The Constellation
Gemini

The Constellation GeminiIn mythology, the twins names were Castor and Pollux. They were the offspring of Leda and each had a different father, As a result Castor was mortal and Pollux was immortal.

As the myth goes, Leda was seduced by Zeus/Jupiter who had disguised himself as a Swan. On the same night she had laid with her husband King Tyndareus. Leda gave birth to an egg, from which sprang Pollux and Helen of Troy. (So famous afterwards as the cause of the Trojan war). She also gave birth to a second egg from which Castor, twin of Pollux, and Clytaemnestra were born.

Castor was famous for taming and managing horses, and Pollux for his skill in boxing. They were united by the warmest affection, and inseparable in all their enterprises.

When Theseus and his friend Pirithous had abducted and carried Helen off from Sparta, the youthful heroes Castor and Pollux, accompanied by their followers, hasted to her rescue. Theseus was absent from Attica at the time, and the brothers were successful in recovering their sister.

They accompanied the Argonautic expedition and during that voyage a storm arose. Orpheus prayed to the Samothracian gods, and played on his harp, whereupon the storm ceased and stars appeared on the heads of the two brothers.  From this incident, Castor and Pollux came to be considered the patron deities of seamen and voyagers. In fact, one of the ships in which St. Paul sailed was named the Castor and Pollux. Lambent flames, which in certain states of the atmosphere play round the sails and masts of vessels, were called by their names.

After the Argonautic expedition, Castor and Pollux engaged in a war with Idas and Lynceus. Castor was slain, and Pollux, inconsolable for the loss of his brother, beseeched Zeus/Jupiter to be permitted to give up his own immortality as a ransom for him. Zeus/Jupiter consented to allow the two brothers to enjoy the boon of life by alternately passing one day under the earth, in Hades, and the next in the heavenly abodes.

As a further reward of their brotherly love, Zeus/Jupiter placed their images among the stars as the constellation Gemini, the Twins.

Castor and Pollux received divine honors under the name of Dioscuri (sons of Jove). Occasionally in later times, they were believed to have appeared taking part with one side or the other, in hard-fought battles. On such occasions, they were said to be mounted on magnificent white steeds.

In the early history of Rome, they are said to have assisted the Romans at the battle of Lake Regillus. After the victory, a temple was erected in their honor on the spot where they appeared.

Castor and Pollux have also been associated with Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome. The constellation Lupus represents the wolf by whom Romulus and Remus were suckled in infancy.

In other references, Castor an Pollux are identified with Hercules and Apollo, Triptolemus and Iasion, and in Mesopotamia, the Great Twins, the brothers Lugal-irra and Meslamta-eanone).

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