When Did the Silver Millennium / Moon Kingdom Fall?

Sadly, these fireworks aren't going to last forever

Sadly, these fireworks aren’t going to last forever

Over the decades, many fans on both sides of the Pacific have tried to answer this seemingly simple question in a variety of interesting ways, ranging from a sheer commonsense approach (which, as we’ve learned time and again, doesn’t exactly work well with Sailor Moon) to in-depth analyses of the clothing the denizens of the Silver Millennium wear.

Unfortunately each of the answers I’ve heard thus far seems to fall short on one point or another, and I find myself wanting something just a little bit more concrete. Assuming that’s even possible.

Today we’re going to take a look at some of the popular theories surrounding the fall of the Silver Millennium and then take a stab at the question ourselves. If you’ve also been mulling this over for the past dozen or so years, this one’s for you!

The Moon Castle (before things go horribly wrong)

The Moon Castle (before things go horribly wrong)

Before you can build a sturdy Moon Castle house, you’re going to need to start with a solid foundation. In our case, our “foundation” starts with clearing up some of the wrong answers before we can build up our own theory.

So what are some of these theories? Well, I’m glad you asked!

A quick note: I will be alternatively referring to the Moon dynasty as the Moon Kingdom and Silver Millennium throughout. They are essentially the same thing.

The Moon Kingdom Fell 1,000 Years Ago

This is one of those “commonsense” answers that you often see thrown around, though I never actually seem to find any supporting proof other than the nice, tidy convenience of it all.

Essentially, the idea behind this is that most things in Sailor Moon seem to happen in blocks of 1,000 years. This would make the whole timeline nice and clean: the Moon Kingdom falls in the 10th century, the anime/manga takes place in the 20th century, and the events in Crystal Tokyo unfold in the 30th century.

Unfortunately, as nice as it would be if this were the case, it doesn’t quite work out due to some reasons that we’ll outline below.

Love the crescent Earth from the Moon

The Moon Kingdom Fell 2,000 Years Ago

In addition to this further building on the themes of Christianity that were slowly introduced into the series starting with the Infinity arc, there is some supporting evidence for this… or at least it seems like there is.

When Hotaru re-awakens as Sailor Saturn in the Dream arc in the manga, the following lines grace the page:1

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle…

While it is pretty easy to make the connection between “the twenty centuries of stony sleep” with Saturn’s long wait to be awakened by the Outer Senshi, and thus implying that this is a reference to the fall of the Moon Kingdom, unfortunately this is nothing but a red herring.2

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The lines come directly from the poem “The Second Coming” written by William Butler Yeats.3 In fact, on the previous page, you can see that Hotaru is reading a book titled “The Collected Poems of WB Yeats,” which pretty much seals the deal.

Though it’d be great if this actually were the correct answer, there’s really no basis for it.

Prince Endymion and Princess Serenity

Prince Endymion and Princess Serenity

Prince Endymion Lived During the Renaissance

This theory is actually pretty simple: Prince Endymion wears plate armor, which reached its peak in the late-15th and early-16th centuries.4

Yes, that’s literally all there is to it.

I don’t think much needs to be said to debunk this theory, so I’ll just do it in a bullet list so we can get on our way:

  • the Sailor Soldiers wear 20th century Japanese school girl-inspired uniforms back during the Silver Millennium
  • Princess Serenity’s dress is nearly a direct copy of the 1992 Christian Dior “Palladio” dress5
  • unless all of the Earth’s memories were erased, this is too modern to have been lost to history
  • technology used by the Golden Kingdom could easily have been more advanced than the rest of the world

I could probably keep on going, but I think that’s good enough to properly debunk this theory.

Gonna say this debunks the Prince Endymion angle...

Gonna say this debunks the Prince Endymion angle…

So… When?

Now that I’ve essentially said “here’s why everyone else is wrong,” this is the part where I’m supposed to explain how I’m right.

Alas, across the many times I’ve read through the manga and watched through the anime, I can’t for the life of me find anything that would help us narrow down the exact timeline of the Silver Millennium to anything specific enough to be useful.

What I can say, however, is that we know that it must have taken place much further in the past than most people seem to assume. In fact, it would probably be safest to place the Moon Kingdom as having risen and fallen prior to the earliest written records in human history.

When Queen Serenity6 introduces herself to the Sailor Senshi among the ruins of the Moon Castle, she states:7

I am the personification of the one known by those of Earth as Selene, the goddess of the Moon.

The earliest written accounts of the Greek goddess Selene date back to at least the third century BC, though there may be references going back even earlier, to around the sixth century BC.8 This implies that at least some of the major players in the Silver Millennium weren’t entirely unknown to modern humans and may have simply been misinterpreted as gods.

You know you're having a bad day when...

You know you’re having a bad day when…

However, just a few pages later, Queen Serenity goes on to say that the role of the Moon Kingdom and the Silver Crystal was to protect the Earth from negative energy and to watch over the planet as it evolved. This actually fits nicely with statements later made by Nehellenia about the early days of the Moon Kingdom where she states that Queen Serenity and her retinue came to the Moon back in its infancy.9 Possibly shortly after the hypothesized planetary impact that created the Moon 4.5 billion years ago?10

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Queen Serenity refers to Endymion as the prince of the Earth Kingdom and talks about him trying to convince the “people of Earth,” which implies that there was a large, unified empire that spanned the entire globe in the days of the Golden Kingdom. This is further supported by the fact that each of the Four Heavenly Kings assume control over a different part of the globe.

She sums up her story about the past by saying that the Earth Kingdom also fell and that civilization had to essentially start over from scratch.

Luna would like a TLDR here

Luna would like a TLDR here

So what does this all mean?

Well, basically all the information we’re given states that the events of the Silver Millennium happened “a really long time ago,” but we don’t have enough to actually go beyond that.

My best theory is that Queen Serenity and her entourage came to the Moon hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of years ago to watch over the Earth, possibly as life first began to develop here.11 Thanks to the constant care and supervision of the Moon Kingdom, a glorious Golden Kingdom developed and prospered on the Earth.

Long before the earliest written records, the battle between Queen Metalia and Queen Serenity took place and both the Moon Kingdom and Golden Kingdom fell. Though all of their knowledge, technology, and powers were lost to time, some of the stories of these mythical figures (Serenity, Endymion, Helios, etc.) somehow survived, possibly passed down as stories before being written down many generations later.

That, however, is just my best guess. I’d love to know what you think about all this! If you have any thoughts about where I went wrong, or possibly any alternate theories, let me know down below!


References:

  1.  See p. 39, act 39, vol. 14 of the original release
  2. Not to be confused with Freddie’s arch nemesis, Red Herring
  3. See The Second Coming
  4.  See Plate Armour (Wikipedia)
  5. See About Naoko Takeuchi
  6. Or the AI hologram of Queen Serenty, for those who want to get technical
  7.  See p. 22, act 10, vol. 3 of the original release
  8. See Selene (Wikipedia)
  9.  See act 41, vol. 15 of the original release
  10.  See Giant Impact Hypothesis (Wikipedia)
  11.  See Evolutionary History of Life (Wikipedia)

20 thoughts on “When Did the Silver Millennium / Moon Kingdom Fall?

  1. One thing that made Western fans believe the 1,000-year theory was the Dic anime. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-c3YZujaWT0
    As you can see, they reworked the intro by using later footage. (Also, apparently Queen Serenity, Ikuko and “Michelle” all have the same voice in the Dic dub.)

    My guess is they came to the same conclusion, that Millenium meant it had happened 1,000 years ago.

    Personally, I don’t have any idea when it happened, though I’m quite sure it was longer than 2,000 years.

    Worldwide memory wipes are not outside the scope of Sailor Moon’s universe, but I don’t think I’ve ever come across any real evidence of one in the manga of one taking place.

    My guess is this is one of those details we’ll never get a real explanation for unless Naoko decides to redo the manga and include everything she was forced to drop for the sake of deadlines.

    • Only in episode 1 dud Queen Serenity have the same voice as Ikuko and Michelle, later on she had a different voice actress.

  2. This question has been bothering me for a long time, especially trying to write my own fiction involving prehistoric ancient civilizations (likely influenced by the Silver Millenium in the first place). Finding a place to put it becomes tricky when you’re trying to pay some kind of attention to real history!

    • Is it not too far off that the golden kingdom couldve been based on the atlantis myth and how it somehow fell? Atlantis was believed to have global influence at the peak of it’s power.

  3. You know, you have just given me an idea for a possible fanfic: the Golden Kingdom existed in the late parts of the Thurian Age, and the Great Cataclysm that ended it and started the Hyborian Age was Sailor Saturn doing her thing.

  4. It was shown in the manga that the moon kindly or moon dynasty was pre-historic compare to the DIC version of it lasted 1000 years ago. It might be best to look up about pre-historic info on Wikipedia or something to maybe update your theory on this page. Indeed the moon kingdom was around for a extremely long time. This kingdom loo to have been around longer before ever the fist human records could develop it.

  5. I’ve always thought that Princess Serenity’s dress was Greek inspired lol (so that perhaps moon folk inspired the Greeks in SM. XD) as Endymion armor looks medieval, I think their clothing styles are mixed, but the moon kingdom is ancient.

  6. The Moon Kingdom definitely took place before recorded history and it and the Golden Kingdom’s destruction basically meant an apocalypse for the people and life that existed previously. I was said that life and evolution started over again after the fall of the Moon Kingdom. It also could not have taken place at anytime in recorded history as the Earth was said to be one Kingdom ruled by Prince Endymion and there was no time in recorded history where the Earth was one Kingdom. The concepts of ages humans predating our current existence isn’t unknown in mythology. In Greek Religion there were 5 ages. The Age of Gold, Age of Silver, Age of Bronze, Age of Heroes and Age of Iron. Usually these ages start with creation of humans and end with an apocalypse followed by a recreation of humans. The Age of Gold for instance was said by some to be the time where the Titan God Cronus ruled all though the Orphic tradition says this was the time when the Primordial God Phanes ruled. All other ages were ruled by Zeus however the Orphic tradition says that Phanes ruled the Golden Age, Cronus ruled the Silver Age and the rest of the ages were ruled by Zeus. It is usually stated that each progressing age gets worse then the previous age all though the age of heroes was said to be an improvement over the age of Bronze. The age of Iron is the worst and lowest ages and the one we are currently end. It is foretold the age of Iron will keep getting worse and worse until a grand apocalypse happens followed by a restoration of the age of Gold. The ages are in fact cyclical and it was through the mysteries of Gods like Dionysus in the Orphic faith or Demeter and Persephone in the Eleusinian Faith that man could escape the cycle of death and rebirth and achieve union with the Divine and an end to suffering.

  7. I’ve always thought it was sometime before written history as well. The mythology tie-ins fit nicely that way for sure. Saintfighteraqua is right though – if it took place later and just involved a massive (and selective) memory/time reset when the Silver Millennium ended, I wouldn’t be at all surprised XD.

    Toss it on the gigantic pile of mysteries never to be solved haha.

  8. I’m not an expert in architecture and building materials but the conditon of ruins on the moon we can see in manga and crystal would suggest the palace was abandoned/destroyed 4000-2000 years ago – but how does it work on the moon with its weak atmosphere and low temperatures anyway?

    Kind of off-topic:
    Have you considered writing about 90’s Sailor Moon/Crystal soundtrack? What were the inspirations behind it, maybe some copyright issues as with Moonlight Densetsu occured? And I heard it remains unclear who played violin in Outer Senshi theme

    *sorry for any mistakes, English isn’t my first language*

    • Not an expert either, but to my knowledge the lack of wind and weather, as well as geological processes, prevents a certain type of corrosion while the vast difference in temperatures (260° Fahrenheit (127° Celsius) during ‘daytime’ and minus 280° F (minus 173° C) at ‘night’) promotes other kinds of corrosion. If the presumed stone and debris from the Silver Millennium wasn’t white/grey to begin with, the sunlight bleaches most everything over a relatively short period, unless it’s shaded by sitting in a crater. And then there are the ongoing impacts – while Earth is protected by its atmosphere and magnet field, every speck of dust with enough speed and force hits the Moon’s surface (approx. 5 tons/24h), kicking up existing dust to ‘rain’ back down, and slowly but steadily chews away on anything, churning away on the top 2 cm of regolith per 81,000 years. The last “big” impact on the moon in recorded history happened 2013 and left a 40m wide crater – before that it was assumed the last bigger impact happened in the 11th century, which was sort of debunked… so, bigger impacts don’t happen all to often, I guess.
      I am not sure where you got the 2k-4k time-frame from – it may or may not be likely with ‘softer’ stone, but I honestly wouldn’t know.

      But in this context, there could be a case be made, that whatever protected the populated areas back then would still – while having faded over time and without maintenance – to some degree protect some of the ruins, like the parts the Senshi visited on their trip down memory-lane…

      Something from wiki, I stumbled upon some years ago, that settled the debate to me, how long ago a moon kingdom could have existed:

      “[…]based on studies of Moon magma samples retrieved by the Apollo missions, that the Moon had once possessed a relatively thick atmosphere for a period of 70 million years between 3 and 4 billion years ago.”

      (the rest is the meta-consciousness, memories of the characters and their names transcending through dreams, mythologies and religions…)

      …regarding the Outer Senshi theme:
      It was NOT Vanessa Mae. …It was composed/arranged by Takanori Arisawa (有澤 孝紀), but I have searched myself insane back in the days trying to find out if the actual violinist was credited anywhere, and despite exhausting research could not find anything. So: unclear it is, but we can rule one out with almost 100% certainty.

      PS: English isn’t my first language either, but I think we’re both doing just fine ^_-

  9. I have alway considered, but of course I don’t speak Japanese, but in Crystal there was a line how “Once the Earth was just one Kingdom” and after the battle with Metallia the Earth has to reset itself. So it was probably long long before anyone can imagine, as everything has to reset. In a way it reminds me of Assassins Creed plot about the Ancient Civillization.

    • That’s what it sounds like to me: the Earth had developed and advanced into a great Golden Kingdom and then, after the tragic events of the battle against Queen Metalia, was completely reset along with the rest of the Solar System and had to start over.

  10. I’m in the camp that I thought it was 1,000 years ago mainly because of the DiC dub… and of course, the name “Silver Millennium,” but not referring to how long it lasted (or how long it’s been around) is a bit weird. I know now that it’s the name of the monarchy, though.

    Unrelated, but how do you generate your Related Posts (Read Also) at different points throughout your articles? Is it Jetpack, or another plugin? Do you choose them, or are they randomly selected?

    • Unrelated, but how do you generate your Related Posts (Read Also) at different points throughout your articles? Is it Jetpack, or another plugin? Do you choose them, or are they randomly selected?

      I use the Inline Related Posts plugin. It’s not perfect, and the results it comes up with are a bit random, but it relies on the tags I use for each article to try and find something related.
      If nothing else, hopefully it introduces readers to something else they might find interesting!

  11. For some reason I always assumed the “1000 years ago” from the dub was canon and never gave it another thought. Why in the world I would think that the awful English dub definitely got something right, I have no idea.

  12. Is there any chance to believe that the Silver Millenium actually took place during the time when Dinosaurs were still roaming like Zyuranger (Power Rangers’ Japanese original version) did or in a past timeline before ours?

  13. I’d never considered the deep impact theory in the context of sailor moon…but that would actually offer some interesting explanations for things. Possibly the impact of Theia and Gaia killed the original sailor crystals, necessitating a replacement by the cauldron, or at least created some cross contamination in their respective sailor crystals. Regardless, earth and the moon don’t have standard crystals anymore. They’re tied to each-other. This would also explain why Princess Serenity felt such a strong pull to Endymion. They both have parts of each other. (I can’t think of a better definition of literal soul mates.) It might also explain why both crystals are so ridiculously powerful and why contact between earth and moon were forbidden.

    The two joined together and acting in concert is just terrifyingly overpowered. At some point someone decided that much power in the hands of two people was going to go horrifically wrong and cut contact as much as possible.

    As far as why they’re overpowered compared to practically every other crystal out there? One of the major themes of sailor moon is that working together makes you stronger and more effective. The silver crystal and golden crystal are ALWAYS, CONSTANTLY working together. They do it just by existing.

    It’s totally head cannon, but it works in my brain.

  14. I always figured it took place before recorded history and the Moon and Earth were reset from there and became the Moon and Earth as we know them. But, what I really love is the concept that their ancient story inspired Greek mythology, much like the MCU’s Thor in relation to Norse mythology.

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