaenus 1, father of Caucon 2, the man who brought the rites of the Great Goddesses from Eleusis to Messenia under the reign of Polycaon 1 and Messene.



Pontus is the Sea, son and mate of Gaia.



Python is the dragon that guarded Themis' oracle at Delphi [see also Leto].



This is the scorpion that was sent by Gaia or Artemis to kill Orion. He was put in the sky among the stars by Zeus.



Tityus, who some call son of Zeus & Elare, is known for having attempted to rape Leto. He was killed by her sweet children Apollo and Artemis, and is now being punished in the Underworld where vultures eat his heart os his liver.

About Elare it is said that Zeus hid her under the earth for fear of Hera's jealousy.

Tityus' daughter Europe 2 had by Poseidon a son Euphemus 1, who joined the ARGONAUTS. He received a magical clod from Triton (see BESTIARY) and threw it into the sea, following a dream, and therefrom rose an island, Calliste (Thera), where his descendants, led by Theras, came.







The GIANTS are the offspring either of Uranus & Gaia, or of Uranus' Blood: Agrius 2, Alcyoneus 1, Clytius 6, Enceladus 2, Ephialtes 1, Eurytus 7, Gration, Hippolytus 3, Mimas 1, Pallas 4, Polybotes, Porphyrion 1, Thoas 5.
GIANTS, by herself: Alpus, Chthonius 4, Damasen, Peloreus, Typhoeus 2.

Genealogical Charts

Names in this table: Aphrodite, Ceto 1, CYCLOPES, ERINYES, Eurybia 1, Gaia, GIANTS, HECATONCHEIRES, MELIAD NYMPHS, MOUNTAINS, Nereus, Phorcus, Pontus, Tartarus, Thaumas 1, TITANS, Typhon, Uranus.

Related sections

Aes.Supp.306; Apd.1.1.1-4, 1.2.1-7, 1.6.1-2, 2.5.11; Arg.2.1209; DH.1.27.1-2; Dio.4.7.2, 5.65.1; Eur.IA.259; Hes.The.116ff., 131-3, 140, 149, 183ff., 233, 237-8, 713ff., 822; Hyg.Ast.2.26; Hyg.Fab.48, 140, 151, 220; Hyg.Pre; Lib.Met.6; Nonn.1.155, 2.341, 2.620, 4.331, 4.338, 13.99, 25.238, 25.486, 45.174, 48.10ff., 48.22, 48.39, 48.77; Ov.Met.1.438ff.; Pau.1.2.6, 1.14.2-3, 1.35.6-8, 4.1.5, 8.25.9, 9.29.4; Pin.Pyth.9.16; TIT.1; Stat.Theb.1.563; Vir.Aen.4.173ff.