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MITOLOGY DICTIONARY(G)

G


Gaia
Gaia, known as Earth or Mother Earth (the Greek common noun for "land" is ge or ga). She was an early earth goddess and it is written that Gaia was born from Chaos, the great void of emptiness within the universe, and with her came Eros. She gave birth to Pontus (the Sea) and Uranus (the Sky). This was achieved parthenogenetically (without male intervention). Other versions say that Gaia had as siblings Tartarus (the lowest part of the earth, below Hades itself) and Eros, and without a mate, gave birth to Uranus (Sky), Ourea (Mountains) and Pontus (Sea). Gaia took as her husband Uranus, who was also her son, and their offspring included the Titans, six sons and six daughters. She gave birth to the Cyclopes and to three monsters that became known as the "Hecatonchires". The spirits of punishment known as the Erinyes were also offspring of Gaia and Uranus. The Gigantes, finally, were conceived after Uranus had been castrated by his son Cronus, and his blood fell to earth from the open wound. To protect her children from her husband, (the Cyclopes and the Hecatoncheires, as he was fearful of their great strength), Gaia hid them all within herself. One version says that Uranus was aghast at the sight of his offspring so he hid them away in Tartarus, which are the bowels of the earth. Gaia herself found her offspring uncomfortable and at times painful, when the discomfort became to much to bear she asked her youngest son Cronus to help her. She asked him to castrate Uranus, thus severing the union between the Earth and Sky, and also to prevent more monstrous offspring. To help Cronus achieve his goal Gaia produced an adamantine sickle to serve as the weapon. Cronus hid until Uranus came to lay with Gaia and as Uranus drew near, Cronus struck with the sickle, cutting the genitalia from Uranus. Blood fell from the severed genitals and came in contact with the earth and from that union was born the Erinyes (Furies), the Giants and the Meliae (Nymphs of the manna ash trees). After the separation of the Earth from the Sky, Gaia gave birth to other offspring, these being fathered by Pontus. Their names were the sea-god Nereus, Thaumas, Phorcys, Ceto and Eurybia. In other versions Gaia had offspring to her brother Tartarus; they were Echidna and Typhon, the later being an enemy of Zeus. Apollo killed Typhon when he took control of the oracle at Delphi, which Gaia originally provided, and then the "Sibyl" sang the oracle in Gaia's shrine. It was Gaia who saved Zeus from being swallowed by Cronus, after Zeus had been born, Gaia helped Rhea to wrap a stone in swaddling clothes, this was to trick Cronus in to thinking it was Zeus, because Cronus had been informed that one of his children would depose him, and so to get rid of his children he had swallowed them, Gaia's trick worked and Zeus was then taken to Crete. Gaia being the primordial element from which all the gods originated was worshiped throughout Greece, but later she went into decline and was supplanted by other gods. In Roman mythology she was known as Tellus or Terra

Galatea
One of the Nereids, and the beloved of Acis, a Sicilian shepherd. She was also loved by Polyphemus, who killed Acis with a boulder in jealousy. From his blood, Galatea created the river Acis on Sicily.

Ganymede
Ganymede is the young, beautiful boy that became one of Zeus' lovers. One source of the myth says that Zeus fell in love with Ganymede when he spotted him herding his flock on Mount Ida. Zeus then came down in the form of an eagle or sent an eagle to carry Ganymede to Mount Olympus where Ganymede became cupbearer to the gods. According to other accounts, Eos kidnapped Ganymede, to be her lover, at the same time she kidnapped Tithonus. Zeus then robbed Eos of Ganymede, in return granting Eos the wish that Tithonus be immortal. Unthinkingly, Eos forgot to ask that Tithonus remain youthful. Everyday, the faithful Eos watched over Tithonus, until one day she locked him in a room and left him to get old by himself. When Ganymede's father, King Tros of Troy or Laomedon, found out about Ganymede's disappearance, he grieved so hard that Zeus sent Hermes on his behalf to give Tros or Laomedon two storm footed horses. In other accounts, Zeus gave Tros a golden vine and two swift horses that could run over water. Hermes was also ordered to assure the bereaved father that Ganymede was and would be immortal. Later, Heracles asked for the two beautiful horses in exchange for destroying the sea monster sent by Poseidon to besiege the city of Troy. Tros agreed and Heracles became the owner of the bribe sent by Zeus to Tros. Upon hearing that Ganymede was to be cup bearer as well as Zeus' lover, the infinitely jealous Hera was outraged. Therefor Zeus set Ganymede's image among the stars as the constellation Aquarius, the water carrier. Aquarius was originally the Egyptian god over the Nile. The Egyptian god poured water not wine from a flagon. All of Zeus' scandalous liaisons have allegorical meanings. Zeus' torrid affair with Ganymede was a religious justification for homosexuality within the Greek culture. Before the popularity of the Zeus and Ganymede myth spread, the only toleration for sodomy was an external form of goddess worship. Cybele's male devotees tried to achieve unity with her by castrating themselves and dressing like women. Apollodorus argued that this myth emphasized the victory of patriarchy over matriarchy. This showed that men did not need women to exist, therefor they did not need the attentions of women. The philosopher Plato used this myth to justify his sexual feelings towards his all male pupils.

Gemini

The Gemini are two twins, Castor and Polydeuces (Pollux) in Greek mythology; the Dioscuri. They are sons of Leda, a daughter of Thestius and the wife of Tyncareus, and Zeus, the god of the heavens, and the brothers of Helen of Troy. Each of the twins had a special talent: Polydeuces was a very good boxer, and Castor was a talented horseman. They had many adventures together. When their sister was kidnapped (during the Trojan War), they went and rescued her. They also helped Jason on his quest for the Golden Fleece. However, Castor was later killed when the nephews of Leucippus, Idas, and Lynceus fought them in a battle. Later, when Zeus offered to give Polydeuces the gift of immortality, Polydeuces remembered his slain brother, Castor. Because of this, Polydeuces asked Zeus if he could share the gift of immortality with his brother. Zeus agreed and they spend every other day either as a god on Olympus or in Hades as a mortal who had passed away.

Geryon
In Greek mythology, Geryon was a triple-bodied, winged giant who dwelt on the island of Erythea in the extreme west. He owned a herd of red cattle which was guarded by the two-headed hound Orthrus. These oxen were stolen by Heracles as the tenth of his Twelve Labors. Garyon was killed.

Gigantes
In Greek mythology, the Gigantes (monstrous giants) sprang forth when the blood of Uranus fell upon the Earth (Gaia). They attacked Zeus and the Olympian gods and to reach their abode they stacked to mountain ranges of Thessaly (the Pelion and the Ossa) on top of each other. The gods asked Heracles for help and together they were able to defeat them. The Gigantes were buried underneath volcanoes all over the world.

Glauce
Glauce is one of the nereids.

Glaucus
In mythology there are several figures named Glaucus, probably the most famous mythological tale is of Glaucus the fisherman Glaucus was fishing in the river, he hauled in his catch, and on emptying his net noticed the fish he had already caught were reviving, and escaping back into the water, wondering what was causing this to happen, he took a closer look and realized he had emptied his catch on a patch of strange herbs on the river bank. Glaucus picked a handful of these strange herbs, and on tasting them had an urge to enter the river, he plunged in, and no sooner had he entered the water he had changed into a sea-monster with sea-green hair, huge broad shoulders and a fish-like tail. His transformation was accepted by the gods, and so Glaucus became immortal, a sea-god One day he spied a beautiful girl, Scylla, a favorite of the water-nymphs, and fell instantly in love with her. Scylla on seeing Glaucus ran away, and no matter how he tried she kept on rejecting him. Felling sorry for himself Glaucus went to the island of Aeaea to confide in Circe, she was a sorceress and had the power to cast spells. Glaucus told Circe of his love for Scylla and of her rejection for him, he also told Circe that he could never love anyone else except Scylla. Circe, who was very fond of Glaucus felt angered by this, and made her way to the island of Sicily, where Scylla lived. While Scylla bathed in a small spring, the jealous Circe poured a potion of herbs into the water, then cast her spell. From the lower half of her body Scylla grew six monstrous dogs, but the upper half remained intact. Totally appalled by the appearance of her body she hid herself away in a grotto on the straits of Messina, and there she stayed, but she could not stop the monstrous dogs from devouring unsuspecting sailors who steered to close to her cave, and Glaucus continued to pursue Scylla but to no avail.

Gordias
A Phrygian farmer on whose plough an eagle once landed, a sign that one day he would became king. Later an oracle indeed mentioned him as king and he became the founder of Gordium, since then the residence of Phrygian kings. His chariot was also in Gordium, and was fastened with the intricate 'Gordian Knot'. According to an oracle only a future world leader could unravel it. Alexander the Great just cut the knot in half.

Gorgons
In Greek mythology a Gorgon is a monstrous feminine creature whose appearance would turn anyone who laid eyes upon it to stone. Later there where three of them: Euryale ("far-roaming"), Sthenno ("forceful"), and Medusa ("ruler"), the only one of them who was mortal. They are the three daughters of Phorcys and Ceto. The Gorgons are monstrous creatures covered with impenetrable scales, with hair of living snakes, hands made of brass, sharp fangs and a beard. They live in the ultimate west, near the ocean, and guard the entrance to the underworld. A stone head or picture of a Gorgon was often placed or drawn on temples and graves to avert the dark forces of evil, but also on the shields of soldiers. Such a head (called a gorgoneion) could also be found on the older coins of Athens. Artists portrayed a Gorgon head with snake hair, and occasionally with a protruding tongue and wings.

Graces

Greek goddesses of gracefulness and the charms of beauty. They were the daughters of Zeus and Eurynome. The gods were delighted when they danced to Apollo¹s lyre. They were constant attendants of Aphrodite. They were young, beautiful, modest, and perfectionists of gracefulness. They were named Aglaea (splendor), Euphrosyne (mirth), and Thalia (good cheer). Also known as the Charites.

Graeae
The three "old women" or "gray ones" from Greek mythology. They are the daughters of Phorcys and Ceto, sisters and guardians of the Gorgons. They were gray-haired from birth and have only one eye and one tooth, which they share among them. They are Enyo ("horror"), Deino ("dread") and Pemphredo ("alarm").

Gyges

One of the Hecatonchires and the brother of Cottus and Aegaeon (Briareus). With Cottus he revolted against Zeus and was imprisoned in Tartarus by Zeus as punishment. He was guarded by Briareus.

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