Web Theoi
GAIA MOTHER NATURE
 
Greek Name Transliteration Roman Name Translation
Γαια Γη Gaia, Gaea, Gê Terra, Tellus Earth
OTHER GAIA PAGES
Gaia Introduction & Cosmic Myths
Gaia Elemental Earth and her Cult
GAIA was the goddess of the earth. This page describes her in her capacity as Mother Nature, the goddess progenitor of animals, plants and men. Further, the story of Orion, portrays her as the protector of animals, and the tales of Rape of Persephone, the Marriage of Hera, and the Metamorphoses of Nymphs, represent her as the inventress of new plant life.

HYMNS & INVOCATIONS TO GAIA ALL-MOTHERING EARTH

Homeric Hymn XXX to Gaea (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th - 4th B.C.) :
"To Gaia (Earth) the Mother of All. I will sing of well-founded Gaia (Earth), mother of all, eldest of all beings. She feeds all the creatures that are in the worlds, all that go upon the goodly land, and all that are in the paths of the seas, and all that fly: all these are fed of her store. Through you, O queen, men are blessed in their children and blessed in their harvests, and to you it belongs to give means of life to mortal men and to take it away. Happy is the man whom you delight to honour! He has all things abundantly: his fruitful land is laden with corn, his pastures are covered with cattle, and his house is filled with good things. Such men rule orderly in their cities of fair women: great riches and wealth follow them: their sons exult with everfresh delight, and their daughters in flower-laden bands play and skip merrily over the soft flowers of the field. Thus is it with those whom you honour O holy goddess (semne thea), bountiful spirit (aphthone daimon). Hail, Mother of the gods (theon mater), wife of starry Ouranos (Heaven); freely bestow upon me for this my song substance that cheers the heart!"

Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound 90 (trans. Weir Smyth) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"O universal mother Earth (panmêtôr gê) [Gaia]."

Plato, Cratylus 400d & 401e (trans. Fowler) (Greek philosopher C4th B.C.) :
"[Plato constructs philosophical etymologies for the names of the gods :]
Sokrates : Let us inquire what thought men had in giving them [the gods] their names . . . The first men who gave names [to the gods] were no ordinary persons, but high thinkers and great talkers . . . But why should you not tell of another kind of gods, such as sun, moon, stars, earth, ether, air, fire, water, the seasons, and the year? . . . Sokrates : The word (earth) shows the meaning better in the form gaia; for gaia is a correct word for 'mother,' as Homer says, for he uses gegaasin to mean gegenêsthai (be born)."

Philostratus the Elder, Imagines 1. 10 (trans. Fairbanks) (Greek rhetorician C3rd A.D.) :
"No doubt he is singing a hymn to Gê (Earth) because she, creator and mother of all things."

Orphic Hymn 26 to Ge (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
"To Gaia, Fumigation from every kind of Seed, except beans and aromatics. O mother Gaia, of Gods and men the source, endured with fertile, all-destroying force; all-parent, bounding, whose prolific powers produce a store of beauteous fruits and flowers. All-various maid, the immortal world’s strong base, eternal, blessed, crowned with every grace; from whose wide womb as from an endless root, fruits many-formed, mature, and grateful shoot. Deep-bosomed, blessed, pleased with grassy plains, sweet to the smell, and with prolific rains. All-flowery Daimon, centre of the world, around thy orb the beauteous stars are hurled with rapid whirl, eternal and divine, whose frames with matchless skill and wisdom shine. Come, blessed Goddess, listen to my prayer, and make increase of fruits thy constant care; with fertile seasons (horai) in thy train draw near, and with propitious mind thy suppliants hear."

Statius, Thebaid 8. 295 ff (trans. Mozley) (Roman epic C1st A.D.) :
"He [the mythical seer Theiodamas] straightway bids altars twain to be wreathed with living trees and well-grown turf, and on them, in honour of the goddess [Gaia], he flings countless flowers, her own bounty, and heaps of fruit and the new produce of the tireless year, and pouring untouched milk upon the altars he thus begins : `O eternal Createress of gods and men, who bringest into being rivers and forests and seeds of life throughout the world, the handiwork of Prometheus and the stones of Pyrrha, thou who first didst give nourishment and varied food to famished men, who dost encompass and bear up the sea; in thy power is the gentle race of cattle and the anger of wild beasts and the repose of birds; round thee, firm, steadfast strength of the unfailing universe, as thou hangest in the empty air the rapid frame of heaven and either chariot doth wheel, O middle of the world, unshared by the mighty brethren [Zeus, Poseidon and Haides in the division of the universe left the earth common to all gods]. Therefore art thou bountiful to so many races, so many lofty cities and peoples, while from above and from beneath thou art all-sufficient, and with no effort carriest thyself star-bearing Atlas who staggers under the weight of the celestial realm.'"


Gaea & Poseidon | Roman mosaic
Z16.3 GAIA,
POSEIDON
Gaea & the Carpi | Roman mosaic
Z16.5 GAIA,
KARPOI
Gaea, Demeter & the Carpi | Roman mosaic
Z16.2 GAIA,
KARPOI
 

GAIA & THE GENESIS OF GIANTS

In Greek mythology the giants were described as primitive, autochthonian men (i.e. autokhthon, "self-sprung from the earth"). The word Gigantes means "the earth born." They were often described as the ancestors of human tribes. Cosmic giants, such as the Kyklopes, Hekatonkheires and Typhoeus, were different. These were really primordial gods.

I) THE KYKLOPES & HEKATONKHEIRES

The three immortal one-eyed Kyklopes and hundred-handed, fifty-headed Hekatonkheires were brothers of the Titan-Gods.

For the MYTH of Gaia and her Kyklop and Hekatonkheir sons see:
Gaia & the Castration of Ouranos (previous page)

II) THE HEKA-GIGANTES Gigantes of Thrake (North of Greece)

The one hundred Giants who waged war on the gods were born fully grown and armed from Gaia the Earth.

For the MYTH of Gaia and the Heka-Gigante sons see:
Gaia & the War of the Gigantes (previous page)

III) TYPHOEUS Giant of Kilikia (Anatolia)

The monstrous Giant Typhoeus who wrestled Zeus for the throne of heaven was a son of Gaia and Tartaros (Hell).

For the MYTH of Gaia and her son Typhoeus:
Gaia & the War of the Gigantes (previous page)

IV) TITYOS Gigante of Phokis & Euboia (Central Greece)

Tityos was a giant who attempted to rape the goddess Leto and was promplty slain by her son Apollon.

Homer, Odyssey 11. 576 (trans. Shewring) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"Tityos, son of the mighty goddess Gaia (Earth); he lay on the ground, his bulk stretched out over nine roods."

Homer, Odyssey 7. 324 :
"Tityos son of Gaia (Earth)."

Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 1. 758 (trans. Rieu) (Greek epic C3rd B.C.) :
"Tityos was lady Elare’ son; but he was nursed and born by Mother Gaia (Earth)."

Virgil, Aeneid 6. 595 ff (trans. Day-Lewis) (Roman epic C1st B.C.) :
"Tityos too, the nursling of Tellus [Gaia the Earth] who mothers all, was to be seen [in Tartaros], his body pegged out over a full nine acres, a huge vulture with hooked beak gnawing for ever his inexhaustible liver."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 4. 331 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"The city of Tityos [in Phokis], where that bold son of Gaia (Earth) marching through the fair-leafy woods of Panopeus lifted the sacred robe of Leto and attempted violence."

For MORE information on this giant see TITYOS

V) ORION Gigante of Boiotia (Central Greece)

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 25 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Artemis slew Orion on Delos. He was said to be a Gigas (Giant) of massive proportions born of Ge (Earth)."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 195 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Jove [Zeus], Neptunus [Poseidon], and Mercurius [Hermes] came as guests to King Hyrieus in Thrace. Since they were received hospitably by him, they promised him whatever he should ask for. He asked for children. Mercurius [Hermes] brought out the hide of the bull which Hyrieus had sacrificed to them; they urinated in it, and buried it in the earth, and from it Orion was born."

Ovid, Fasti 5. 493 (trans.Boyle) (Roman poetry C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"[Zeus, Poseidon and Hermes] stood by the hide of the ox. I am ashamed to speak any further [the three gods urinated on the hide]. Then they blanketed the sodden spot with soil. It was now ten months, and a boy was born. Hyrieus calls him Urion from his mode of birth; then the first letter lost its ancient sound. He grew huge."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 13. 96 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"Hyria, that hospitable land which entertained the gods, named after hospitable Hyrieus; where that huge giant born of no marriage-bed, threefather Orion, sprang up from his mother earth, after a shower of piss from three gods grew in generative fruitfulness to the selfmade shape of a child, having impregnated a wrinkled of fruitful oxhide. Then a hollow of the earth was made midwife to earth’s unbegotten son."

For MORE information on this giant see ORION

VI) ARGOS PANOPTES Gigante of Argos (Southern Greece)

Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound 566 ff (trans. Weir Smyth) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"A gad-fly (oistros), phantom of earth-born (gêgenês) Argos ... that myriad-eyed herdsman."

Aeschylus, Suppliant Women 306 :
"Argos, offspring of Ge (Earth), whom Hermes killed."

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 2. 4 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Argos Panoptes . . . Akousilaus [Greek mythology C6th - 5th B.C.] says he was Earth-Born."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 20. 35 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"Hera’s guardian Argos, the cowkeeper, a son of Gaia (Earth) so fertile in evil."

For MORE information on this giant see ARGOS PANOPTES

VII) ANTAIOS Gigante of Libya (North Africa)

Antaios was a Libyan giant who was slain by Herakles.

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 2. 115 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Antaios was stronger when his feet were on the ground, which is why some said he was a son of Ge (Earth)."

Philostratus the Elder, Imagines 2. 21 (trans. Fairbanks) (Greek rhetorician C3rd A.D.) :
"[Ostensibly a description of an ancient Greek painting at Neapolis (Naples) :] This is Libya, and Antaios whom Ge (Earth) bore to do mischief to strangers by practicing, I fancy, a piratical style of wrestling. To the giant who undertook these contests and buried those he slew in the wrestling ground itself, as you see, the painting brings Herakles . . . As for Antaios, I think you must be afraid of him, my boy; for he resembles some wild beast, being almost as broad as he is tall . . . You see them engaged in wrestling, or rather at the conclusion of their bout, and Herakles at the moment of victory. But he lays his opponent low at a distance above the earth, for Ge (Earth) was helping Antaios in the struggle by arching herself up and heaving him up to his feet again whenever he was thrust down. So Herakles, at a loss how to deal with Ge (Earth), has caught Antaios by the middle just above the waist, where the ribs are, and set him upright on his thigh, still gripping his arms about him; then pressing his own fore-arm against the pit of Antaios’ stomach, now flabby and panting, he squeezes out his breath and slays him by forcing the points of his ribs into his liver. Doubtless you see Antaios groaning and looking to Ge (Earth), who does not help him, while Herakles is strong and smiles at his achievement."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 9. 183 (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"I [Herakles] uprooted fierce Antaeus from his mother’s [Gaia the Earth’s] nourishment."

For MORE information on this giant see ANTAIOS

VIII) LAISTRYGON Gigante of (Italia) ?

Hesiod, Catalogues of Women Frag 40A (sourced from the Oxyrhynchus Papyri) (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
"[The winged Boreades chased the Harpyiai all the way to Italy] about the steep Fawn mountain and rugged Aitna [Mt Etna of Sicily] to the isle of Ortygia and the people sprung from Laistrygon who was the son of wide-reigning Poseidon [and Gaia]."

For MORE information on this giant see the LAISTRYGONES

IX) GEGENEES Gigantes of Mysia (Anatolia)

Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 1. 901 ff (trans. Rieu) (Greek epic C3rd B.C.) :
"It [Bear Mountain on the Propontis] is inhabited by a fierce and lawless tribe of aborigines, who present an astounding spectacle to their neighbours. Each of these earthborn monsters is equipped with six great arms, two springing from his shoulders, and four below from his prodigious flanks."

For MORE information on these giants see the GEGENEES

X) HYLLOS Gigante of Lydia (Anatolia)

Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 35. 7 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"Now the corpse [buried in upper Lydia] is not less than ten cubits, but from their size one would never have thought it . . . the guides of the Lydians related the true story, that the corpse is that of Hyllos, as son of Ge (Earth), from whom the river is named."

For MORE information on this giant see HYLLOS

XI) ANAX Gigante of Lydia (Anatolia)

Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 35. 6 :
"Before the city of the Milesians [Miletos, Ionia-Lydia] is an island called Lade, and from it certain islets are detached. One of these they call the islet of Asterios, and say that Asterios was buried in it, and that Asterios was the son of Anax, and Anax the son of Ge (Earth). Now the corpse is not less than ten cubits [over 5 metres]."

For MORE information on this giant see ANAX

XII) DAMASEN Gigante of Lydia (Anatolia)

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 25. 452 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"Damasen [of Mysia], a gigantic son of Gaia (Earth), whom his mother once conceived and brought forth by herself. At his birth, Eris (Strife) was his nurse, spears his mother’s pap, carnage his bath, the corselet his swaddlings. Under the heavy weight of those long broad limbs, a warlike babe, he cast lances as a boy; touching the sky, from birth he shook a spear born with him."

For MORE information on this giant see DAMASEN

XIII) ALPOS Gigante of Sicily (Italia)

Nonus, Dionysiaca 25. 238 :
"Dionysos with his fleshcutting ivy shore through Alpos, that godfighting son of Gaia (Earth), Alpos with a hundred vipers for hair."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 45. 174 ff :
"The divine hand of Dionysos Giantslayer, who once beside the base of Tyrsenian Peloros [in Sicily] smashed Alpos, the son of Gaia (Earth) who fought against gods, battering with rocks and throwing hills."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 47. 626 :
"To whom [Dionysos] bold Alpos bent his knee, that son of Gaia (Earth) with huge body rising near the clouds."

For MORE information on this giant see ALPOS

XIV) SYKEUS Gigante of Kilikia (Anatolia)

Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae 78a (trans. Gullick) (Greek rhetorician C2nd to C3rd A.D.) :
"Androtion, in the Farmer’s Handbook, tells the story that Sykeus, one of the Titanes [or Gigantes], was pursued by Zeus and taken under the protection of his mother, Ge (Earth), and that she caused the plant [the fig-tree] to grow for her son’s pleasure; from him also the city of Sykea in Kilikia got its name."

For MORE information on this giant see SYKEUS

XV) AZEIOS Gigante of Arkadia (Southern Greece)

Anonymous (perhaps Pamprepius of Panopolis), Fragments (trans. Page, Vol. Select Papyri III, No. 140b) (Greek poetry C4th A.D.) :
"Khthon (Earth) [i.e. Gaia] teemed of old and bore a son Azeios, who grew to manhood amid the mighty battles of the Titanes."

For MORE information on this giant see AZEIOS


Gaea & the birth of Erichthonius | Greek vase painting
T1.6 GAIA,
BIRTH ERIKHTHONIOS
Gaea & the birth of Erichthonius | Greek vase painting
T1.2 GAIA,
BIRTH ERIKHTHONIOS
Gaea & the birth of Erichthonius | Greek vase painting
T1.7 GAIA,
BIRTH ERIKHTHONIOS
Gaea & the birth of Erichthonius | Greek vase painting
T1.3 GAIA,
BIRTH ERIKHTHONIOS

GAIA & THE GENESIS OF MAN 1 : PRIMAL KINGS

Similar to the Giants (above), autokhthonian (earth-born) kings were often described as the indigenous founders of the human tribes and kingdoms.

Greek Lyric V Anonymous, Fragments 985 (from Hippolytus, Refutation of all the Heresies) (trans. Campbell) :
"Ge (Earth), say the Greeks, was the first to produce man, having won that fine privilege, wishing to be mother not of senseless plants nor of unreasoning beasts but of a civilised, god-loving creature. But it is hard to discover, he says, whether Boiotian Alalkomeneus on the shore of the Kephissian lake was the first of men to appear, or if it was the Idaian Kouretes, divine race, or the Phrygian Korybantes that the sun first saw shooting up tree-like; or Arkadia gave birth to the pre-moon Pelasgian, or Eleusis to Dysaules, dweller in Rharia, or Lemnos to Kabeiros, fair offspring, in secret rites, or Pellene to Phlegraian Alkyoneus, eldest of the Gigantes. Libyans say that Iarbas was the first-born, rising from the dry plains to offer first-fruits of the sweet nut of Zeus. The Nile, he says, enriching the Egyptian mud and to this day generating living things, produces creatures made flesh by moist warmth. Assyrians say Oannes the fish-eater was born in their land, Chaldaeans Adam in theirs."

I) ERIKHTHONIOS First King of Attika (Southern Greece)

Homer, Iliad 5. 124 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"Erekhtheus, whom once Athene Zeus’ daughter tended after grain-giving Gaia (Earth) had born him, and established him to be in Athens in her own rich temple."

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3. 188 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"[Hephaistos] let himself become aroused by Athena, and started chasing her as she ran from him. When he caught up with her with much effort (for he was lame, he tried to enter her, but she . . . would not let him; so as he ejaculated, his semen fell on her leg. In revulsion Athena wiped it off with some wool, which she threw on the ground. And as she was fleeing and the semen fell to the earth (ge), Erikhthonios came into being. Athena reared Erikthonios, keeping it from the other gods."

Callimachus, Hecale Frag 1.2 (from Papyri) (trans. Trypanis) (Greek poet C3rd B.C.) :
"Pallas [Athena] laid him [Erikhthonios], the ancient seed of Hephaistos within the chest, until she set a rock in Akte (attika) for the sons of Kekrops; a birth mysterious and secret, whose lineage I neither knew nor learnt, but they themselves [the daughters of Kekrops] declared, according to report among the primeval birds, that Gaia (earth) bare him to Hephaistos."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 2. 6 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"Men say that Erikhthonios [the early king of Athens] had no human father, but his parents were Hephaistos and Ge."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 166 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"When he [Hephaistos] entered her [Athene’s] chamber, [she] defended her virginity with arms. As they struggled, some of his seed fell to earth, and from it a boy was born, the lower part of whose body was snake-formed. They named him Erichthonius, because eris in Greek nears strife, and khthon means earth. When Minerva was secretly caring for him, she gave him in a chest to Aglaurus, Pandrosus, and Herse, daughters of Cecrops, to guard."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Astronomica 2. 13 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Euripides gives the following account of his [Erikhthonios’] birth. Vulcanus [Hephaistos], inflamed by Minerva’s [Athene's] beauty, begged her to marry him, but was refused. She hid herself in the place called Hephaestius, on account of the love of Vulcanus. They say that Vulcanus, following her there, tired to force her, and when, full of passion he tried to embrace her, he was repulsed, and some of his seed fell to Terra (Earth) [Gaia]. Minerva overcome by shame, with her foot spread dust over it. From this the snake Erichthonius was born, who derives his name from the earth and their struggle. Minerva is said to have hidden him, like a cult-object, in a chest."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 13. 176 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"Crookshank [Hephaistos] unhappy in his wife spilt his seed in unnatural love [for Athene], and the hot foam of love fell of itself on the earth [Gaia who was impregnated and gave birth to Erekhtheus]."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 27. 316 ff :
"Hephaistos, lover of the Maiden [Athene], bridegroom of creative Gaia (Earth) [that is, Hephaistos loved Athene but accidentally impregnated Gaia instead], do you sit still and care nothing for Marathon, where the wedding torch of the unwedded goddess is shining? I will not remind you of the mystical sparks of your everburning light. Remember the casket in that childcherishing maiden chamber, in which was the son of Gaia, in which the Girl nursed your selfbegotten offspring with her manly breast."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 29. 334 ff :
"She [Athena] wants to evade Hephaistos, for she remembers the makeshift marriage on the nourishing soil, and would not nurse another son of Gaia (the Earth) on her manlike breast, a younger brother of Erekhtheus now the first is dead."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 41. 58 ff :
"The savage form of Erekhtheus, whom Hephaistos begat on a furrow of Gaia (Earth) with fertilizing dew."

II) KEKROPS First King of Attika (Southern Greece)

Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses 6 (trans. Celoria) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"There was once in Attika a certain Periphas, of earth-sprung stock (Autokhthon), who lived there even before Kekrops, son of Ge (Earth), had emerged."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 48 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Kings of the Athenians. Cecrops, son of Terra [Gaea]."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 41. 58 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"Primeval [earth-born] Kekrops, who crawled and scratched the earth with snaky feet that spat poison as he moved, drakon below, but above the loins to head he seemed a man half made, strange in shape and of twyform flesh."

III) PALAIKHTHON King of Argos

Aeschylus, Suppliant Women 250 ff (trans. Smyth) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"I am Pelasgos, offspring of Palaikhthon, whom the earth () brought forth, and lord of this land; and after me, their king, is rightly named the race of the Pelasgoi, who harvest the land."

IV) TRIPTOLEMOS & DYSAULES Princes of Eleusis

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 32 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Pherecydes [poet C6th B.C.] says that he [Triptolemos of Eleusis] was born of Okeanos and Ge."

Greek Lyric V Anonymous, Fragments 985 (from Hippolytus, Refutation of all the Heresies) (trans. Campbell) :
"Ge (Earth), say the Greeks, was the first to produce man . . . But it is hard to discover . . . [who] was the first of men to appear . . . or Eleusis to Dysaules, dweller in Rharia."

For MORE information on these demi-gods see TRIPTOLEMOS and DYSAULES

V) EUENOR First King of Atlantis (Mythical Island)

Plato, Critias 113c (trans. Lamb) (Greek philosopher C4th B.C.) :
"In this mountain [at the centre of Atlantis] there dwelt one of the earth-born primeval men of that country, whose name was Euenor, and he had a wife named Leukippe, and they had an only daughter who was called Kleito [the mother by Poseidon of the kings of Atlantis]."


GAIA & THE GENESIS OF MAN 2 : TRIBES

Gaia was the mother of mankind: the tribes of man were mostly described as autochthonian (self-sprung from the earth). In the myth of Prometheus, the Titan moulds the first men out of clay. Later, after the destruction of these races in the Great Deluge, a new generation was born when the Thessalian king Deukalion cast "bones of his mother earth" (i.e. the rocks). Tribes in other parts of Greece and the rest of the world were also portrayed as born directly from their native soil.

Orphic Hymn 26 to Ge (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
"O mother Gaia, of Gods and men the source."

Statius, Thebaid 8. 295 (trans. Mozley) (Roman epic C1st A.D.) :
"O [Gaia] eternal Createress of gods and men, who bringest into being rivers and forests and seeds of life throughout the world, the handiwork of Prometheus and the stones of Pyrrha [the men born of earth's stones]."

I) THE GOLDEN RACE OF MAN (First born)

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 220 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"When Cura [Kore Persephone?] was crossing a certain river, she saw some clayey mud. She took it up thoughtfully and began to fashion a man. While she was pondering on what she had done, Jove came up; Cura asked him to give the image life, and Jove readily grant this. When Cura wanted to give it her name, Jove [Zeus] forbade, and said that his name should be given it. But while they were disputing about the name, Tellus [Gaia] arose and said that it should have her name, since she had given her own body. They took Saturn [Kronos] for judge; he seems to have decided for them : Jove [Zeus], since you gave him life . . . let her receive his body; since Cura [Kore] fashioned him, let her posses him as long as he lives, but since there is controversy about his name, let him be called homo, since he seems to be made from humus."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 41. 58 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"They [the Golden Race of men created by Phusis (Mother Nature) had not the form of primeval [serpent-footed] Kekrops . . . but now first appeared the golden crop of men [the Golden Race of Mankind] brought forth in the image of the gods, with the roots of their stock in the earth."

For MORE information on the creation of the first men from earth see :
PROMETHEUS and the DAIMONES KHRYSEOI

II) THE STONE-BORN Tribes of Greece

A race of men were born from the bones of mother Gaia the Earth - that is stones - cast over the shoulders of the survivors of the great Deluge, Deukalion and Pyrrha.

For MORE information on the casting of the bones of Earth see PROMETHEUS

III) THE SPARTOI Tribe of Thebes, Boiotia (Central Greece)

A tribe of men who grew from the Gaia the earth fully-grown when she was sown with the teeth of a Drakon.

Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes 412 ff (trans. Weir Smyth) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"His race springs from the Spartoi [men sown ], from one of those whom Ares spared, and so Melanippos is truly born of our land ... [the gods] sends this man forth to keep the enemy spear from the mother [the Earth] that gave him birth." - Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes 412

Euripides, Iphigenia at Aulis 259 (trans. Vellacott) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"Their [the Theban forces heading to Troy] commander was the earth-born Leitos [presumably meaning a descendant of the Spartoi]."

For MORE information on this earth-born tribe see the SPARTOI

IV) THE THRAKOI Tribes of Thrake (North of Greece)

Ovid, Metamorphoses 1. 156 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"Gigantes, it’s said, to win the gods’ domain, mountain on mountain reared and reached the stars. Then the Pater Omnipotens (Almighty Father) hurled his bolt and shattered great Olympus and struck down high Pelion piled on Ossa. There they lay, grim broken bodies crushed in huge collapse, and Terra (Earth) [Gaia], drenched in her children’s weltering blood, gave life to that warm gore; and to preserve memorial of her sons refashioned it in human form [another Race of Man]. But that new stock no less despised the gods and relished cruelty, bloodshed and outrage--born beyond doubt of blood."

V) THE LIBYS Tribes of Libya (North Africa)

Hesiod, Catalogues of Women Fragment 40A (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
"The lands of the Massagetai and of the proud Half-Dog men (Hemikunoi), of the Underground-folk (Katoudaioi) and of the feeble Pygmies (Pygmaioi); and to the tribes of the boundless Black-skins (Melanokhrotoi) and the Libyans. Huge Gaia bare these to Epaphos . . . Aithiopes and Libys and mare-milking Skythes. For verily Epaphos was the child of the almightly Son of Kronos, and from him sprang the dark Africans (Libys), and high-souled Ethiopians (Aithiopes), and the Underground-folk (Katoudaioi) and feeble Pygmies (Pygmaioi). All these are the offspring of the lord, the Loud-thunderer [Zeus]. Round about all of these the Sons of Boreas sped in darting flight . . . of the well-horsed Hyperboreioi - whom Ge the all-nourishing bare off by the tumbling streams of deep-flowing Eridanos . . . of amber, feeding her wide-scattered offspring."

VI) THE INDOI Tribes of India (South Asia)

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 22. 274 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"As they [the Indians attacked by Dionysos’ troops] fell and fell, Gaia (Earth) darkened with pouring streams of blood lamented her sons [the Indian race], and cried with a torrent of words--`[Aiakos] Son of Zeus, beneficent butcher--for you are lord or the fruitbearing rain and the deluge of blood . . . ' So cried Gaia mother of life."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 36. 160 :
"The Unconquerable Indians born of Ge the Earth."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 34. 182 ff :
"Morrehus [the Indian chief] was not like men of this earth, but he resembled the national strength of the earthborn Indians in highnecked body and gigantic limbs; he had the earthborn breed which towering Typhon had."


GAIA NURSE & PROTECTRESS OF THE YOUNG

Gaia was titled Kourotrophos (Nurse of the Young) and appears in several myths in this guise.

Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes 16 ff (trans. Weir Smyth) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"You [defenders of a town in war] must aid, too, your children, and Mother Ge (Earth), your beloved nurse. For welcoming all the distress of your childhood, when you were young and crept upon her kind soil, she raised you to inhabit her and bear the shield, and to prove yourselves faithful in this time of need."

I) NURSING OF ZEUS

Hesiod, Theogony 470 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
"Him [Zeus] did vast Gaia (Earth) receive from Rhea in wide Krete to nourish and to bring up.Thither came Gaia carrying him swiftly through the black night to Lyktos first, and took him in her arms and hid him in a remote cave beneath the secret places of the holy earth on thick-wooded Mount Aigaion."

For the complete MYTH see Gaia & the Titanes

II) NURSING OF ARISTAIOS

Pindar, Pythian Ode 9 ant 3 (trans. Conway) (Greek lyric C5th B.C.) :
"There shall she [Kyrene to Apollon] bear a son [Aristaios], whom glorious Hermes will take from his fond mother’s breast, and carry to the enthroned Horai (Seasons) and Mother Gaia (Earth); and they will gently nurse the babe upon their knees, and on his lips distil ambrosia and nectar, and shall ordain him an immortal being, a Zeus or holy Apollon, a joy to men who love him."

For MORE information on this god see ARISTAIOS

III) NURSING OF NYKTIMOS

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 3. 99 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"[Zeus] struck Lykaon and his sons with thunderbolts. Only the youngest [the infant Nyktimos], was spared, for Ge (Earth) succeeded in grabbing Zeus by his right hand and quieting his rage."


Gaea & the Carpi | Roman mosaic
Z16.4 GAIA,
KARPOI, AION
Gaea, Aeon & the Carpi | Roman mosaic
Z15.2 GAIA,
AION, KARPOI
   

GAIA & THE GENESIS OF ANIMALS

Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 4. 673 ff (trans. Rieu) (Greek epic C3rd B.C.) :
"A number of creatures whose ill-assorted limbs declared them to be neither man nor beast had gathered round her [Kirke the witch] like a great flock of sheep following their shepherd from the fold, Nondescript monsters such as these, fitted with miscellaneous limbs, were once produced spontaneously by Ge (Earth) out of the primeval mud, when she had not yet solidified under a rainless sky and was deriving no moisture from the blazing sun. But Khronos (Time), combining this with that, brought the animal creation into order."

Greek Lyric V Anonymous, Fragments 985 (from Hippolytus, Refutation of all the Heresies) (trans. Campbell) (Greek lyric B.C.) :
"Ge (Earth), say the Greeks, was the first to produce man, having won that fine privilege, wishing to be mother not [only] of senseless plants nor of unreasoning beasts."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 1. 416 (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"All other forms of life Tellus (the Earth) [Gaia] brought forth [after the earth was devastated by the Great Deluge], in diverse species, of her own accord, when the sun’s radiance warmed the pristine moisture and slime and oozy marshlands swelled with heat, and in that pregnant soil the seeds of things, nourished as in a mother’s womb, gained life and grew and gradually assumed a shape . . . when heat and moisture blend in balance, they conceive; these two, these, are the origin of everything. Though fire and water fight, humidity and warmth create all things; that harmony, so inharmonious, suit’s the springs of life. Thus when the earth, deep-coated with the slime of the late deluge, glowed again beneath the warm caresses of the shining sun, she brought forth countless species, some restored in ancient forms, some fashioned weird and new. When Tellus (the Earth) [Gaia] deep-coated with the slime of the late deluge, glowed again beneath the warm caresses of the shining sun, she brought forth countless species, some restored in ancient forms, some fashioned weird and new. Indeed Tellus (the Earth), against her will, produced a Serpens (Serpent) never known before, the huge Python, a terror to men's new-made tribes, so far it sprawled across the mountainside."

For a MYTH of Gaia as the protector of animals see Gaia Wrath: Orion (this page)


GAIA WRATH : ORION

When giant hunter Orion threatened to slay all the beasts of the earth, Gaia produced a scorpion to destroy him.

The Hesiodic Astronomy, Fragment 4 (from Pseudo-Eratosthenes, Catast. fr. xxxii) (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"Orion went away to Krete and spent his time hunting in company with Artemis and Leto. It seems that he threatened to kill every beast there was on earth, whereupon, in her anger, Ge (Earth) sent up against him a scorpion of very great size by which he was stung and so perished."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Astronomica 2. 26 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Scorpion . . . Orion since he used to hunt, and felt confident that he was most skilled of all in that pursuit, said even to Diana [Artemis] and Latona [Leto] that he was able to kill anything the produced. Terra [Gaia], angered at this, sent the scorpion which is said to have killed him."

Ovid, Fasti 5. 539 (trans.Boyle) (Roman poetry C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"[Artemis] made him [Orion] her companion; he guarded the goddess and he served her. Imprudent words incite the anger of gods : `There is no beast,’ he said, `I cannot beat.’ Tellus [Gaia the Earth] unleashed a scorpion. Its urge was to stab the goddess of twins with its hooked stingers. Orion blocked it [and died]. Latona [Leto] joined him to the bright stars, and said, `Receive your reward for service."

For MORE information on this giant see ORION


GAIA MOTHER OF MONSTERS & MYTHICAL BEASTS

Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound 585 ff (trans. Weir Smyth) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"Many are the horrors, dread and appalling, bred of earth (), and the arms of the deep teem with hateful monsters."

Aeschylus, Suppliant Women 260 ff :
"The ground where we stand [Argos] is Apian [Peloponesian] land itself, and has borne that name since antiquity in honor of a healer. For Apis, seer and healer, the son of Apollon, came from Naupaktos on the farther shore and purified this land of monsters deadly to man, which Earth (gaia), defiled by the pollution of bloody deeds of old, caused to spring up--plagues charged with wrath, an ominous colony of swarming serpents (drakonthomilos). Of these plagues Apis worked the cure by sorcery and spells to the content of the Argive land."

I) EKHIDNA Drakaina of Kilikia (Anatolia) or Argos (Southern Greece)

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 2. 4 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Ekhidna . . . she was a daughter of Tartaros and Ge (Earth), who would kidnap travellers passing by."

For MORE information on this she-dragon see EKHIDNA

II) PYTHON Drakaina of Phokis (Central Greece)

Pseudo-Hyginus, Preface (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"From Terra [Gaia] [was born] : Python a divine snake."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 140 :
"Python, offspring of Terra [Gaia], was a huge Draco who, before the time of Apollo, used to give oracular responses on Mount Parnassus."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 1. 434 (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"When Tellus (the Earth) [Gaia] deep-coated with the slime of the late deluge, glowed again beneath the warm caresses of the shining sun, she brought forth countless species, some restored in ancient forms, some fashioned weird and new. Indeed Tellus (the Earth), against her will, produced a Serpens (Serpent) never known before, the huge Python, a terror to men's new-made tribes, so far it sprawled across the mountainside."

For MORE information on this dragon see DRAKON PYTHON

III) DRAKON KHOLKIKOS Drakon of Kholkhis (Eastern Black Sea)

Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 2. 1206 ff (trans. Rieu) (Greek epic C3rd B.C.) :
"[The golden fleece] guarded as it is from every side by such a serpent, a deathless and unsleeping beast, offspring of Gaia herself. She brought him forth on the slopes of Kaukasos by the rock of Typhaon. It was there, they say, that Typhaon, when he had offered violence to Zeus and been struck by his thunder-bolt, dropped warm blood from his head."

For MORE information on this dragon see DRAKON KHOLKIKOS

IV) OPHIOTAUROS Bull-Drakon of Styx

Ovid, Fasti 3. 793 (trans.Boyle) (Roman poetry C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"There was a shocking monster born of Mother Terra (Earth) [Gaia], a bull, whose back half was a serpent. Roaring Styx [as an ally of Zeus] imprisoned it, warned by the three Parcae [Moirai the Fates], in a black grove with a triple wall. Whoever fed the bull’s guts to consuming flames was destined to defeat the eternal gods."

For MORE information on this monster see OPHIOTAUROS

V) DRAKON NEMEIOS Drakon of Nemea (Southern Greece)

Statius, Thebaid 5. 505 (trans. Mozley) (Roman epic C1st A.D.) :
"An earth-born Serpent (serpens terrigena), the accursed terror of the Achaean grove, arises on the mead [the grove of Nemea], and loosely dragging his huge bulk now bears it forward, now leaves it behind him."

For MORE information on this dragon see DRAKON NEMEIOS

VI) AREION Immortal Horse

The Horse was usually said to have been born of the earth-goddess Demeter.

Pausanias, Description of Greece 8. 25. 5 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"Antimakhos says that Gaia was his [the immortal horse Areion] mother : `Adrastos, son of Talaus, son of Kretheeus, the very first of the Danai to drive his famous horses, swift Kairos and Areion of Thelpousa, whom near the grove of Apollon Ogkaios, Gaia herself sent up, a marvel for mortals to see.' But even though sprung from Gaia the horse might be of divine lineage and the colour of his hair might still be dark."

For MORE information on this immortal horse see AREION

VII) SKORPIOS Giant Scorpion

For the MYTH of the scorpion see Gaia Wrath: Orion (this page) and SKORPIOS


GAIA MOTHER OF THE EARTH'S PLANTS

Hesiod, Works & Days 547 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
"At dawn a fruitful mist is spread over the earth from starry heaven upon the fields of blessed men : it is drawn from the ever flowing rivers and is raised high above the earth by windstorm . . . Ge (Earth), the mother of all, bears again her various fruit."

Homer's Epigrams VII (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C8th or C7th B.C.) :
"Queen (potnia) Ge (Earth), all bounteous giver of honey-hearted wealth, how kindly, it seems, you are to some, and how intractable and rough for those with whom you are angry."

Homeric Hymn 30 to Gaea (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th - 4th B.C.) :
"Gaia (Earth) the Mother of All . . . she feeds all the creatures that are in the worlds, all that go upon the goodly land, and all that are in the paths of the seas, and all that fly: all these are fed of her store. Through you, O queen, men are blessed in their children and blessed in their harvests, and to you it belongs to give means of life to mortal men and to take it away. Happy is the man whom you delight to honour! He has all things abundantly: his fruitful land is laden with corn, his pastures are covered with cattle."

Greek Lyric V Anonymous, Fragments 985 (from Hippolytus, Refutation of all the Heresies) (trans. Campbell) (Greek lyric B.C.) :
"Ge (Earth), say the Greeks, was the first to produce man, having won that fine privilege, wishing to be mother not [only] of senseless plants nor of unreasoning beasts."

Aeschylus, Libation Bearers 127 ff (trans. Weir Smyth) (Greek tragedy C5th B.C.) :
"Gaia (Earth) herself, who gives birth to all things, and having nurtured them receives their increase in turn."

Aeschylus, Fragment 25 Danaides (from Athenaeus, Deipnosophists xiii. 73. 600B) :
"The holy Heaven (ouranos) yearns to wound the Earth (khthon) [i.e. Gaia], and yearning layeth hold on the earth to join in wedlock; the rain, fallen from the amorous heaven, impregnates the earth, and it bringeth forth for mankind the food of flocks and herds and Demeter’s gifts [i.e. grain]; and from that moist marriage-rite the woods put on their bloom. Of all these things I [Aphrodite, goddess of procreation] am the cause."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 24. 3 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"[On the Akropolis, Athens] an image of Ge (Earth) beseeching Zeus to rain upon her; perhaps the Athenians themselves needed showers, or may be all the Greeks had been plagued with drought."

Pausanias, Description of Greece 10. 12. 10 :
"The Peleiades [priestesses of Dodona] are said to have been . . . the first women to chant these verses:-- ‘ . . . Ge (Earth) sends up the harvest, therefore sing the praise of Ge as Mater (Mother)."

Philostratus the Elder, Imagines 1. 17 (trans. Fairbanks) (Greek rhetorician C3rd A.D.) :
"[From a description of an ancient Greek painting depicting the race of Pelops for Hippodameia :] The mounds along the race-course mark the graves of the suitors by whose death Oinomaos postponed his daughter’s marriage, thirteen youths in all. But the earth () now causes flowers to spring up on their graves, that they too may share the semblance of being crowned on the occasion of Oinomaos’ punishment." [N.B. Gaia was probably personified in the painting.]

Philostratus the Elder, Imagines 2. 34 :
"
The Horai (Seasons), coming to earth in their own proper forms, with clasped hands are dancing the year through its course, I think, and Ge (the Earth) in her wisdom brings forth for them all the fruits of the year."

Orphic Hymn 26 to Ge (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.) :
"O mother Gaia (Earth) . . . all-parent, bounding, whose prolific powers produce a store of beauteous fruits and flowers. All-various maid, the immortal world’s strong base, eternal, blessed, crowned with every grace; from whose wide womb as from an endless root, fruits many-formed, mature, and grateful shoot. Deep-bosomed, blessed, pleased with grassy plains, sweet to the smell, and with prolific rains . . . make increase of fruits thy constant care; with fertile seasons (horai) in thy train draw near."

Anonymous (perhaps Pamprepius of Panopolis), Fragments (trans. Page, Vol. Select Papyri III, No. 140) (Greek poetry C4th A.D.) :
"There a bridal shower of Erotes (Love-Gods) in the guise of rain, pouring their wedding-gifts upon the couch of Mother Earth (gaiê), embraces the fertile furrow with hope of lucky ploughing . . . A hailstorm from the clouds, propitious harbinger of Eilithyeiê a goddess that brings rain to birth . . .
Earth (gaia) yielded the fruits of her teeming flanks, and committed her children to the sky and clouds."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 1. 102 ff (trans. Melville) (Roman epic C1st B.C. to C1st A.D.) :
"[During the Golden Age of Man] Tellus (Earth) [Gaia] willingly, untouched, not wounded yet by hoe or plough, gave all her bounteous store; men were content with nature’s food unforced, and gathered strawberries on the mountainside and cherries and the clutching bramble’s fruit, and acorns fallen from Jove’s [Zeus’] spreading tree."

Ovid, Metamorphoses 7. 196 :
"Thou, kindly Gaia (Earth), who dost for magic potent herbs provide."

Cicero, De Natura Deorum 2. 33 (trans. Rackham) (Roman rhetorician C1st B.C.) :
"If the plants fixed and rooted in the earth owe their life and vigour to nature’s art, surely Terra (Earth)[Gaia] herself must be sustained by the same power, inasmuch as when impregnated with seeds she brings forth from her womb all things in profusion, nourishes their roots in her bosom and causes them to grow, and herself in turn is nourished by the upper and outer elements. Her exhalations moreover give nourishment to the air, the ether and all the heavenly bodies."

Cicero, De Natura Deorum 3. 20 :
"If the name of Ceres [Demeter] is derived from her bearing fruit, as you said, Terra (the Earth) itself is a goddess (and so she is believed to be, for she is the same as the deity Tellus). But if Terra the Earth is divine, so also is the sea."

Statius, Thebaid 8. 295 (trans. Mozley) (Roman epic C1st A.D.) :
"[Gaia] O eternal Createress of gods and men, who bringest into being rivers and forests and seeds of life throughout the world . . . who first didst give nourishment and varied food to famished men."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 16. 270 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"Gaia (Earth) unfolded her teeming fragrance, and brought forth a plot of plants to do pleasure to Dionysos. Tangled poles of spreading vine lifted a wide covering laden with clusters of grapes, and shaded the bed with its leaves; a selfgrown arbour of vinery embowered the couch with its rich growth, and many a bunch of purple fruit swayed to and for above it, under the Kyprian’s breezes."

For more MYTHS of Gaia as the mother of plants see:
(1) Gaia & the Marriage of Zeus and Hera (this page)
(2) Gaia & the Marriage of Persephone (this page)
(3) Gaia & the Metamorphosis of Nymphs into Plants (this page)


GAIA & THE MARRIAGE OF ZEUS & HERA

I) THE GOLDEN APPLE-TREE OF HERA

Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 2. 114 (trans. Aldrich) (Greek mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"[The golden apples of the Hesperides] These apples were not, as some maintain, in Libya, but rather were with Atlas among the Hyperboreans. Ge (Earth) had given them to Zeus when he married Hera."

Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae 3. 83c (trans. Gullick) (Greek rhetorician C2nd to C3rd A.D.) :
"As for the so-called apples of the Hesperides, Asklepiades [C2nd A.D.], in the sixtienth book of his Egyptian History, says that Ge (Earth) brought them forth in honour of the nuptials, as it was called, of Zeus and Hera."

Pseudo-Hyginus, Astronomica 2. 3 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"Pherecydes [poet C6th B.C.] says that when Jupiter [Zeus] wed Juno [Hera], Terra [Gaia] came, bearing branches with golden applies, and Juno, in admiration, asked Terra to plant them in her gardens near distant Mount Atlas."

II) FLOWERY BRIDAL BED OF ZEUS & HERA

Homer, Iliad 14. 345 ff (trans. Lattimore) (Greek epic C8th B.C.) :
"The son of Kronos [Zeus] caught his wife [Hera] in his arms [on the peaks of Trojan Mount Ida]. There underneath them the divine earth (khthon) broke into young, fresh grass, and into dewy clover, crocus and hyacinth so thick and soft it held the hard ground deep away from them. There they lay down together and drew about them a golden wonderful cloud, and from it the glimmering dew descended."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 32. 76 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"Gaia (Earth) unfolded her teeming perfumes and crowned the marriage bed [of Zeus and Hera] with lovely flowers: there sprouted Kikilian saffron, there grew bindweed, and wrapt his male leaves about the female plant by his side, as though breathing desire, and himself a dainty mate in the world of flowers. So the double growth adorned the bed of the pair, covering Zeus with saffron and Hera his wife with bindweed; lovely iris leaping upon anemone portrayed by a meaning silence the sharp love of Zeus."


GAIA & THE RAPE OF PERSEPHONE

I) THE NARCISSUS OF PERSEPHONE

Homeric Hymn 2 to Demeter 5 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (Greek epic C7th - 4th B.C.) :
"The narcissus, which Gaia made to grow at the will of Zeus and to please the Host of Many [Hades] to be a snare for the bloom-like girl [Persephone] - a marvellous, radiant flower. It was a thing of awe whether for deathless gods or mortal men to see: from its root grew a hundred blooms and it smelled most sweetly, so that wide Ouranos (Heaven) above and Gaia (Earth) and Thalassa's (Sea) salt swell laughed for joy. And the girl was amazed and reached out with both hands to take the lovely toy: but the wide-pathed earth yawned there in the plain of Nysa, and the lord, Host of Many, with his immortal horses sprang out upon her."

Homeric Hymn 2 to Demeter 405 ff :
"[Persephone addresses her mother Demeter:] `The narcissus which the wide earth (Khthon) caused to grow yellow as a crocus. That I plucked in my joy; but the earth parted beneath, and there the strong lord [Haides], the Host of Many, sprang forth and in his golden chariot.'"


GAIA & THE BIRTH OF DIONYSUS

The vegetation god Dionysos was naturally associated with Gaia the Earth.

Philostratus the Elder, Imagines 1. 14 (trans. Fairbanks) (Greek rhetorician C3rd A.D.) :
"[From a description of a painting depicting the fiery birth of Dionysos :] Stalks of thyrsos spring up from the willing earth, so that some grow in the very fire. We must not be surprised if in honour of Dionysos the fire (pyros) is crowned by the earth (), for the earth will take part with the fire in the Bakkhic revel and will make it possible for the revelers to take wine from springs and to draw milk from clods of earth or from a rock as from living breasts." [N.B. In this painting the elements are all personified.]


GAIA & THE METAMORPHOSIS OF PEOPLE INTO PLANTS

I) TRANSFORMS DAPHNE INTO A LAUREL-TREE

Pseudo-Hyginus, Fabulae 203 (trans. Grant) (Roman mythographer C2nd A.D.) :
"When Apollo was pursuing the virgin Daphne, daughter of the river Peneus, she begged for protection from Terra (Earth) [Gaia], who received her, and changed her into a laurel tree. Apollo broke a branch from it and placed it on his head."

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 33. 210 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"Gaia (Earth) opened beside the wide mouth of a marsh and received the hunted girl [Daphne who was being pursued by Apollon] into her compassionate bosom . . . the god never caught Daphne when she was pursued, Apollon never ravished her . . . and [he] always blamed Gaia (Earth) for swallowing the girl before she knew marriage."

Daphne was sometimes represented as Gaia's oracular priestess at Delphoi,
see Gaia & the Oracle of Delphi (next page)
For MORE information on this Nymphe see DAPHNE

II) TRANSFORMS PITYS INTO A PINE-TREE

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 45. 257 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"Sing also of Pitys who hated marriage, who fled fast as the wind over the mountains to escape the unlawful wooing of Pan, and her fate - how she disappeared into the soil herself; put the blame of Ge (Earth)! [who transformed her into a pine tree] "

For MORE information on this Nymphe see PITYS

III) TRANSFORMS AMBROSIA INTO A VINE

Nonnus, Dionysiaca 20. 22 ff (trans. Rouse) (Greek epic C5th A.D.) :
"Saffronrobe Ambrosia fled the bold man [Lykougros] and prayed to Mother Gaia (Earth) to save her from Lykourgos. And Gaia, mother of all fruits, opened a gulf, and received Ambrosia the nurse of Bromios [Dionysos] alive in a loving embrace. The Nymphe disappeared and changed her shape to a plant."

IV) TRANSFORMS SYKEUS INTO A FIG-TREE

Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae 1. 78a (trans. Gullick) (Greek rhetorician C2nd to C3rd A.D.) :
"Sykeus, one of the Titanes [or Gigantes], was pursued by Zeus and taken under the protection of his mother, Ge (Earth), and that she caused the plant [the fig-tree] to grow for her son’s pleasure."

For MORE information on this giant see SYKEUS


Sources:

  • Homer, The Iliad - Greek Epic C8th B.C.
  • Homer, The Odyssey - Greek Epic C8th B.C.
  • Homer's Epigrams - Greek Epic C8th B.C.
  • Hesiod, Theogony - Greek Epic C8th-7th B.C.
  • Hesiod, Works & Days - Greek Epic C8th-7th B.C.
  • Hesiod, Catalogues of Women - Greek Epic C8th-7th B.C.
  • Hesiod, The Astronomy - Greek Epic C8th-7th B.C.
  • The Homeric Hymns - Greek Epic C8th-4th B.C.
  • Pindar, Odes - Greek Lyric C5th B.C.
  • Greek Lyric V Anonymous, Fragments - Greek Lyric B.C.
  • Aeschylus, Libation Bearers - Greek Tragedy C5th B.C.
  • Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound - Greek Tragedy C5th B.C.
  • Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes - Greek Tragedy C5th B.C.
  • Aeschylus, Suppliant Women - Greek Tragedy C5th B.C.
  • Aeschylus, Danaides Fragments - Greek Tragedy C5th B.C.
  • Euripides, Iphiginea at Aulis - Greek Tragedy C5th B.C.
  • Plato, Cratylus - Greek Philosophy C4th B.C.
  • Plato, Critias - Greek Philosophy C4th B.C.
  • Apollodorus, The Library - Greek Mythography C2nd A.D.
  • Apollonius Rhodius, The Argonautica - Greek Epic C3rd B.C.
  • Callimachus, Fragments - Greek C3rd B.C.
  • Pausanias, Description of Greece - Greek Trabelogue C2nd A.D.
  • Antoninus Liberalis, Metamorphoses - Greek Mythography C2nd A.D.
  • Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae - Greek Rhetoric C2nd-3rd A.D.
  • Philostratus the Elder, Imagines - Greek Art History C3rd A.D.
  • The Orphic Hymns - Greek Hymns C3rd B.C. - C2nd A.D.
  • Orphic Fragments - Greek Hymns B.C.
  • Greek Papyri III Anonymous, Fragments - Greek Poetry C4th A.D.
  • Hyginus, Fabulae - Latin Mythography C2nd A.D.
  • Hyginus, Astronomica - Latin Mythography C2nd A.D.
  • Virgil, Aeneid - Latin Epic C1st B.C.
  • Ovid, Metamorphoses - Latin Epic C1st B.C. - C1st A.D.
  • Ovid, Fasti - Latin Epic C1st B.C. - C1st A.D.
  • Statius, Thebaid - Latin Epic C1st A.D.
  • Nonnos, Dionysiaca - Greek Epic C5th A.D.