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Gaia was one of the more ancient deities of the Greek (Indo-European) pantheon. Her Roman equivalent was Terra Mater or Tellus, mother earth. She was a titan, ie one of the primal beings which preceded the deities of the pantheon, she represented the earth and all bounty. As such we can consider her as an ancient Fertility goddess.
The writer Hesiod tells us she was born of the primeval Chaos she in turn gave birth by parthenogenesis (ie without mating), to Uranus, the skies, her equal with whom she lay every night and gave birth to the oceans and many other titans, giants and beings which lived the earth. Her children includ Titan, Oceanus, Iapetus and Cronus (or Cronos), known to the Romans as Saturn: Time. Cronos was the youngest and also the most avid for power.
To the Romans she was also known as Terra Mater or Tellus: Earth and was frequently intermixed with the goddess of harvests and grain: Ceres, from whence we get the word Cereals.
The last of her offspring was jealous Cronos (Roman Saturn, also of Indo European origin) who ruled over time. Uranus, displeased at some of the offspring, decided to hide them. Gaia was greatly angered and so fashioned a flint sickle which her son Saturn used to castrate Uranus. Uranusís genitals fell in the sea and generated Aphrodite (Venus the goddess of love). Saturn, master of time, hence took over rule of the heavens until he himself was cast into the underworld by his own son Jupiter (greek Zeus).
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"gaia goddess of earth" was written by Giovanni Milani-Santarpia for www.mariamilani.com - Rome apartments