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Selene

by Marsha Moore
Selene, the moon goddess, is known for her countless love affairs. The most famous of her loves is the shepard Endymion. Other affairs of Selene's include involvement with Zeus with whom she had three daughters, and Pan who gave her a herd of white oxen. Some sources report that the Nemean lion, which fell to the earth from the moon was the result of an affair of Zeus and Selene. She was involved in many love affairs, however, not as many as her sister, Eos, the dawn.

She resembles a young woman with an extremely white face who travels on a silver chariot drawn by two horses. She is often shown riding a horse or a bull. Selene is said to wear robes, carry a torch, and wear a half moon on her head. She was not one of the twelve great gods on Olympus, however she is the moon goddess. After her brother Helios completes his journey across the sky, she begins hers. Before Selene's journey across the night sky she bathes in the sea.

Selene's parents are the Titan Hyperion, the sun god, and Theia, the sister of Helios. Some sources report that she is the daughter of the Titan Pallas, Helios, or Zeus. Helius, who is the sun god as well as his father Helios, is the brother of Selene. Eos, the dawn, who is known for her numerous love affairs is the sister of Selene.

The seduction of Endymion is the love affair that brings Selene the most fame. She fell in love with the shepard, Endymion, and seduced him while he lie sleeping in a cave. Some sources say Endymion was a king or a hunter, rather than a shepherd. Her seduction of Endymion resulted in the birth of fifty daughters, one of which was Naxos. Since Selene was so deeply in love with Endymion she asked Zeus to allow him to decide his own fate. Zeus granted Selene's request, and Endymion chose never to grow old and to sleep eternally. However, Endymion's eternal sleep did not prevent him from Selene giving birth to his daughters. Endymion was visited by Selene every night and kissed by her rays of light.

Selene is a favorite of many poets, especially love poets. A moonlit night brings the feeling of romance. It is said that Selene's moon rays fall upon sleeping mortals, and her kisses fell upon her love, Endymion.


Article details:

  • Pronunciation:
    suh-lee'-nee
  • Etymology:
    Moon

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