Also called Mene, or Latin Luna, was the goddess of the moon, or the moon personified into a divine being. She is called a daughter of Hyperion and Theia, and accordingly a sister of Helios and Eos;1 but others speak of her as a daughter of Hyperion by Euryphaessa,2 or of Pallas,3 or of Zeus and Latona,4 or lastly of Helios.5 She is also called Phoebe, as the sister of Phoebus, the god of the sun. By Endymion, whom she loved, and whom she sent to sleep in order to kiss him, she became the mother of fifty daughters;6 by Zeus she became the mother of Pandia, Ersa, and Nemea.7
Pan also is said to have had connexion with her in the shape of a white ram.8 Selene is described as a very beautiful goddess, with long wings and a golden diadem,9 and Aeschylus10 calls her the eye of night. She rode, like her brother Helios, across the heavens in a chariot drawn by two white horses, cows, or mules.11
Selene was not particularly venerated by the ancient Greeks. Her Roman equivalent, Luna, was held in higher regard by the Romans and had a temple on the Aventine.15
Selene was represented on the pedestal of the throne of Zeus at Olympia, riding on a horse or a mule;12 and at Elis there was a statue of her with two horns.13 In later times Selene was identified with Artemis, and the worship of the two became amalgamated.14 In works of art, however, the two divinities are usually distinguished; the face of Selene being more full and round, her figure less tall, and always clothed in a long robe; her veil forms an arch above her head, and above it there is a nimbus or a crescent. The torch is her attribute. Her love for Endymion was a favorite subject among artists. She is also portrayed with wings attached to her shoulders, driving a chariot pulled by two white horses.
- Hesiod. Theogony, 371 ff.; Pseudo-Apollodorus. The Library i, 2.2; Scholiast on Pindar's Isthmian Odes v, 1; Scholiast on Apollonius Rhodius' Argonautica iv, 55.
- Homer. Hymns, 31.5.
- Homer. Hymn to Hermes, 99 ff.
- Scholiast on Euripides' Phoenician Women, 175.
- Euripides, l.c.; comp. Hyginus. Fabulae: Preface, 10, ed. Muncker.
- Pseudo-Apollodorus. The Library i, 7.5; Cicero. Tusculan Disputations i, 38; Catullus, 66.5; Pausanias. Description of Greece v, 1.2.
- Homer. Hymn to Selene, xxxii, 14; Plutarch. Symposiacs iii, in fin.; Scholiast on Pindar's Nemean Odes, p. 425 (ed. Böckh).
- Virgil. Georgics iii, 391.
- Homer. Hymns, 32.1, 7.
- Seven Against Thebes, 390.
- Ovid. Fasti iv, 374; iii, 110; Remedia Amoris, 258; Ausonius. Epigrams v, 3; Claudian. Raptu Proserpinae iii, 403; Nonnus. Dionysiaca vii, 244.
- Pausanias. Description of Greece v, 11.3.
- ibid. vi, 24.5.
- Callimachus. Hymn to Artemis, 114, 141; Sophocles. Oedipus Tyrannus, 207; Plutarch, l.c.; Catullus, 34. 16; Servius on Virgil's Aeneid iv, 511; vi, 118.
- Livy. History of Rome xl, 2; Ovid. Fasti iii, 884.
- Aken, Dr. A.R.A. van. (1961). Elseviers Mythologische Encyclopedie. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
- Hirt, A. (1805). Bilderbuch für Mythologie. Berlin, p. 38.
- Smith, William. (1870). Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. London: Taylor, Walton, and Maberly.
This article incorporates text from Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology (1870) by William Smith, which is in the public domain.