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THE ANCIENT MYTH OF
THE DIOSCURI

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The Dioscuri - Greek Mythology

Among the number of recorded sons fathered by Zeus, the King of Gods in the Greek Mythology, Kastor, and Polydeuces (Castor and Pollux) are also famous for being half-brothers of Helen of Troy, daughter of Leda and Tyndareus, King of Sparta.

The myth says that the night when Tyndareus was making love to Leda, Zeus was watching them and immediately after he took the form of a swan to seduce her resulting in the birth of the twin brothers later called "The Dioscuri" (youths of Zeus).

Historians believe that Leda produced two eggs from which Castor and Pollux hatched because ancient pottery, engraves, paintings, and coins depict them with a skullcap, probably remnants of such eggs, or perhaps they were hatched from a single egg. Either way, one of the children was mortal and the other immortal.

It is unclear if Pollux was the son granted with immortality, although the common belief is that Tyndareus and Leda conceived Castor. Brotherhood between Castor and Pollux was undeniable. They never competed or rivaled for leadership, being highly affectionate and consulting each other before acting.

The Dioscuri received from their uncle Poseidon the power to lessen waves and winds in the ocean to protect shipwrecked men, the ability that gained them a reputation as the "Heavenly Twins" later associated to the Gemini constellation.

Castor was a great horseman and Pollux a skilled boxer, so when Theseus abducted their sister Helen, they rescued her after going to the underworld and abducting Aethra, Theseus' mother. Eventually, Aethra became Helen's maid and followed her to Troy.

The Dioscuri accompanied Jason during his voyage on the Argo assisting Peleus, one of the Argonauts. They were also in the service of the Goddesses inventing the Korybantes (war dances) to honor Cybele.

Castor and Pollux abducted and married Phoebe and Hilaeira, daughters of Leucippus, an action after which Idas killed Castor in a battle with Leucippus' nephews. Pollux went to Mount Olympus and convinced Zeus to allow him to share his immortality with Castor.

Zeus got mad, then killed Idas with a thunderbolt and granted immortality to Castor with the condition that both Dioscuri shared alternate days as gods in the Olympus and deceased mortals in the underworld.


The Dioscuri mythology.

 The myth of The Dioscuri.

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