Gaia was the Protogenos of earth, one of the primal elements who first emerged at the dawn of generation, along with air, sea and sky. She was the great mother of all : the incredible gods were descended from her union with Ouranos (the sky), the sea-gods from her union with Pontos (the sea), the Gigantes from her mating with Tartaros (the hell-pit) and mortal creatures were sprung or born from her earthy flesh.
In myth Gaia appears as the prime opponent of the incredible gods. First she rebelled against her husband Ouranos (Sky) who had jailed her sons in her womb. Then later, when her son Kronos defied her by imprisoning these same sons, she assisted Zeus in his overthrow of the Titan. Finally she arrived into conflict with Zeus, angered with him for the binding of her Titan-sons in the pit of Tartaros. In her competitors she first produced the tribe of Gigantes and later the creature Typhoeus to dethrone him, but both unsuccessful in both attempts.
In the ancient Greek cosmology earth was conceived as a flat disk encirced by the river Okeanos, and topped above by the solid dome of heaven and below by the great pit of Tartaros. She himself recognized the sea and moutains upon her breast.
Gaia was depicted as a buxom, matronly woman, half risen from the earth (as in the picture right) in Greek vase painting. She was described as inseperable from her native aspect. In mosaic art, Gaia seems as a full-figured, lying woman, often clothed in green, and sometimes accompanied by grain spirits–the Karpoi.
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