Mythology and Legends
"Sailormoon" is greatly influenced by Greek, Roman, and Asian mythology.
Roman mythology is based on the Greek myths, and the Romans adopted
the Greek gods and goddesses, giving them Latin names.
My major source for the Greek and Roman mythology is the book
Mythology by Edith Hamilton. It's very informative and well
written. Some of the info comes from things I learned from other
books and from sixth grade mythology :X Other sources are credited
as necessary =)
Chaos is the abyss, the confusing nothingness that was the only
thing in the universe. The children of Chaos were Night and Erebus.
From those two, Love was eventually born, and Love created Light and
Day. Eventually Heaven and Earth were formed.
Also called "Ouranos," Uranus was the Heavens. With the Earth,
or Gaea, he had monster children: three Hecatoncheires, giants each with
100 hands and 50 heads, three Cyclops (giant monsters with only one
center eye), and the Titans. Because Uranus hated the Hecatoncheires,
he sealed each of them within the earth. Gaea, furious at Uranus for
his treatment of their children, asked for aid from her other children.
Only Cronus, one of the Titans, assisted her.
He used a scimitar to slice off Uranus's testicles, and from Uranus's
blood, the Erinyes (the Furies), the Giants, and the Meliai were born.
The testicles fell into the sea and later Aphrodite was created from
them. Uranus was overthrown by Cronus, and Cronus became the supreme
ruler of the universe.
Cronus / Saturn
Cronus was one of the Titans, son of Uranus
and Gaea. After overthrowing his father, he and his sister/wife, Rhea,
were the supreme rulers of the universe. Cronus, however, learned that
one of his children would eventually overthrow him. Therefore, whenever
Rhea had a child, he swallowed it whole. But when Rhea had her sixth
child, Zeus, she hid him away in Crete. In the child's
place, Rhea gave Cronus a rock covered in clothes, and Cronus swallowed
it. After Zeus grew up, with the help of Gaea, he forced Cronus to throw
up his siblings.
Zeus and his siblings fought a war with Cronus and the Titans. Zeus also
released the Hecatoncheires to fight for the gods, and eventually he won.
The children of Cronus became the rulers of the universe.
In Roman mythology, Saturn became identified with Cronus. Before
the Romans adopted Greek mythology, Saturn was originally the god of
the sowers and the seed. His wife was Ops (Rhea). After his son
Jupiter dethroned him, Saturn fled to Italy, where he
reigned peacefully until his death. His rule in Italy became known as
the Golden Age, and in memory of that period, a holiday known as
Saturnalia was held every winter.
Zeus / Jupiter
Zeus is the leading Greek god, the supreme ruler of the universe.
His Roman counterpart is Jupiter. Zeus and his five siblings,
Hades, Demeter, and
Hestia, were the children of Cronus
and overthrew the Titans from their rule. Afterward, Zeus, Poseidon, and
Hades drew lots for their portion of the world, and Zeus got the heavens.
The most powerful god, he has controls thunder and lightning. His wife
is Hera. Zeus's god children are Ares,
Athena, Apollo and Artemis,
Hermes, and Aphrodite.
One of Zeus's most notorious traits was having affairs with other women,
much to the anger of Hera. He often took alternate forms to seduce the
young girls, such as turning himself into a huge bull or golden rain.
Several of his mortal children include Perseus, Pollux, and Hercules.
Poseidon / Neptune
Poseidon was the god of the sea, specifically the Mediterranean Sea
and the Black Sea, and underground rivers. He was the son of
Cronus and Rhea, and brother to Zeus, Hades, Hera,
Demeter, and Hestia. After the Titans were overthrown, Poseidon, Zeus, and
Hades drew lots for their share of the universe, and Poseidon got the seas.
He was second to Zeus in power. Known as the "Earth-shaker," his Trident
could shatter and shake anything. He was married to Amphitrite,
granddaughter of Ocean and one of the Nereids. Poseidon also gave the
first horse to man.
Neptune is the Roman god who became identified with Poseidon. The
Roman deity was originally the god of freshwater. "Neptunalia" on July
23 is a festival in honor of him, when there is a shortage of water.
Hades / Pluto
Hades is the king of the dead and the god of the underworld,
which is also called Hades. He was also called Pluto, the god
of wealth, by both the Greeks and the Romans. However, his alternate
Latin name is Dis. Rather dark and depressive, he rarely
leaves the world of the dead.
Departed souls come to Hades, which is divided into two areas: Erebus,
where the dead go to immediately after they die, and Tartarus, where
the souls remain. The gate outside of Hades is guarded by Cereberus,
the three headed dog with a tail of a serpent, who allows souls in
but not out. Charon is the ferryman who takes the dead across the
underworld rivers to the front of the gate.
Hades, the god, has an magic cap that makes the wearer invisible. His
wife is Persephone, daughter of Demeter. He
kidnapped her, and because she ate four pomegranate seeds while in the
underworld, she must live with him for four months every year.
Ares / Mars
The Greek god of war is Ares, whose Latin name is Mars.
He is the son of Zeus and Hera.
Ares is not particularly liked by the Greeks or the other gods, as he
is ruthless, bloodthirsty, and a coward. His sister is Eris, goddess
of discord, and the goddess of war, Enyo, accompanies him. He also had
an affair with Aphrodite. However, to the
Romans, Mars was a great symbol of power and invincibility, and he was
not like Ares.
Hermes / Mercury
Hermes is the Greek messanger god, called Mercury in Latin.
Hermes, the shrewdest of the gods, is the god of trade and commerce,
and he is also a master thief. His famous symbols include winged sandals
and the Cadeuceus, his wand. Hermes also invented the first lyre and
gave it to Apollo. Although there are no stories that focus on him
specifically, he appears in more myths than any of the other gods.
Hermes' parents are Zeus and Maia, the daughter of
the Titan Atlas.
Aphrodite / Venus
Aphrodite, or Venus in Roman mythology, is the goddess of
love and beauty. Her sometimes companion, sometimes son is Eros
(Cupid), the god of love. In some stories, Aphrodite is married to
Hephaestus, the lame god of fire who forges weapons. According to some
stories, Aphrodite is the daughter of Zeus and Dione, but according to
others, she was born from sea foam where Uranus's testicles fell into
Although Aphrodite helps those with love problems and brings beauty to
the world, she is quite often vain, selfish, and petty. For instance,
when Psyche's, a mortal girl, beauty caused men to abandon Venus's
temples, Venus ordered her son, Cupid, to make Pscyhe fall in love with
a monster. Unfortunately, Cupid fell in love with Psyche. However,
Venus continued to try to destroy her after Psyche betrayed Cupid's
trust. Eventually, the lovers reconciled, were married, and Psyche was
Greek and Roman Myths
In Greek mythology, the goddess of the moon is Selene, the sister
of Helios, god of the son. The "Sea of Serenity"
is derived from Selene's name, which in turn is where Queen and Princess
Serenity get their names. In Latin, "Selene" is Luna, which is
obviously where Luna the cat gets her name from.
However, the goddess of the hunt, Artemis,
is often confused with Selene, so Artemis sometimes is called the
goddess of the moon, too. In Roman mythology, Artemis is called
Diana. The two cats, Artemis and Diana, get their names from
these alternate interpretations.
When Artemis is called the goddess of the moon, she is sometimes said
to have three forms: in the sky, she is Selene, on Earth she is Artemis,
and the evil Hecate in the underworld. Hecate is the goddess
of the dark side of the moon, and she surfaces in the sky during the
new moon; she is also evil. The character most like Hecate in "Sailormoon"
is Neherenia from SuperS, although Neherenia's name probably is derived
from the Germanic goddess, Nehalennia, who is involved with
abundance and sea-faring.
In Asian culture, there is a myth of a rabbit on the moon. There are
variations of this story, but one friend got this from a Japanese
mythology book: "A god went to earth disguised as a normal man. He met
with a group of animals, one of which was a rabbit, and asked to share
some food. All the animals did share, except for the rabbit, who had
nothing to offer. So instead, the rabbit threw himself into the fire,
sacrificing himself so the man could eat. The man was so touched by
that action that he revealed himself as a god and took the rabbit to
the moon as a reward."
A Chinese legend surrounds Chinese New Year: There once was a very strong
and good man who became emperor. He eventually became corrupt and wanted
to live forever, so he had special pills made that would ensure his
immortality. His wife did not want such a cruel man to live forever, so
she took the pills instead and floated up to the moon, taking with her her
favorite pet rabbit. According to Chinese mythology, the rabbit is also
supposed to be the pet of a wise medicine man who lives on the moon; the
rabbit thus pounds medicine in a mortar.
Since Usagi is Princess Serenity of the Moon Kingdom, you can see how that
myth relates to "Sailormoon" as well. In one of the later "SM" episodes,
Usagi asks Luna if there really is a rabbit on the moon pounding mochi.
This little reference is explained from a different Japanese mythology
book another one of my friends has: "To this day Japanese peasants still
believe in the hare in the moon. This animal employs its time in pounding
rice in a mortar and making it into cakes. The origin of this conception
is probably to be found in a pun, for 'rice-cake' and 'full moon' are both
described by the word *mochi*."
In Greek mythology, Endymion was a shepherd who was so beautiful
that when the goddess Selene saw him, she instantly
fell in love with him. To make him hers, Selene put him into a magic
sleep; in this sleep, Endymion was immortal, but he never woke. Every
night, Selene came to earth to be with him, watch over him, and caress
him. However, while Selene posesses Endymion, her love for him in this
condition brings her pain. In some versions of the story, Selene bears
a lot (I'll find the exact # later) of Endymion's children. @.o;;;
Helios, Pegasus, Maiden, Maenads, and Elysian
Helios is the Greek god of the son, brother
to Selene, son of the Titan Hyperion. He drives
his sun chariot across the skies every morning to bring light to earth.
He is referred to as the Sun. One of Helios' mortal sons, Phaethon,
tried to ride the chariot, but he lost control of the horses, which ran
wild and set the world ablaze before Zeus struck
him with a lightning bolt, killing him and destroying the chariot.
Helios' daughters, called the Heliades, were turned into poplar trees
near Phaethon's grave.
Elios from SuperS, or Pegasus, probably has his name derived from Helios.
Elios is Prince Endymion's guardian, and Mamoru's astrological sign is
Leo, who's planetary symbol is the sun.
Elios appears mostly in the form of Pegasus. In Greek myth, Pegasus
was a winged horse that sprang to life from the blood of Medusa, after
Perseus sliced off her head. Only Bellerophon could tame Pegasus with
the golden bridle that the goddess Athena gave him. Later in life,
Bellerophon tried to fly Pegasus up to Mount Olympus, the home of the
gods, to become one of them; Pegasus threw him off, however, and the
winged horse eventually made his home in the Olympian stables. Whenever
Zeus wanted his thunderbolts, Pegasus brought them
to the god.
Elios is also the priest of the shrine in Elysion. Elysion is the land
where Prince Endymion's Golden Kingdom used to be. Elysion's name comes
from the Elysian Fields, the part of Hades (the underworld),
where the good go after their death.
The Maiden in the "Sailormoon" manga is the one with the "beautiful dream"
who can break the seal on the Golden Crystal. The meaning of the
Maiden draws from general myth in which only virgin girls can draw
unicorns to their sides. In "Sailormoon," Pegasus is a combination of a
unicorn and a pegasus.
The two odango-ed women in Elysion are called the Maenads, and they are
the shrine maidens of the central shrine in the land. In Greek
mythology, the Maenads were the followers of Dionysus, god of
wine, and they were constantly in a state of drunken insanity. They
tore up animals and people with their bare hands and ate them.
Artemis is the goddess of the hunt, and she is the twin sister
to Apollo. She is the daughter of Zeus and Leto.
Artemis has several names, including Cynthia, after Mount Cynthus,
the city she was born in; Phoebe (the name of a female Titan) and
Selene, the moon goddess who she becomes confused for; and Diana
in Latin. Artemis is one of the three virgin goddesses, and young
females often want to be free and unmarried like her. Usually Artemis
protects the youthful.
Ceres, Pallas, Juno, and Vesta
In the manga, the Amazoness Quartet (CereCere, ParaPara, JunJun, and
VesVes) became the Sailor Quartet (Sailor Ceres, Sailor Pallas,
Sailor Juno, and Sailor Vesta).
Ceres is the Latin name for the goddess
Demeter, who is goddess of the corn and the harvest. She is
the daughter of Cronus and Rhea. Her daughter, Persephone, was
kidnapped by Hades and taken to the underworld to
be his queen. After Persephone's disappearance, Demeter neglected the
earth so that winter came and nothing grew. Eventually,
Zeus had to intervene between his siblings, and
because Persephone had eaten four seeds of a pomegranate while in Hades,
she had to live there for four months every year. During that period
every year, Demeter grieves for her loss and winter comes to the
earth. For the rest of the year Persephone lives with her mother, and
the earth experienced spring, summer, and fall.
Pallas refers to Pallas Athena, Greek goddess
of war, wisdom, and weaving. She created the bridle for horses and is
the goddess of the city. Her Roman name is Minerva. "Grey-eyed"
Athena is the daughter of Zeus; she sprung from his
head fully grown and fully armored. As her father's favorite child, she
carries his aegis, buckler, and thunderbolt for him. Athena is one of
the three virgin goddesses.
Juno is the Roman goddess whose Greek counterpart
is Hera. The sister and wife of Zeus, Hera
is the queen of the gods. She is very proud and very jealous of Zeus,
since Zeus frequently has affairs with other women. She never forgets
an insult, and when she is angered, she punishes the innocent and guilty
alike. Hera is the goddess that married women prayed to, and she is the
protector of marriages.
Vesta, or Hestia in Greek, is the
sister of Zeus. She is the goddess of the hearth,
the most important symbol in the home. Every home and every city had
a hearth to Hestia. Like Athena and
Artemis, Hestia is one of the three virgin
goddesses. However, Hestia has no distinct personality.
Lethe and Mnemosyne
Lethe, in Greek mythology, is one of the rivers of Hades, the
river of forgetfulness. The souls of the dead who leave Hades and
return to life must drink from Lethe before they leave.
Mnemosyne is memory, and she is the mother of the Muses.
Zeus is the Muses' father.
Castor and Pollux
Castor and Pollux are Nephrite's twin youma in the first anime season
of "Sailormoon." In Greek mythology, Castor and Pollux are
brothers, and although they are not twins, they are very close. In
some stories, both Pollux and Castor are divine, and in other stories,
only Pollux is divine, being sired from Zeus, while Castor is mortal,
having a mortal father. Their mother was Leda. As divinities, the
brothers are the protectors of sailors (ironic given the use of their
names in the "Sailormoon" anime). After Castor was killed, Pollux
mourned the death of his brother so much that he prayed to die. Zeus,
taking pity on Pollux, let him share half his life with Castor, so
that the two would be allowed to live half their lives on earth, the
other half in heaven. One version of the story says that they are
always together on earth and in heaven, the other version says that
they are always apart, one brother living in heaven while the other
lives on earth, then vice versa. The stars of Castor and Pollux are
Gemini, the twins.
The Lemures are the monsters from the Dead Moon Circus in "Sailormoon
In Roman mythology, the Lemures (Larvae) are the 'spirits of
the wicked dead.'
The Three Lights
From Mnemosynehime's site:
"The San Hikari are the three lights (sun, moon, and stars) in Shinto. This
goes back to the three element rule, including that of the triangle, circle,
and square, in Shinto. They are necessary and important to all life in the
"Sun: This is Seiya's representation. He wears the red rose which can be for
Leo, ruled by the Sun. Starfighter's attack, Star Serious Laser, may have
something to do with the idea of the sun's ray or light perhaps. That may
give an indication to Seiya's name, but I'm not sure of this interpretation.
The Sun is principal of the three deities or elements, and Seiya is the one
most prominent of the three in the story.
"Moon: This is Taiki's representation. The light in the Atmosphere probably
is supposed to be the Moon (hence Taiki's name). He wears the white rose
which can stand for both the Moon and wisdom. The elements of water and life
correlate to the element of the Moon, so might explain Starmaker's attack,
Star Gentle Uterus, symbolic of growth or the creation of life. Also, the
Moon is the quietest of the three, and Taiki can be said to be the quietest
and least intrusive of the three lights.
"Stars: This is Yaten's representation. The lights of the night sky are the
stars (hence Yaten's name). He wears the yellow rose, but I'm not sure how
that fits, maybe yellow for starlight. The stars also correlate to the gas
state, with liquid to the Moon, and solid to the Sun. I'm not sure how
Starhealer's attack, Star Sensitive Inferno, fits, but I do know that stars
are self-luminous (the Sun is an example), so maybe from the idea of light and
heat comes an inferno."
Sword, Mirror, Jewel
In "Sailormoon," Sailoruranus, Neptune, and Pluto possess the three
Talismans: the Space Sword (Uranus's), the Deep Aqua Mirror (Neptune's),
and the Garnet Orb (Pluto's). These three items correspond to the
sword, mirror, and jewel from Japanese mythology.
Excerpts are from Encyclopedia
"Prince-Ear-of Rice and Plenty; the rice-god, ancestral god the Japanese
imperial family. He is a grandson of the sun goddess Amaterasu and her
husband Takami-Musubi. His mother sent him to the earth take charge of
the general and political affairs.
"Accompanied by his sister, the vivacious Uzume, he descended to earth
and arrived at the point where eight paths lead in all directions of the
compass. They he met the terrible deity who guards the Floating Bridge
to Heaven, who frightened him but not Uzume. Therefore, the god of the
paths guided Ninigi to all the regions of his terrestrial kingdom. Out
of gratitude, Ninigi give his sister in marriage to him. He himself
"Later, Ninigi and his descendants fought their way from southern Japan
to the Jamato plain (east of Osaka) and there they founded the imperial
dynasty of Jamato. Amaterasu gave him a mirror, a jewel, and a sword
(which are still the imperial symbols of sovereignty in Japan)."
"When her brother, the storm-god Susanowo, ravaged the earth she retreated
to a cave because he was so noisy. She closed the cave with a large
boulder. Her disappearance deprived the world of light and life. Demons
ruled the earth. The other gods used everything in their power to lure
her out, but to no avail. Finally it was Uzume who succeeded. The laughter
of the gods when they watched her comical and obscene dances aroused
Amaterasu's curiosity. When she emerged from her cave a streak of light
escaped (a streak nowadays people call dawn). The goddess then saw her
own brilliant reflection in a mirror which Uzume had hung in a nearby
tree. When she drew closer for a better look, the gods grabbed her and
pulled her out of the cave. She returned to the sky, and brought light
back into the world."
"His little pesterings, especially against his sister, proved his undoing:
he looses his beard, his fingernails, and all his possessions, and is
banished. He wanders the earth and has many adventures, such as the slaying
of the eight-headed snake Koshi and by defeating this monster he obtained
a powerful sword, called Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi ("grass cutting sword").
Some other feats were conquering Korea and wiping out the plague.
Okuni-Nushi, his son, eventually tricked him out of the sword."
Manga volume #11 and the "Sailormoon S" movie recall the Japanese story
of Princess Kaguya. The following retelling of the legend comes from
The Tale of the Princess of Bamboo KAGUYA HIME
(A Japanese Folk Tale)
Retold by Chifuyu Omma from Japan
"Once upon a time there was an old man and his wife. One day he went
to a bamboo grove to collect bamboo shoots, where he found a bamboo
tree illuminated at the middle part. He wondered why and then became
curious about what was inside. He carefully cut the bamboo and was
astonished to find a pretty baby inside. He decided to pick her up and
bring her back to his home. He consulted with his wife how to handle
this baby, and they made up their minds to raise this baby as a gift
"After several years had passed, the baby grew up and was a young and
beautiful lady in the town. Everyone knew her because she was graceful
and beautiful. Hearing about her reputation, there were so many
gentlemen who proposed marriage to her that the old parents were now
very proud of her and tried to make her choose a candidates. She, however,
declined any proposal. She became very sad and was crying everyday.
The old parents couldn't understand why and couldn't get the daughter to
"On a full moon night, she decided to tell why she was crying and to
say she had to leave home and go back to the moon. She was frustrated
for a long time because the time for her departure had come. The moon
beams arrived to transport her back to the moon. She said good-bye to
her old parents and gave them an elixir of life as a good-bye gift.
The old parents lived a long life after that.
"[This is the story of a beautiful moon princess, but it is also a
story about bamboo, a plant which was once believed to be sacred.]"
Altair, Vega, Theta, and Epsilon
The myth of Altair and Vega is an Asian myth and is the legend of
Tanabata, a Japanese festival held on the seventh day of the seventh month.
The myth comes up in "Chibi-usa's Picture Diary" #2, and it is explained
in the story.
From Alex Glover's translation:
"The Weaver star. The legend of Altair and Vega. The child of Providence,
Vega, loved weaving, and everyday, that's all she did. God was unable to
simply stand by, so he married her with the Cowherd from the other side of
the Milky Way, Altair. As soon as the two married, they only played, and
they neglected their work. God became angry, and pulled them apart. He
only allowed them to meet once a year, on the night of July 7th."
In the "Sailormoon" story, Ami also tells Chibi-usa and Diana that in
China, the stars Vega, Theta, and Epsilon are called the "three weaver
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