Castor and Pollux
Castor and Polydeuces (Greek), the Dioscuri, the Tyndaridae
Homer's Iliad, Hyginus's Fabulae
Sons of Zeus and Leda
In Greek and Roman mythology, Castor and Pollux (known as Polydeuces to the Greeks) were twin brothers who appeared in several prominent myths. The twins were worshipped as gods who helped shipwrecked sailors and who brought favorable winds for those who made sacrifices to them. The Romans considered Castor and Pollux the gods who watched over horses and the Roman horsemen known as equites (pronounced EK-wi-teez). There are many stories about the twins and numerous versions of those stories. According to the Greek poet Homer, Castor and Pollux were the sons of Tyndareus (pronounced tin-DAIR-ee-uhs) and Leda, the king and queen of Sparta. For this reason, they are sometimes called the Tyndaridae (sons of Tyndareus). Another account identifies the twins as the sons of Leda and Zeus, from whom they received the name Dioscuri (sons of Zeus). Still another legend says that Castor was the son of Leda and Tyndareus—and therefore a human—while Pollux was the son of Zeus—and therefore a god. This difference became significant later in their lives. All tales about the twins agree in portraying Castor as a skilled horse trainer and Pollux as an expert boxer. Inseparable, the brothers always acted together. In one of the earliest myths about the twins, Castor and Pollux rescued their sister Helen after she had been kidnapped by Theseus (pronounced THEE-see-uhs), king of Attica. Helen would later gain fame as the queen whose abduction by Paris, a Trojan prince, launched the Trojan War. The twins also accompanied Jason and the Argonauts on their voyage in search of the Golden Fleece. During that expedition, Pollux demonstrated his boxing skills by killing the king of the Bebryces. When a storm arose during the voyage, the Argonaut Orpheus prayed to the gods and played his...
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