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8018: Endymion sleeping on Mount Latmos. Marble. Probably 2nd century AD. British Museum, London.

7916: Endymion sleeping. Sir John Soane's Museum, London.

Endymion, the founder of Elis, was loved by Selene, and being allowed to choose anything he would, he chose to sleep for ever, remaining deathless and ageless.

King of Elis

The first ruler of the territory of Elis was Aethlius, grandson of Deucalion 1, the man who survived the Flood. Either he or else Zeus fathered Endymion, who led the Aeolians out of Thessaly, and founded the city of Elis where he ruled as king. Endymion is said to have deposed Clymenus 8 (son of Cardys), a descendant of Heracles 2 who came from Crete to Olympia. Concerning his succession, Endymion conceived the idea of having his sons running a race at Olympia for the throne which Epeius 1 won.

Endymion and the Moon

Endymion is counted among the most handsome, his beauty being comparable to that of Adonis, Ganymedes, Hyacinthus 1, Hermaphroditus, Hylas, Chrysippus 2, or to that of his own son Narcissus. That is probable why Selene fell in love with him and bore him fifty daughters. And then Zeus allowed him to choose any favor, and Endymion chose to sleep for ever, remaining deathless and ageless. Yet others affirm that he led the life of a for ever sleepless shepherd in Mount Latmos (in Asia Minor, near Miletus); for they say:

"I believe Selene bathes in the Aonian waves on her way to Endymion's bed on Latmos, the bed of a sleepless shepherd." (Nonnus, Dionysiaca 4.238).

And still others assert that not Selene but Hypnos (Sleep) was in love with Endymion, and that the god put him to rest with lids wide open, so that he could gaze upon Endymion's eyes continually.

Tomb and shrine

But the eternal sleep of death took place either in Elis, according to the Eleans who showed Endymion's tomb at the end of the stadium where the starting-place for the runners is, or else in Mount Latmos where there was a shrine dedicated to him.

Punished by Zeus

Now death is not what humans think it to be; for Endymion, though being deathless, nevertheless died. Having left this world, he was taken to heaven by Zeus. But there the god fooled him by means of a cloud (as he also fooled Ixion) for having fallen in love with Hera, and Endymion was subsequently cast into Hades.


Parentage (two versions)





Aethlius & Calyce 1


Zeus & Calyce 1

Aethlius was the first ruler of Elis. He was the son either of Zeus and Protogenia 1, or of Aeolus 1, or of Zeus and Calyce 1. Protogenia 1 is daughter of Deucalion 1 (the man who survived the Flood) and Pyrrha 1.
Calyce 1 is daughter of Aeolus 1 and Enarete.

a) Naiad 1

b) Iphianassa 2

Aetolus 2

("a)", "b)", etc. = different versions). Aetolus 2 is the eponym of Aetolia, the region in mainland Greece north of the Gulf of Patrae. Aetolus 2 was King of Elis after his brother Epeius 1 was made to flee. He married Pronoe 2 and had two sons: Pleuron and Calydon, after whom the Aetolian cities were called (see also Calydon).


50 Daughters



a) Asterodia 2

b) Hyperippe 2

c) Chromia

Paeon 2

Epeius 1

Aetolus 2


"a)", "b)", etc. = different versions.
Hyperippe 2 is daughter of Arcas 1, son of Zeus and Callisto.
Chromia is daughter of Itonus 1, son of Amphictyon, himself son of Deucalion 1 (the man who survived the Flood), or else AUTOCHTHONOUS.
Paeon 2 went into exile to the region named Paeonia after him, after losing the kingdom of Elis in a race at Olympia.
Epeius 1 won the kingdom through a race at Olympia against his brothers. He married Anaxiroe, and had by her a daughter Hyrmina.
Eurycyda consorted with Poseidon, and had a son Eleius 1 by the god.

Genealogical Charts

Names in this chart: Actor 4, Aegeus 3, Aeolia, Aeolus 1, Aethlius, Aetolus 2, Agamede, Agamemnon, Agasthenes, Agenor 6, Alcidice, Aleus, Amphictyon, Amphimachus 1, Amphimachus 6, Amythaon 1, Anaxiroe, Aphidas 1, Arcas 1, Ares, Augeas, Callisto, Calyce 1, Calydon, Chromia, Chrysothemis 1, Cleoboea 1, Clytaemnestra, Coronus 4, Cretheus 1, Cteatus, Deimachus 1, Demonice, Deucalion 1, Dexamenus 1, Dictys 4, Echemus, Electra 2, Eleius 1, Eleius 2, Enarete, Endymion, Epeius 1, Epicasta 1, Epicasta 2, Eurycyda, Eurythemis, Eurytus 1, Eustyoche, Hellen 1, Heracles 1, Hyrmina, Idomene, Iphigenia, Itonus 1, Ladocus, Leda, Lycaon 2, Meges 1, Meliboea 1, Molione, Mulius 1, Narcissus, Nonacris, Oeceus, Orestes 2, Orseis, Paeon 2, Pelasgus 1, Pellen, Peloris, Pheres 1, Phorbus, Phyleus 1, Pleuron, Polyxenus 2, Poseidon, Pronoe 2, Pyrrha 1, Salmoneus, Selene, Thalpius, Theraephone, Theronice, Thestalus, Thestius 1, Timandra 1, Tiphys, Tyndareus, Tyro, Xanthippe 1, Zeus.

Related sections

Elis, Selene


Apd.1.7.5-7; Hes.GE.11; Nonn.7.239, 48.581; Pau.5.1.4, 5.8.1, 6.20.7.