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Castor and Polydeuces in Greek Mythology
"Castor and Polydeuces were the offspring of Leda
and the Swan, under which disguise Zeus
had concealed himself. Leda gave birth to an egg from which sprang the twins. Helen, so famous afterwards as the cause of the Trojan War, was their sister.
When Theseus and his friend Pirithous had carried off Helen from Sparta, the youthful heroes Castor and Polydeuces, with their followers, hastened to her rescue. Theseus was absent from Attica and the brothers were successful in recovering their sister.
Castor was famous for taming and managing horses, and Polydeuces for skill in boxing. They were united by the warmest affection and inseparable in all their enterprises. They accompanied the Argonautic expedition. During the voyage a storm arose, and Orpheus
prayed to the gods, and played on his harp, whereupon the storm ceased and stars appeared in the heads of the brothers. From this incident, Castor and Polydeuces came afterwards to be considered the patron deities of seamen and voyagers, and the lambent flames, which in certain states of atmosphere play round the sails and masts of vessels, were called by their names.
After the Argonautic expedition
, we find Castor and Polydeuces engaged in a war with Idas and Lynceus. Castor was slain, and Polydeuces, inconsolable for the loss of his brother, besought Zeus to be permitted to give his own life as a ransom for him. Zeus so far consented as to allow the two brothers to enjoy the boon of life alternately, passing one day under the earth and the next in the heavenly abodes. According to another form of the story, Zeus rewarded the brothers by placing them among the stars as Gemini the Twins.
They received divine honors under the name of Dioscuri."
- from Bulfinch's Mythology
Who's Who in Classical Mythology
This book is a great source for information about Greek and Roman mythology! Organized alphabetically, this who's who features information about over 1200 of the most intriguing characters from Classical myth and legend.
The stories of Classical myth come to life in Bulfinch's book. This edition also features legends from other cultures.
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