According to the ancient Greeks, Selene was the goddess of the moon. She was the granddaughter of Gaia, or Mother Earth, and Uranus, or Father Sky. Selene was one of the Titans, the immortal children of Gaia and Uranus, the daughter of their son Hyperion.
Selene and her brother, Helios, god of the sun, were responsible for controlling the movements of the sun and moon across the sky.
Selene, goddess of the moon has two siblings: Eos, the goddess of the dawn and Helios, the sun-god.
The ancient Greeks believed that Selene drove the white chariot of the moon across the sky each night. Her brother, Helios, did the same thing each morning in his golden sun chariot. Existing descriptions of Selene, the moon goddess, describe a beautiful woman with lovely, long, flowing hair. According to the descriptions, Selene often wore a crown with a crescent moon.
Some artists and poets added golden wings or small horns to their descriptions of the moon goddess. The Romans incorporated the goddess Selene into their pantheon, or group of gods. They called her Luna, and our word ‘lunar’ for things related to the moon, such as the lunar landers that explored its surface, come from the Roman name of the moon goddess. Selene’s role as moon goddess would later be identified with other Greek goddesses, most notably Artemis, the goddess of the hunt, and Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft.
She is dressed in the finest silk robes and travels in her silver moon chariot drawn by luminous steeds across the heavens. Several lovers are attributed to her in various myths, including the mighty God Zeus, Pan, god of the wild, shepherds and flocks, and the mortal Endymion, a handsome shepherd, hunter, or maybe even king who was said to reside on Mount Latmus in Caria, on the west coast of Asia Minor.
In classical times, Selene was often identified with Goddess Artemis, while her brother, Helios, was identified with Apollo. Selene and Artemis, on the other hand, were also associated with Hecate, and all three were regarded as lunar goddesses, but only Selene was the personification of the moon itself.
The Goddess in Love
One night, when she was traversing the night sky, she looked down on the Earth below and suddenly saw Endymion, a beautiful young man sleeping.
Fascinated by his beauty, Selene asked Zeus, the leader of the Greek gods, to give Endymion eternal life and to make him sleep forever. Zeus agreed because he loved Selene very much and on some occasions was her lover. The young Endymion remained young and asleep for all time, as Selene wished. From now on, Selene would visit her beloved every night when he was asleep.
In another version of the story, it was Zeus who wakened Endymion and asked him what kind of life he would like to live. The young man, who had fallen in love with the lovely moon goddess, Selene, asked that he might sleep forever beneath her lovely and soft light.
Each night, he dreamed of a beautiful woman who came and made love to him. Selene gave birth to 50 daughters as a result of her visits to Endymion.
Their daughters represented the 50 lunar months of the Olympiad, or period of four years marking the beginning of the Olympic Games in ancient Greece.