In Greek mythology Castor and Pollux, or Polydeuces, were twin brothers. Together they were known as the Dioscouri. Castor and Pollux were regarded as helpers of mankind. They are known to be patrons of travelers, particularly sailors, who invoked them to seek favorable wind. They were also regarded as the patrons of athletes and athletic contests. They would help those who faced a crisis and were in need, aiding only those who trusted and honored them.
Castor and Pollux shared the same mother, but had different fathers. Their mothers name was Leda, but Castor was the mortal son of the King of Sparta, Tyndareus. Pollux is the divine son of Zeus, who raped Leda in disguise of a swan, which is why it is believed that the Dioscouri were hatched from eggs that Leda produced along with their twin sisters, Helen of Troy and Clytemnestra.
Rescuing Helen: When Helen was kidnapped by the Greek king, Theseus, the brothers attacked his city of Attica in order to save her. As a means of revenge, the brothers kidnapped Theseus' mother, Aethra, and she was forced to become Helen's slave. Aethra was then returned home by her two grandsons, Demophon and Acamas, after the fall of Troy.
The Argonauts: Castor and Pollux joined the expedition of Jason and the Argonauts in search of the golden fleece. When the Argonauts landed in a region of Asia Minor ruled by the son of Poseidon, Amycus, he would not let them leave until he challenged them to a boxing match. Pollux accepted the challenge and both of them put on boxing gloves. Pollux, being skilled in boxing, was able to avoid his opponent. He gave Amycus a blow to the head that splintered his skull which resulted in Pollux winning.
The Leucippiedes: Castor and Pollux wanted to marry the Leucippides, Phoebe and Hilaeira, who were engaged to the cousins of Castor and Pollux, Lynceus and Idas. The Dioscouri carried both women to Sparta and raped them and they each had a son. Mnesileos belonged to Phoebe and Pollux and Anogon belonged to Hilaeria and Castor. This created a family feud between the Dioscouri and their cousins. The cousins carried out a cattle raid but had a dispute over the distribution of the meat. They butchered and roasted the calf before eating it and before they started eating, Idas said they should divide the meat into two instead of four, depending on which pair of cousins finished their meat first. Castor and Pollux lost all their meat but vowed to have revenge. Idas and Lynceus were visiting their uncle but he was on his way to Crete so he left Helen in charge to entertain both sets of cousins and Paris, prince of Troy. Castor and Pollux realized that would be the best time to get their revenge. They went and stole their cousins cattle and Idas and Lynceus left to go back home, leaving Helen alone with Paris who kidnapped her. Meanwhile Castor and Pollux were in the middle of setting the cattle free. Castor climbed a tree and watched Pollux free the catte. Lynceus, given the power to see in the dark, saw Castor in the tree and was so furious that he threw his spear, wounding Castor. Castor warned Pollux and Pollux killed Lynceus. Idas was about to kill Pollux, but Zeus watching from Mount Olympus, threw a lightening bolt killing Idas instantly. Zeus then gave the choice to Pollux to give some of his immortality to his brother in order for him to live. Pollux chose to have them both be able to alternate between Olympus and Hades. As a result, the two of them became the brightest stars in the constellation, Gemini.
Castor and Pollux do not necessarily have superhuman abitilties but have their strengths which benefit them greatly. Castor was a great soldier and horseman. He was also a great horse trainer and competed in many Olympic Games, winning many of them. Pollux has the power of being strong and a skillful boxer. Both of the brothers were good hunters as well.
- Castor is a mortal and Pollux is immortal.
- There is a temple named after them (called the Temple of Castor and Pollux).
- They were granted an Equestrian Festival on July 15th.
- Castor and Pollux are consistantly associated with horses in art and literature.
"Castor and Pollux." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2013. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castor_and_Pollux
"Myths Encyclopedia." Castor and Pollux. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2013. http://www.mythencyclopedia.com/Ca-Cr/Castor-and-Pollux.html#b
"Castor and Pollux." Mythology Guide-. Jalic Inc., n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2013. http://www.online-mythology.com/castor_pollux/
Atsma, Aaron J. "DISCOURI: Greek Gods of Horsemanship, Protectors of Sailors | Mythology, Dioskouroi, W/Pictures." DIOSCURI: Greek Gods of Horsemanship, Protectors of Sailors | Mythology, Dioskouroi, W/Pictures. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Spr. 2013. http://www.theoi.com/Ouranios/Dioskouroi.html