Greek Goddesses of the Sky
Ancient Civilizations 9/7/10
By: Yona Williams
The ancient Greeks believed that specific gods and goddesses dictated all the actions of the moon, sky and heavens above. In this article, you will encounter some of the goddesses associated with the sky, including Eos Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Titan goddess of the dawn.
Eos Ã¢â‚¬â€œTitan goddess of the dawn
In Greek myths, Eos is the Titan goddess of the dawn who is best known for rising from her dwelling located at the edge of Oceanus (which surrounds the world) to meet her brother Helios Ã¢â‚¬â€œ god of the sun. In literature, her 'rosy fingers' are described as opening the gates of heaven so that Apollo could ride his chariot across the sky each day Ã¢â‚¬â€œ as Helios did in the ancient past.
Homer gave a picture of Eos that included a saffron-colored robe that bore embroidery of flowers. Attic vases depicted the goddess as possessing a beauty of supernatural proportions. Her rosy fingers accompanied golden arms. She wore a tiara that was decorated with large, white feathered wings of a bird.
Eos was the daughter of Hyperion and Theia. Selene (the moon) was her sister and together Ã¢â‚¬â€œ they all belonged to the generation of Titans that came before the Olympians. Eos had two sons, Emathion and Memnon, who would appear in Greek myths. It was he who fought with the Trojans during the Trojan War. He was killed. Images of her with the dead Memnon laying across her knees is well known.
Selene Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Titan goddess of the moon
Eos' sister Selene was an old lunar deity, who played an important role in the beliefs of ancient Greeks. When the Olympians replaced the more archaic gods and goddesses, it was Artemis who took her place in the eyes of the Greeks. Selene was described as 'far-winged' and was associated with birds. Along with her brother Helios, the two took turns in traveling the sky.
After Helios has completed his journey across the sky, Selene appears refreshed from the waters that circle the Earth and starts her own travels Ã¢â‚¬â€œ bringing night with her during her journey. It is believed that the light that decorates the night sky comes from the radiance of her head and the golden crown that she wears. When Selene is seen as increasing after mid-month Ã¢â‚¬â€œ it is taken as a "sure token and a sign to mortal men".
Additional ancient Greek goddesses associated with the sky include:
Alectrona Ã¢â‚¬â€œ solar goddess of the morning
As the solar goddess of the morning (or waking up), Alectrona is also referred to as Electyrone or Electyro. She is the daughter of the sun god Helios and Rhode. When she died, she was a virgin and received worship on the island of Rhodes. A tablet made out of marble was uncovered in Ialyssus, which bore the inscription of regulations for visiting the temple of Alectronea. It dated back to the 3rd century.
Orithyia Ã¢â‚¬â€œ goddess of cold, gusty mountain winds
The winds that tear through the mountains were connected to Orithyia, who was the daughter of King Erectheus and Praxithea. The North Wind god Boreas fell in love with her and made attempts to make his affections known. However, she was not interested and he finally decided to take her by force. As she played by the Ilissos River, he carried her away and wrapped her in a cloud, while he raped her.
Chione Ã¢â‚¬â€œ the snow nymph
Chione is the daughter of the North Wind, Boreas and Oreithyis, whom the god kidnapped. She bears a child with the sea god Poseidon, which later has connections to the Eleusinian mysteries.