Recap: Gaia is one of three gods who existed at the beginning of time. She represents the earth itself, and is the mother of Uranus, the Titans, the Cyclopes, and the Hecatonchires. When Uranus imprisons the Cyclopes and the Hecatonchires, this feisty lady demands that he be punished. She also saves Zeus from being eaten, and helps the Olympians win the war. Not a bad résumé.
Gaia is pretty much the bomb. Let's see: she's existed since the dawn of time and she's all powerful. So yeah, the bomb. As Greek mythology progresses, Gaia slowly takes a back seat to the younger gods, getting involved in the drama less and less frequently. But here at the beginning of time, she's hands on and in your face. She's the Wizard of Oz, but instead of hiding behind a curtain, she's up close and personal, handing out flint daggers to her minions. And make no mistake, everybody is Gaia's minion.
Throughout the Theogony, Gaia presents herself as the one who's in total control of events. She's the one who demands that Uranus be punished, the one who hides Zeus from Cronus, and the one who encourages Zeus to free the Cyclopes and the Giants. She doesn't take any crap from her husband or her children, and she doesn't sit around when important things are happening.
In many ways her character in the Theogony is the opposite of the gentle, almost timid Mother Nature that we tend to think of today. She's also different from many of the female characters we see in ancient literature; she's not a damsel in distress, but a force to be reckoned with. You go, Gaia.
In addition to being an ancient rock star, in Hesiod's account, Gaia also plays the role of spokeswoman of Fate. She's the one who reveals to Cronus the prophecy about his eventual doom, and also the one who rescues young Zeus and keeps him safe so that he can fulfill said prophecy when he grows up. Finally, she's the one who reveals to Zeus that freeing the Cyclopes and Hecatonchires will lead to victory in the war with the Titans. If you're keeping track, you should remember that the imprisonment of the Cyclopes and the Hecatonchires is what miffed Gaia and led to Uranus being dethroned in the first place. Wait, so freeing Gaia's imprisoned children leads to the Olympians winning the war? Yep. Pretty crafty of her, don't you think?
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