Sun, Moon, and Dawn
You may have noticed that certain elements of the universe haven't been accounted for yet. For example, there is day, but no sun; there is night, but no moon. These deities did not appear among the original offspring; they came later, born of the Titans. Chapter 4 discusses the Titans, but the sun, the moon, and the dawn are necessary elements of an ordered universe, so this section explores their myths.
Helios, god of the sun, was considered a lesser god. Even so, the other deities held him in great esteem. Helios was a handsome god who was responsible for giving daylight to Earth by driving his chariot of fire, pulled by four flaming steeds, across the sky from east to west. Night would fall as Helios crossed the western horizon, and it lasted as long as it took him to return to the East. Later myths claim that Helios made his way back to the East in a huge golden cup that floated along the river Oceanus, which encircled the world.
Although Helios was admired, he was also feared. No one, mortal or immortal, could escape his eye during the day. As he crossed the sky, he looked down upon the world and saw everything. To make matters worse, Helios was a something of a gossip; he rarely kept what he saw to himself.
Selene, the moon, was Helios's sister. She also drove a chariot across the sky, though hers was made of silver and pulled by two horses. Selene was responsible for moonlight that shone through the night.
In one version of Endymion's story, he's an astronomer. In fact, Pliny the Elder mentions that he was the first human to observe the movements of the moon, which may have been the reason Selene fell so madly in love with him.
Not much else is known about Selene. The myths state that she was beautiful and famous for her love affairs. It was said that Pan, god of shepherds and flocks, tried to seduce her with either a beautiful fleece or a herd of white oxen — the myths vary. Selene also had an affair with Zeus, bearing him a daughter named Pandia.
Selene's most famous love affair was with Endymion, who may have been a shepherd, a hunter, or even a king. All versions of this myth agree, however, that Endymion was extremely handsome. Selene looked down upon him as he slept and fell instantly in love. She descended from the heavens and made love to him in his dreams. Some myths claim she bore him 50 daughters. At Selene's request, Zeus offered Endymion one wish. He wished for eternal youth — and some say for eternal sleep, as well, so he could continue to experience his amorous dreams — and was granted both sleep and immortality.
Many other deities represent the elements of the universe, though these lesser gods and goddesses aren't prominent in the myths. For example, there were 3,000 river gods and 3,000 ocean goddesses, not to mention the various demi-deities of the forests and mountains. Chapter 17 deals with the minor deities.
Eos, the dawn, was Helios's other sister. Every morning, Eos would rise from her golden throne, open the gates of heaven, and announce the coming of the sun. She also accompanied Helios in his journey across the sky. Some myths say she rode alongside him in his chariot of fire; others say she rode in her own chariot in front of Helios, announcing his arrival all day long.
Eos's love life was even more famous than that of her sister, Selene. It would take hours to relate the tales of all her lovers. Eos's many unions resulted in some well known children. She was the mother of the Winds: Boreas (North), Notus (South), and Zephyrus (West). She also gave birth to Eosphorus (the Morning Star) and all the other stars in the heavens.