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Selene, Greek Goddess of the Moon


Selene is a less well-known goddess of Greece, who also contends with another goddess with lunar associations, Artemis. Here is a quick introduciton to the goddess Selene.

Selene's Appearance: Selene is a beautiful young woman, often with a crescent-moon shaped headdress.

Symbol or Attributes of Selene: The moon, especially in its crescent form. A chariot drawn by a horse or oxen, and, sometimes, a torch.

Selene's Strengths: Has the power of giving sleep; lights the night. Has control over time.

Selene's Weaknesses: Changeable, like the moon itself, or so hates change she brings things to a stop, as in the story of Endymion.

Birthplace of Selene: The Greek island of Rhodes

Selene's Parents:Probably Helios and Euryphaessa, whose name may be Minoan. Also given as Hyperion and Theia. Helios is sometimes said to be her brother as well. She is considered to be one of the The Titans rather than one of the Olympians, but later stories sometimes give her Zeus as her father.

Selene's Spouse: She was seduced by the god Pan, who gave her the gift of a white horse or, alternately, a pair of white oxen. She also loved Endymion, perhaps too well. She does not seem to have an official "husband" in Greek mythology, which may mean she is a very early and independent goddess.

Selene's Children: Fifty daughters by Edymion, the "Menes" or months, by Endymion. There were fifty months between the Olympic Games, and there may be a relation between the number of her daughters and the time separating the Games. No list of their names has survived.

She is also said to have had daughters by Zeus, including Naxos, Ersa, the goddess of youth Pandeia (don't confuse her with Pandora), and Nemaia. Some say Pan was the father of Pandeia.

Some Major Temple Sites for Selene: Selene did not generally have temple sites of her own. As a moon goddess, she could be seen from almost everywhere. She is said to have kept Endymion in a cave on Mount Latmus in Caria.

Basic Story:Selene, the goddess of the Moon, falls in love with Endymion and unites with him, bearing him fifty daughters. She so loves him she cannot bear the thought of his eventual death, so she uses her magics of the night to put him into a deep sleep forever. This way she may see him, unchanging, for all eternity.

Interesting Fact: Selene is believed to be an earlier moon goddess than Artemis , who in some ways replaced her. Among the Romans, Selene was known as Luna.

Alternate SpellingsSalene, Saline, Salina, Selena

More Fast Facts on Greek Gods and Goddesses:

The 12 Olympians - Gods and Goddesses - Greek Gods and Goddesses - Temple Sites - The Titans - Aphrodite - Apollo - Ares - Artemis - Atalanta - Athena - Centaurs - Cyclopes - Demeter- Dionysos - Eros - Gaia - Hades - Helios - Hephaestus - Hera - Hercules - Hermes - Kronos - The Kraken - Medusa - Nike - Pan- Pandora - Pegasus - Persephone - Perseus - Poseidon - Rhea - Selene - Zeus.

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