Mythology Monday: Meet an Argonaut: Castor and Pollux


The Gemini twins. I wanted to be a Gemini so badly when I was younger. Depending on the magazine, I’m either a Libra or a Scorpio. I also *really* wanted to be a twin. Alas, I am still neither.

Anyhow, Castor and Pollux were Helen of Troy and Clytemnestra’s half brothers. Pollux was the son of Leda and Zeus, and Castor was the son of Leda and Tydareus (Icarus’ brother and Penelope’s uncle). Apparently Zeus seduced/raped Leda in the guise of a swan while she was pregnant? OR Zeus was both of their parent’s and that’s just the way the genetics broke down. It depends on the myth. Tydareus was a father figure to all four of the children though. Anyway, Pollux was a full-blooded deity somehow and Castor was a complete human.

The two rescued Helen when Theseus kidnapped young Helen, but you’ll have to read her Mythology Monday for more details about that ;). The twins also took part in the hunt for the Calydonian Boar, Pollux won a boxing match against King Amycus, and both were present for the attack on the city Iolcus. But we’ll get to Argonaut adventures on another week.

The twins wanted to marry the sisters Phoebe and Hilaeria, but they were already engaged to the twin’s cousins, Lyceus and Idas. Lyceus and Idas had special powers. Idas was gigantic and Lyceus had night vision. Both were also Argonauts. So they did the logical thing and kidnapped the women and took them to Sparta, where they both had one son. This caused a major family feud. They fought over everything and stole one another’s cattle, and it was just a huge mess. At one family gathering, Castor and Pollux attempted to steal back their herd of cattle, their cousins realized what they were up to and followed them. The cousins ambushed the twins and managed to kill Castor just after he shouted a warning to Pollux. The four were so busy fighting that they neglected to notice Paris sneaking away with Helen, which sparked the Trojan War.

When Castor was killed, Pollux asked Zeus if he could give up his mortality or share it with his brother so they would never have to be apart. Zeus transformed them into the constellation Gemini.

Isn’t it crazy how everything in Greek Mythology connects?

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