Castor and Pollux

Castor and Pollux (pŏlˈəks) [key], in classical mythology, twin heroes called the Dioscuri; Castor was the son of Leda and Tyndareus, Pollux the son of Leda and Zeus. They were brothers to Helen and Clytemnestra. Castor excelled as a horseman and Pollux as a boxer. They were great warriors and were noted for their devotion to each other. In one version of the legend, after Castor was killed by Lynceus, Pollux, in accordance with the classical tradition that one of every set of twins is the son of a god and thus immortal, begged Zeus to allow his brother to share his immortality with him. Zeus arranged for the twins to divide their time evenly between Hades and Heaven, and in their honor he created the constellation Gemini. According to another legend, Castor was killed by Idas. The Dioscuri were widely regarded as patrons of mariners and were responsible for Saint Elmo's fire. They were especially honored by the Romans, on whose side they were said to have appeared miraculously during the battle of Lake Regillus.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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