Theogony

by

Hesiod

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Theogony can help.

Earth Character Analysis

Earth is the second divinity listed in the Theogony, emphasizing her essential nature and continued importance throughout the poem. Second only to Chasm, Earth represents a foundational principle of existence, both a place in which the action of the poem occurs, as well as an influential character. She is the first mother figure introduced in the poem, and her descendants’ genealogies comprise a large portion of the Theogony. Earth’s many children include Heaven, with whom she comes to share a romantic and sexual relationship, as well as the Titans Rhea and Kronos, among many others. After Heaven shuts Earth and her children in a cave, she conspires with Kronos to overthrow him, crafting a sickle of unbreakable adamant with which to ambush him. With the success of their plan, Heaven is castrated and cast from power, while Kronos assumes the role of the king of the gods. Earth later helps Rhea hide her son Zeus away from Kronos, raising Zeus on Crete before he, too, continues the cycle of succession and overthrows his father. With Tartarus, Earth later gives birth to Typhoeus, a monstrously strong and powerful god whom Zeus destroys before Typhoeus can become a rival for power.

Earth Quotes in Theogony

The Theogony quotes below are all either spoken by Earth or refer to Earth. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Cycles of Succession Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Oxford University Press edition of Theogony published in 2009.
Theogony Quotes

For all those that were born of Earth and Heaven were the most fearsome of children, and their own father loathed them from the beginning. As soon as each of them was born, he hid them all away in a cavern of Earth, and would not let them into the light; and he took pleasure in the wicked work, did Heaven, while the huge Earth was tight-pressed inside, and groaned.

Related Characters: Kronos, Heaven, Earth
Page Number: 7
Explanation and Analysis:

Great Heaven came, bringing on the night, and, desirous of love, he spread himself over Earth, stretched out in every direction. His son reached out from the ambush with his left hand; with his right he took the huge sickle with its long row of sharp teeth and quickly cut off his father's genitals, and flung them behind him to fly where they might.

Related Characters: Kronos, Heaven, Earth
Related Symbols: The Sickle
Page Number: 8
Explanation and Analysis:

For he learned from Earth and starry Heaven that it was fated for him to be defeated by his own child, powerful though he was, through the designs of great Zeus. So he kept no blind man's watch, but observed and swallowed his children.

Related Characters: Zeus, Kronos, Heaven, Earth
Page Number: 17
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Theogony LitChart as a printable PDF.
Theogony PDF

Earth Character Timeline in Theogony

The timeline below shows where the character Earth appears in Theogony. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Theogony
Family and Genealogy Theme Icon
The Natural and Divine Worlds Theme Icon
...then begins the Theogony in earnest, describing the first divinities that arise, among them Chasm, Earth, Tartarus, and Eros. These gods and goddesses are the foundation of the universe from which... (full context)
Cycles of Succession Theme Icon
Family and Genealogy Theme Icon
Violence and Power Theme Icon
Earth bears Heaven, and together they have many children, including Kronos, Rhea, and Kottos, Briareos, and... (full context)
Cycles of Succession Theme Icon
Violence and Power Theme Icon
The Natural and Divine Worlds Theme Icon
Frustrated with Heaven’s cruel treatment, Earth crafts a sickle (a kind of curved sword) of unbreakable adamantine, and entreats her children... (full context)
Cycles of Succession Theme Icon
Family and Genealogy Theme Icon
Violence and Power Theme Icon
Kronos, along with his mother, Earth, sets up an ambush for the next time Heaven comes to visit. When the time... (full context)
Cycles of Succession Theme Icon
Family and Genealogy Theme Icon
Violence and Power Theme Icon
...they will not threaten his power. Unhappy with this state of affairs, Rhea conspires with Earth and Heaven to trick Kronos and spare the baby Zeus, whom she is pregnant with,... (full context)
Cycles of Succession Theme Icon
Violence and Power Theme Icon
...In thanks, they gift Zeus with “thunder and lightning and the smoking bolt, which mighty Earth had kept hidden up to then.” After the battle has waged on for some time,... (full context)
Cycles of Succession Theme Icon
Violence and Power Theme Icon
After Zeus assumes power, Earth bears a final child, this time with Tartarus, who is named Typhoeus. Typhoeus is remarkably... (full context)