Apollonius of Rhodes (4.57ff) refers to Selene, "daughter of Titan", who "madly" loved a mortal, the handsome hunter or shepherd—or, in the version Pausanias knew, a king— of Elis, named Endymion, from Asia Minor. In other Greek references to the myth, he was so handsome that Selene asked Zeus to grant him eternal sleep so that he would stay forever young and thus would never leave her: her asking permission of Zeus reveals itself as an Olympian transformation of an older myth: Cicero (Tusculanae Disputationes) recognized that the moon goddess had acted autonomously. Alternatively, Endymion made the decision to live forever in sleep. Every night, Selene slipped down behind Mount Latmus near Miletus to visit him.
Selene had fifty daughters, the Menae, by Endymion, including Naxos, the nymph of Naxos Island. The sanctuary of Endymion at Heracleia under Latmus on the southern slope of Latmus still exists as a horseshoe-shaped chamber with an entrance hall and pillared forecourt.
Though the story of Endymion is the best-known one today, the Homeric hymn to Selene (xxxii) tells that Selene also bore to Zeus a daughter, Pandia, the "utterly shining" full moon. According to some sources, the Nemean Lion was her offspring as well. According to Virgil she also had a brief tryst with Pan, who seduced her by wrapping himself in a sheepskin and gave her the yoke of white oxen that drew the chariot in which she is represented in sculptured reliefs, with her windblown veil above her head like the arching canopy of sky. In the Homeric hymn, her chariot is drawn by long-maned horses.
The Roman moon goddess, Luna, had a temple on the Aventine Hill. It was built in the sixth century BC, but was destroyed in the Great Fire of Rome during Nero's reign. There was also a temple dedicated to Luna Noctiluca ("Luna that shines by night") on the Palatine Hill. There were festivals in honor of Luna on March 31, August 24 and August 29.
In popular culture
- In such works of fiction as The First Men in the Moon (1901), A Trip to the Moon (1902), and The Secret of the Selenites (1984), a "selenite" is a native resident of the moon.
- Adam Selene is a name assumed by a sentient computer in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.
- Selene, a female vampire, is also the main protagonist in the motion picture series "Underworld".
- Also, in the anime series, "Sailor Moon", the moon goddess's story is used as a theme and basis of the storyline.
- Also, Selene is an alias for one of the antagonists, Lanfear, in Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time
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