1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Endymion
ENDYMION, in Greek mythology, son of Aëthlius and king of Elis. He was loved by Selene, goddess of the moon, by whom he had fifty daughters, supposed to represent the fifty moons of the Olympian festal cycle. In other versions, Endymion was a beautiful youth, a shepherd or hunter whom Selene visited every night while he lay asleep in a cave on Mount Latmus in Caria (Pausanias v. 1; Ovid, Ars am. iii. 83). Zeus left him free to choose anything he might desire, and he chose an everlasting sleep, in which he might remain youthful for ever (Apollodorus i. 7). According to others, Endymion’s eternal sleep was a punishment inflicted by Zeus upon him because he ventured to fall in love with Hera, when he was admitted to the society of the Olympian gods (Schol. Theocritus iii. 49). The usual form of the legend, however, represents Endymion as having been put to sleep by Selene herself in order that she might enjoy his society undisturbed (Cicero, Tusc. disp. i. 38). Some see in Endymion the sun, setting opposite to the rising moon, the Latmian cave being the cave of forgetfulness, into which the sun plunges beneath the sea; others regard him as the personification of sleep or death (see Mayor on Juvenal x. 318).