Ancient Roman Castor and Pollux

In Roman mythology, Castor and Pollux were considered as the twin sons of Jupiter and recognized as the patron of Roman Knights.

Originally, both Castor and Pollux were Greek Gods but when the Romans were battling against the Etruscans during 496 B.C., it was believed that the Roman soldiers were able to witness visions of the twin Gods fighting on their side.

After it won the battle, the Romans subsequently built a temple for Castor and Pollux in the hopes of making them happy and providing them a place to live in.

There are several myths and versions of stories about Castor and Pollux. In some variations of the story, it was believed that the twin sons of Jupiter were considered immortal.

It is, however, important to note that other versions of the story say that Castor and Pollux were the sons of Leda and the brothers of Clytemnestra and Helen of Troy.

Nonetheless, both Gods were credited with the role of protecting everyone from any sorts of trouble.

According to multiple historians, Ancient Romans believed that both Castor and Pollux protected them from danger during the times of war and while traveling at sea.

At sea, Romans thought that Castor and Pollux appeared in a form of the St. Elmo’s fire. In addition to their ability to protect humans, the twin Gods were also closely linked to sports and horses with Castor being known as an outstanding horse tamer whereas Pollux being a skilled boxer.

It was also believed that Castor and Pollux also took part in the voyage of the Argo and in the hunting of the Calydonian Boar.

Several scholars also said that Pollux out-boxed a warrior named Amycus who also happens to be the King of the Bebryces.

Likewise, Pollux and Castor were also responsible for the recovery of Helen after she was abducted by Theseus of Attica.

Facts about Castor and Pollux

  • Castor and Pollux were introduced to the Romans in 484 B.C.E. following their victory against the Etruscans. Ancient Romans built a temple for the twin Gods at The Forum to celebrate their victory.
  • In the field of art, Castor and Pollux are represented as two horsemen holding spears and wearing helmets. Their images also appeared in the early Roman coins.
  • Other versions of the story indicate that Castor was the mortal son of Leda and her mortal husband Tyndareus who was the King of Lacedaemon while Pollux, on the other hand, was the son of Jupiter and Leda.
  • Castor and Pollux were also known as the Dioscuri.
  • The Spring of Juturna is a place located in the Forum Romanum that is closely adjacent to the Temple of Castor and Pollux. It was believed that the Spring of Juturna was a fountain where Castor and Pollux watered their horses.
  • The Temple of Castor and Pollux was built during 484 B.C.E but was destroyed over time. It was, however, rebuilt by Tiberius in 6 A.D.
  • In 9thcentury B.C., Augustus connected the Temple of Castor and Pollux to the imperial cult after a massive fire hit the Forum Romanum.
  • A cavalry parade was held every July 15 to celebrate the victory of the Romans at Lake Regillus. Normally, the parade was headed by two young men on white horses which represented Castor and Pollux.
  • Who built the Temple of Castor and Pollux?
    The Temple of Castor and Pollux was built by Roman general Aulus Postumius.
  • When was the festival of Castor and Pollux?
    Initially, the Romans celebrated the festival of Castor and Pollux on July 15 but it was later changed to January 27 due to the fire that hit the Forum in 9 B.C. which necessitated significant rebuilding.
  • What is the role of the Dioscuri?
    The Dioscuri assumed a critical part in martial ceremonies that were performed during Ancient Rome until the Imperial Period.
  • How many people attended the cavalry parade?
    The parade was typically attended by up to 5,000 knights that brought spears and shields and wore olive wreaths and purple robes.