Dioscuri

/duy'euh skyoor"uy/, n.pl. Class. Myth.
Castor and Pollux, the twin sons of Zeus and Leda.

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(from Greek dioskouroi, "sons of Zeus") Twin gods of ancient Greece and Rome.

They aided shipwrecked sailors and accepted sacrifices for favorable winds. Castor was mortal and Pollux was immortal; when Castor was killed, Pollux disowned his immortality to join his brother. Zeus later changed them into the constellation Gemini. They were believed to have aided the Romans in an important battle early in their history, and a temple in their honour was built in the Roman Forum.

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▪ Greco-Roman deities
also called (in French)  Castor and Polydeuces  and (in Latin)  Castor and Pollux 

      (Dioscuri from Greek Dioskouroi, “Sons of Zeus”), in Greek and Roman mythology, twin deities who succoured shipwrecked sailors and received sacrifices for favourable winds. They were the children of Leda and either Zeus, the king of the gods, or Tyndareus, Leda's mortal husband and the king of Lacedaemon. According to the usual version, Castor was the son of Tyndareus and thus was mortal, while Pollux was the son of Zeus (who famously had approached Leda in the form of a swan).

      Both brothers were fine horsemen, and Pollux was an unrivaled boxer. They took part in the hunting of the Calydonian boar (see Meleager) and in the voyage of the Argo (see Argonaut). When their sister Helen was abducted by Theseus, they invaded Attica and recovered her. They carried off the daughters of Leucippus, Phoebe and Hileira, and were confronted by Leucippus's nephews, Idas and Lynceus. Castor was murdered by Idas, but Pollux killed Lynceus; in retribution Zeus killed Idas with a thunderbolt. Zeus then gave Pollux the choice between spending all his time on Olympus or giving half of his immortality to his mortal brother, so that they could alternate realms together. Pollux elected to share his immortality. In one version of the story, they became the constellation Gemini (though several different pairs are associated with the constellation).

      The introduction of their cult at Rome goes back traditionally to 484 BC. The building of their temple in the Forum followed a vow of Aulus Postumius at the battle of Lake Regillus, where, according to legend, the Dioscuri fought on the side of the Romans and carried the news of victory to Rome. As horsemen, they were especially attractive to the Roman equites, the equestrian order or knights, and to the cavalry. In art the twins are represented as two youths, usually horsemen, holding spears and wearing helmets; their image appeared on early Roman coins.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • DIOSCURI — a Graecis dicuntur Castor et Pollux, quos antiquitas credidit salutares esse navigantibus, si Gemini apparerent (apparent autem ignis specie antennae aut malo insidentes) contra tristes, si singuli. Dioscuri apud Graecos, inquit Cic. l. 3. de Nat …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • dioscuri — DIOSCÚRI s.m.pl. (Mit.) Supranumele lui Castor şi Polux. [< fr. dioscures < gr. dioskouroi – copiii lui Zeus]. Trimis de LauraGellner, 22.02.2005. Sursa: DN  DIOSCÚRI s. m. pl. (mit.) supranumele a două divinităţi străvechi (Castor şi… …   Dicționar Român

  • Dioscuri — from Gk. Dioskouroi, lit. Zeus boys, from Dios, gen. of Zeus (see ZEUS (Cf. Zeus)) + kouroi, pl. of kouros boy, son (see CRESCENT (Cf. crescent)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • Dioscuri — [dī΄äs kyoor′ī΄] pl.n. [Gr Dioskouroi < Dios (gen. of Zeus) + kouroi, pl. of kouros, boy, son] Gr. Myth. Castor and Pollux, twin sons of Leda …   English World dictionary

  • Dioscuri —    Dios kuroi, significa figli di Zeus. Nella mitologia greca ci sono due coppie di gemelli a portare questo nome; Anfione e Zeto, chiamati Diòscuri tebani; Castore e Polluce i Diòscuri spartani. In ogni caso i Diòscuri cantati dai poeti per l… …   Dizionario dei miti e dei personaggi della Grecia antica

  • Dioscuri — Castor and Pollux, AV, REB; the twin brothers, NRSV; the Twins, NJB (Acts 28:11); the figurehead of the ship which took Paul to Rome. There were temples to the Dioscuri in Athens and in Rome, and they were held to be the protectors of travellers …   Dictionary of the Bible

  • Dioscuri — noun plural Etymology: New Latin, from Greek Dioskouroi, literally, sons of Zeus, from Dios (genitive of Zeus; akin to Latin divus divine) + kouroi, plural of kouros, koros boy more at deity, crescent Date: 1640 the twins Castor and Pollux… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Dioscuri — noun The twin brothers Castor and Pollux together …   Wiktionary

  • DIOSCURI —    The twin sons of Zeus and Leda, translated into Etruscan in the late sixth century as Tinas cliniiar, or separately in the fifth century as Castur and Pultuce. They appear separately or as pairs, wearing a hat, as a master or horses, or… …   Historical Dictionary of the Etruscans

  • DIOSCURI —    twin sons of Zeus, Castor and Pollux, a stalwart pair of youths, of the Doric stock, great the former as a horse breaker and the latter as a boxer; were worshipped at Sparta as guardians of the State, and pre eminently as patrons of… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

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