Also known as the Dioscuri, the Greek Kastor and Polydeuces figure in classical myth. The Roman Castor and Pollux are believed to have intervened in the battle of Regillus in 484 BCE , and recent temple excavations support this claim.¹
As the twin sons of Leda, they are often honored among the pagan gods at Sparta and Rome,² and represented on horseback. As Zeus‘ child, Pollux was immortal and an outstanding boxer.
Castor was the offspring of Tyndareus, mortal and an excellent horseman. At Castor’s death, Pollux beseeched Zeus to grant Castor immortality as he could not bear the thought of separation.
Zeus transformed them both into the constellation Gemini (the Twins). They appear as St. Elmo’s Fire to aid seafarers, and appeared in the New Testament as the image on a grain ship that carried Paul from Malta to Puteoli ³ (Acts 28:11).
And after three months we departed in a ship of Alexandria, which had wintered in the isle, whose sign was Castor and Pollux.4
¹ Oxford Classical Dictionary, 1999, p. 303.
² Maas, Georgia S.. “Castor and Pollux.” Oxford Reference. Oxford University Press. . n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2012. http://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/acref/9780195170726.001.0001/acref-9780195170726-e-217.
³ Eerdmans Bible Dictionary, 1987, p. 1024.
- Moon, twin stars, two planets greet early morning risers (earthsky.org)
- Castor and Pollux (themirrorobscura.com)
- Castor and Pollux at ENO (intermezzo.typepad.com)
- At last – massive online discounts for ENO Castor & Pollux (intermezzo.typepad.com)