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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: October 2020

Chapter 6 - Selēnoskopia

from Part III - The Moon in the Fantastic Imagination


In the previous chapter, we explored the semiotics of the lunar world in ancient fictions, especially Lucian’s works. In this chapter, we leave Earth and consider – with ancient thinkers and modern astronauts – what our reality looks like when viewed from the Moon. Selēnoskopia or the ‘view from the Moon’ became a reality for the first time in the first year of the Apollo missions in 1968, but the imaginative tradition of gazing at the Earth from outer space has a far more ancient pedigree, stretching back to the earliest Greek literature over two-and-a-half millennia ago. In Lucian’s hands, the Moon became our first extra-terrestrial viewing-platform and the focus for an extraordinary continuum of thought that links ancient imagined experience with modern reality.