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Endymion was a legendary character in Greek mythology. The details of his compelling legend have inspired art, poetry, and literature over the centuries. And the reason we enjoy Endymion’s tale is obvious - it is an unconventional love story. For in myth, Endymion was a remarkably handsome mortal man who caught the eye of a goddess.
There a several subtle variations about the life of Endymion. Some sources suggest that he was a king of Elis, while other ancient authorities claim that he was a Carian. However, these different versions of Endymion’s ancestry are much less important than the part of the myth that matters most, which is, of course, his relationship with the goddess Selene.
According to the myth, Selene, the eternally beautiful goddess of the Moon, gazed upon Endymion and fell madly in love with him. It is said that in time Selene bore the handsome mortal fifty daughters. Scholars have suggested that the number of daughters is symbolic, with each daughter possibly representing an individual month of an Olympiad.
Certainly, the story of a mortal and an immortal engaging in a legendary affair is interesting enough, but there is even more to this intriguing tale. It is important to remember that, as a mortal, Endymion was subject to the fate that we all share - aging and eventual death. However, the Greek gods and goddesses did not age and die.
Instead, the gods of Greece remained young and beautiful for all time. The relationship between Endymion and Selene, therefore, faced some serious problems. Selene came up with a solution to this dilemma. According to one version of the myth, the goddess of the Moon cast a spell on her lover, making him sleep forever. In this state of eternal slumber, Endymion kept both his youth and his good looks.
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