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1053

DIOSCURI.

nacural way, but in such a manner that Pollux was the first born. (Tzetz. ad Lycoph. 88, 511.) According to others again, Polydeuces and Helena only were children of Zeus, and Castor was the son of Tyndareus. Hence, Polydeuces was im­mortal, while Castor was subject to old age and death like every other mortal. (Pind. Nem. x. 80, with the Schol.; Theocrit. xxiv. 130; Apollod. iii. 10. § 7 ; Hygin. Fab. 77.) They were born, according to different traditions, at different places, such as Amyclae, mount Taygetus, the island of Pephnos, or Thalamae. (Theocrit. xxii. 122 ; Virg. Georg. iii. 89 ; Serv. ad Aen. x. 564 ; Horn. Hymn. xiii. 4 ; Pans. ii. 1. § 4, 26. § 2.)

The fabulous life of the Dioscuri is marked by three great events : 1. Their expedition against Athens. Theseus had carried off their sister He­lena from Sparta, or, according to others, he had promised Idas and Lynceus, the sons of Aphareus, who had carried her off, to guard her, and he kept her in confinement at Aphidnae, under the superintendence of his mother Aethra. While Theseus was absent from Attica and Menestheus was endeavouring to usurp the government, the Dioscuri marched into Attica, and ravaged the country round the city. Academus revealed to them, that Helena was kept at Aphidnae (Herod. ix. 73), and the Dioscuri took the place by assault. They carried away their sister Helena, and Aethra was made their prisoner. (Apollod. I, c.) Menes­theus then opened to them also the gates of Athens, and Aphidnus adopted them as his sons, in order that, according to their desire, they might become initiated in the mysteries, and the Athenians paid divine honours to them. (Plut. Thes. 31, &c. ; Lycoph. 499.) 2. Their part in the expedition of the Argonauts., as they had before taken part in the Calydonian hunt. (Apollon. Rhod. i. 149 ; Pans. iii. 24. § 5 ; Hygin. Fab. 173.) During the voyage of the Argonauts, it once happened, that when the heroes were detained by a vehe­ment storm, and Orpheus prayed to the Samo-thracian gods, the storm suddenly subsided, and stars appeared on the heads of the Dioscuri. (Diod. iv. 43 ; Plut. de Plac. Philos. ii. 18 ; Se-nec. Quaest. Nat. i. 1.) On their arrival in the country of the Bebryces, Polydeuces fought against Amycus, the gigantic son of Poseidon, and con­quered him. During the Argonautic expedition they founded the town of Dioscurias. (Hygin. Fab. 175 ; P. Mela, i. 19 ; comp. Strab. xi. p. 496 ; Justin. xiii. 3 ; Plin. If. N. vi. 5.) 3. Their bat­tle with the sons of Aphareus. The Dioscuri were charmed with the beauty of the daughters of Leu-cippus, Phoebe, a priestess of Athena, and Hi-laeira or Elaeira, a priestess of Artemis : the Dioscuri carried them off, and married them. (Hygin. Fab. 80 ; Ov. Fast. v. 700 ; Schol. ad Pind. Nem. x. 112.) Polydeuces became, by Phoebe, the father of Mnesileus, Mnesinous, or Asinous, and Castor, by Hilaeira, the father of Anogon, Anaxis, or Aulothus. (Tzetz. ad Lycoph. 511.) Once the Dioscuri, in conjunction with Idas and Lynceus, the sons of Aphareus, had car­ried away a herd of oxen from Arcadia, and it was left to Idas to divide the booty. He cut up a bull into four parts, and declared, that whichever of them should first succeed in eating his share should receive half the oxen, and the second should have the other half. Idas, thereupon, not only ate his own quarter, but devoured that of his bro-

DIOSCURI.

therms in addition, and then drove the whole herd to his home in Messene. (Pind. Nem. x. 60 ; Apollod. iii. 11. § 2 ; Lycoph. /. c.) The Dios­curi then invaded Messene, drove away the cattle of which they had been deprived, and much more in addition. This became the occasion of a war between the Dioscuri and the sons of Aphareus, which was carried on in Messene, or Laconia. In this war, the details of which are related dif­ferently, Castor, the mortal, fell by the hands of Idas, but Pollux slew Lynceus, and Zeus killed Idas by a flash of lightning. (Pind. Apollod. II. cc.; Tzetz. ad Lycoph. 1514 ; Theocrit. xxii. ; Hygin. Fab. 80, Poet. Astr. ii. 22.) Polydeuces then returned to his brother, whom he found breathing his last, and he prayed to Zeus, to be permitted to die with him. Zeus left him the option, either to live as his immortal son in Olympus, or to share his brother's fate, and to live, alternately, one day under the earth, and the other in the heavenly abodes of the gods. (Horn. //. iii. 243 ; Pind. Nem. x. in fin. ; Hygin. Fab. 251.) According to a different form of the story, Zeus rewarded the attachment of the two brothers by placing them among the stars as Gemini. (Hygin. Poet. Astr. I. c.; Schol. ad Eurip. Orest. 465.)

These heroic youths, who were also believed to have reigned as Kings of Sparta (Pans. iii. 1. § 5), received divine honours at Sparta, though not till forty years after their war with the sons of Apha­reus. (Paus. iii. 13. §,1.) M tiller (Dor. ii. 10. § 8) conceives that the worship of the Dioscuri had a double source, viz. the heroic honours of the human Tyndaridae, and the worship of some ancient Pelo-ponnesian deities, so that in the. process of time the attributes of the latter were transferred to the for­mer, viz. the name of the sons of Zeus, the birth from an egg, and the like. Their worship spread from Peloponnesus over Greece, Sicily, and Italy. (Paus. x. 33. § 3, 38. § 3.) Their principal characteristic was that of S-eol <rcoT??pes, that is, mighty helpers of man, whence they were sometimes called dvaices or dvcucTGs. (Plut. Thes. 33 ; Strab. v. p. 232 ; Aelian, V. H. i. 30, iv. 5 ; Aristoph, Lysistr. 1301 ; Paus. i. 31. § 1, viii. 21, in fin.) They were, how­ever, worshipped more especially as the protectors of travellers by sea, for Poseidon had rewarded their brotherly love by giving them power over wind and waves, that they might assist the shipwrecked. (Hygin. Poet. A sir. l.c ; Eurip. Helen. 1511 ; Horn. Hymn. xiii. 9 ; Strab. i. p. 48 ; Horat. Garni, i. 3. 2.) Out of this idea arose that of their being the protectors of travellers in general, and consequently of the law of hospitality also, the violation of which was punished severely by them. (Pans. iii. 16. § 3 ; Bockh, Explica-t. ad Pind. p. 135.) Their charac­ters as 7ri)£ dryaQos and t7r7ro5a/.tos were combined into one, and both, whenever they did appear, were seen riding on magnificent white steeds. They were further regarded, like Hermes and Heracles, as the presidents of the public games (Pind. O/.iii. 38, Nem. x. 53), and at Sparta their statues stood at the entrance of the race-course. (Paus. iii. 14. § 7.) They were further believed to have invented the war-dance, and warlike music, and poets and bards were favoured by them. (Cic. de Orat. ii. 86 ; Val. Maxim, i. 8. § 7.) Owing to their warlike charac­ter, it was customary at Sparta for the two kings, whenever they went out to war, to be accompanied by symbolic representations of the Dioscuri (So/cam $

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