What ancient people had stories about the moon?

Myths about the Moon

Imagine that you lived in the world more than 2,000 years ago. Every night the moon appeared, but you had no idea what it was or why it seemed to change shape. Would you make up a story to explain it? Many ancient people did. Some early people thought the moon was a powerful god or goddess. The ancient Romans called their moon goddesses Luna and Diana. Diana was also the goddess of the hunt. The crescent moon was her bow, and the moonbeams were her arrow.

Some ancient people had stories about the moon and the sun together. Some Native Americans believed that the moon and the sun were brother and sister gods.

Some sky gazers saw figures like a cat, a frog, or a rabbit in the moon’s markings. Others saw the face of a man. Legends of various lands told how the “man in the moon” had been put in prison for stealing or for breaking religious rules.

Was there once life on the moon? Some people believed there was. A Greek writer named Plutarch told of moon demons that lived in caves. A German astronomer in the 1800’s, F. P. Gruithuisen, told of seeing a city on the moon through a telescope.

Even today, some people use stories to explain why the moon seems to change shape.

The San people of southern Africa tell one story that explains why the moon seems to change its shape. This story says that each month the moon almost dies. But it is reborn just in time to start life all over again. When this happens, it is seen as a thin sliver. For 13 nights, it grows until it becomes a full moon. The San celebrate this with three nights of dancing.

Then the moon begins to die again. For the next 13 nights, the sun, which the San see as the great hunter, battles the moon. Slowly the great hunter slices at the moon, until there is no moon left. For a few days, the moon seems to be dead. But soon it is reborn, and it begins growing again.

Picture Credit : Google

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