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Gaea, or Gaia, was an ancient pre-Hellenic goddess who was mainly revered in Attica. She is the primordial essence of the earth, later referred to at times as the Earth-goddess, one of the creations of Aether and Hedera, the primordial cosmic beings. Through the encouragement of Eros she became the mother of Pontos (sea) and Uranus (heaven or sky). According to tradition, she formed a liaison with Uranus and gave birth to the Titans.

Perceived as a placid and resilient goddess generally somewhat apathetic in the story of the beginnings, she had an oracle at Delphi that predated Apollo. In the Hellenic period she became Da-meter or Demeter, the grain mother whose daughter is Kore, the grain spirit. Her attributes included fruit and cornucopiae. A.G.H.


Jordan, Michael, Encyclopedia of Gods, New York, Facts On File, Inc. 1993, p. 85

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