In ancient Roman religion and myth, Faunus was the horned god of the forest and fields. He came to be equated in literature with the Greek god Pan. Faunus was one of the oldest Roman deities, known as the di indigetes. According to the epic poet Virgil, he was a legendary king of the Latins, his shade was consulted as a goddess of prophecy under the name of Fatuus, with oracles in the sacred grove of Tibur, around the well Albunea, on the Aventine Hill in ancient Rome itself. Marcus Terentius Varro asserted. Faunus revealed the future in dreams and voices that were communicated to those who came to sleep in his precincts, lying on the fleeces of sacrificed lambs. W. Warde Fowler suggested. Faunus is probably of Indo-European origin, which he shares with the Vedic god Rudra. There are a number of theories on the origin of the name Faunus. Most scholars of historical linguistics connect Faunus with the notion of divine favour. Faunus thus means propitious. Another theory claims that Faunus is the Latin outcome of a PIE *dhau-no- meaning "the strangler" and denotes the wolf.
According to D. Briquel it is that the Luceres, one of the three tribes of Rome, were Daunians from Ardea, as well as the characters of the Aeneis Mezentius and Metabus, who show a Daunian origin. A. Pasqualini agrees on the presence of a Daunian connection in the towns of Latium claiming a Diomedean descent. Moreover, it would seem that there is a sizable presence of Daunians in Campania. Festus 106 L records a king Lucerus. Moreover, Oscan epithet Lucetius should be interpreted as related to the Luceres, he lists the Leucaria mother of Romos, Jupiter Lucetius, toponyms Leucasia /Leucaria near Paestum, the ethnonym Lucani. Though Briquel is unaware that the etymology of both "Luceres", Leucaria and Dauni is from a word meaning wolf and therefore different from that of Leucesius/Lucetius, i.e. from IE from *luq, not from *leuk light: compare Hirpini and Dauni. Daunos according to Walde Hoffmann is from IE root *dhau to strangle, meaning the strangler, epithet of the wolf: cfr. Greek thaunos, thērion Hes.
Phrygian dáos, lykos Hes. Latin Faunus. According to Alessio Latins and Umbrians both did not name the wolf because of a religious taboo, thence their use of loanwords such as lupus in Latin and the Umbrians hirpos male goat instead of expected *lupos, whence herpex for hirpex tool in the shape of wolf teeth. In fable Faunus appears as an old king of Latium, grandson of Saturnus, son of Picus, father of Latinus by the nymph Marica. After his death he is raised to the position of a tutelary deity of the land, for his many services to agriculture and cattle-breeding. A goddess of like attributes, called Fauna and Fatua, was associated in his worship, she was regarded as wife, or sister. The female deity Bona Dea was equated with Fauna; as Pan was accompanied by the Paniskoi, or little Pans, so the existence of many Fauni was assumed besides the chief Faunus. Fauns are place-spirits of untamed woodland. Educated, Hellenizing Romans connected their fauns with the Greek satyrs, who were wild and orgiastic drunken followers of Dionysus, with a distinct origin.
With the increasing Hellenization of literate upper-class Roman culture in the 3rd and 2nd–centuries BC, the Romans tried to equate their own deities with Greek ones, applying in reverse the Greeks' own interpretatio graeca. Faunus was equated with the god Pan, a pastoral god of shepherds, said to reside in Arcadia. Pan had always been depicted with horns and as such many depictions of Faunus began to display this trait. However, the two deities were considered separate by many, for instance, the epic poet Virgil, in his Aeneid, made mention of both Faunus and Pan independently. In Justin's epitome, Faunus is identified with Lupercus, otherwise a priest of Faunus. Livy named Inuus as the god worshiped at the Lupercalia, February 15, when his priests wore goat-skins and hit passers-by with goatskin whips. Two festivals, called Faunalia, were celebrated in his honour—one on February 13, in the temple of Faunus on the island in the Tiber, the other on 5 December, when the peasants brought him rustic offerings and amused themselves with dancing.
A euhemeristic account made Faunus a Latin king, son of Picus and Canens. He was revered as the god Fatuus after his death, worshipped in a sacred forest outside what is now Tivoli, but had been known since Etruscan times as Tibur, the seat of the Tiburtine Sibyl, his numinous presence was recognized with wreaths and goblets. In Nonnos' Dionysiaca, Faunus/Phaunos accompanied Dionysus. Faunus was worshipped across the Roman Empire for many centuries. An example of this was a set of thirty-two 4th-century spoons found near Thetford in England in 1979, they had been engraved with the name "Faunus", each had a different epithet after the god's name. The spoons bore Christian symbols, it has been suggested that these were Christian but taken and devoted to Faunus by pagans; the 4th century was a time of large scale Chri
In ancient Roman religion, a votum, plural vota, is a vow or promise made to a deity. The word comes from the past participle of the Latin verb voveo, vovere, "vow, promise"; as the result of this verbal action, a votum is that which fulfills a vow, that is, the thing promised, such as offerings, a statue, or a temple building. The votum is thus an aspect of the contractual nature of Roman religion, a bargaining expressed by do ut des, "I give that you might give." In everyday life, individuals might make votive offerings to a deity for private concerns. Vota privata are attested in abundance by inscriptions for the Imperial era; these are marked with the letters V. S. L. M. Votum solvit libens merito, noting that the person making the dedication "He has fulfilled his vow, willingly, as it should." William Warde Fowler found in these offerings "expressions of … religious feeling" and a gratitude for blessings received that go deeper than contractual formalism. During the Republican era, the votum was a regular part of ceremonies conducted at the Capitoline by a general holding imperium before deploying.
The triumph with its dedication of spoils and animal sacrifices at the Capitol was in part a fulfillment of such a vow. A general who faced an uncertain outcome in battle might make a votum in the field promising to build a temple out of gratitude for divine aid in a victory. In 311 BC, Junius Bubulcus became the first plebeian general to vow and oversee the building of a temple. A vow would be made in connection with the ritual of evocatio, negotiations with the enemy's tutelary deity to offer superior cult. An extreme form of votum was the devotio, the ritual by which a general sacrificed himself in battle and asked the chthonic deities to take the enemy as offerings along with him. In the Republic, vota pro salute rei publicae were offered at the beginning of the year, on the day the consuls took office. Under the Empire, the people assembled on January 3 to offer collective vows for the salus of the emperor. Offerings were made to Jupiter, Juno and sometimes other deities; these vows originated in 30 BC.
The vota for the state continued on January 1, while those on behalf of the emperor and his family became fixed on January 3. In Rome, these ceremonies were conducted by the consuls and pontiffs, in the provinces by governors and local priests and officials. Vota publica continued after Christianity had become the official religion of the Empire, as late as the 6th century; because the vows were as much affirmations of political loyalty as religious expressions, they were difficult to abolish without undermining the sacral aura of the emperor's authority. Ex-voto
Religion in ancient Rome
Religion in Ancient Rome includes the ancestral ethnic religion of the city of Rome that the Romans used to define themselves as a people, as well as the religious practices of peoples brought under Roman rule, in so far as they became followed in Rome and Italy. The Romans thought of themselves as religious, attributed their success as a world power to their collective piety in maintaining good relations with the gods; the Romans are known for the great number of deities they honored, a capacity that earned the mockery of early Christian polemicists. The presence of Greeks on the Italian peninsula from the beginning of the historical period influenced Roman culture, introducing some religious practices that became as fundamental as the cult of Apollo; the Romans looked for common ground between their major gods and those of the Greeks, adapting Greek myths and iconography for Latin literature and Roman art, as the Etruscans had. Etruscan religion was a major influence on the practice of augury.
According to legends, most of Rome's religious institutions could be traced to its founders Numa Pompilius, the Sabine second king of Rome, who negotiated directly with the gods. This archaic religion was the foundation of the mos maiorum, "the way of the ancestors" or "tradition", viewed as central to Roman identity. Roman religion was practical and contractual, based on the principle of do ut des, "I give that you might give". Religion depended on knowledge and the correct practice of prayer and sacrifice, not on faith or dogma, although Latin literature preserves learned speculation on the nature of the divine and its relation to human affairs; the most skeptical among Rome's intellectual elite such as Cicero, an augur, saw religion as a source of social order. As the Roman Empire expanded, migrants to the capital brought their local cults, many of which became popular among Italians. Christianity was in the end the most successful of these, in 380 became the official state religion. For ordinary Romans, religion was a part of daily life.
Each home had a household shrine at which prayers and libations to the family's domestic deities were offered. Neighborhood shrines and sacred places such as springs and groves dotted the city; the Roman calendar was structured around religious observances. Women and children all participated in a range of religious activities; some public rituals could be conducted only by women, women formed what is Rome's most famous priesthood, the state-supported Vestals, who tended Rome's sacred hearth for centuries, until disbanded under Christian domination. The priesthoods of public religion were held by members of the elite classes. There was no principle analogous to separation of state in ancient Rome. During the Roman Republic, the same men who were elected public officials might serve as augurs and pontiffs. Priests married, raised families, led politically active lives. Julius Caesar became pontifex maximus; the augurs read the will of the gods and supervised the marking of boundaries as a reflection of universal order, thus sanctioning Roman expansionism as a matter of divine destiny.
The Roman triumph was at its core a religious procession in which the victorious general displayed his piety and his willingness to serve the public good by dedicating a portion of his spoils to the gods Jupiter, who embodied just rule. As a result of the Punic Wars, when Rome struggled to establish itself as a dominant power, many new temples were built by magistrates in fulfillment of a vow to a deity for assuring their military success; as the Romans extended their dominance throughout the Mediterranean world, their policy in general was to absorb the deities and cults of other peoples rather than try to eradicate them, since they believed that preserving tradition promoted social stability. One way that Rome incorporated diverse peoples was by supporting their religious heritage, building temples to local deities that framed their theology within the hierarchy of Roman religion. Inscriptions throughout the Empire record the side-by-side worship of local and Roman deities, including dedications made by Romans to local gods.
By the height of the Empire, numerous international deities were cultivated at Rome and had been carried to the most remote provinces, among them Cybele, Isis and gods of solar monism such as Mithras and Sol Invictus, found as far north as Roman Britain. Foreign religions attracted devotees among Romans, who had ancestry from elsewhere in the Empire. Imported mystery religions, which offered initiates salvation in the afterlife, were a matter of personal choice for an individual, practiced in addition to carrying on one's family rites and participating in public religion; the mysteries, involved exclusive oaths and secrecy, conditions that conservative Romans viewed with suspicion as characteristic of "magic", conspiratorial, or subversive activity. Sporadic and sometimes brutal attempts were made to suppress religionists who seemed to threaten traditional morality and unity, as with the senate's efforts to restrict the Bacchanals in 186 BC; because Romans had never been obligated to cultivate one god or one cult only, religious tolerance was not an issue in the sense that it is for competing monotheistic systems.
The monotheistic rigor of Judaism posed difficulties for Roman policy that led at times to compromise and the granting of special exemptions, but sometimes to intractable conflict. For example, religious disputes helped cause the First Jewish -- the Bar Kokhba revolt. In the wake of the Republic's collapse, state religion had adapted to support the new reg
In classical mythology, Cupid is the god of desire, erotic love and affection. He is portrayed as the son of the love goddess Venus and the war god Mars, he is known in Latin as Amor. His Greek counterpart is Eros. Although Eros is portrayed as a slender winged youth in Classical Greek art, during the Hellenistic period, he was portrayed as a chubby boy. During this time, his iconography acquired the bow and arrow that represent his source of power: a person, or a deity, shot by Cupid's arrow is filled with uncontrollable desire. In myths, Cupid is a minor character who serves to set the plot in motion, he is a main character only in the tale of Cupid and Psyche, when wounded by his own weapons, he experiences the ordeal of love. Although other extended stories are not told about him, his tradition is rich in poetic themes and visual scenarios, such as "Love conquers all" and the retaliatory punishment or torture of Cupid. In art, Cupid appears in multiples as the Amores, or amorini in the terminology of art history, the equivalent of the Greek erotes.
Cupids are a frequent motif of both Roman art and Western art of the classical tradition. In the 15th century, the iconography of Cupid starts to become indistinguishable from the putto. Cupid continued to be a popular figure in the Middle Ages, when under Christian influence he had a dual nature as Heavenly and Earthly love. In the Renaissance, a renewed interest in classical philosophy endowed him with complex allegorical meanings. In contemporary popular culture, Cupid is shown drawing his bow to inspire romantic love as an icon of Valentine's Day; the Romans reinterpreted myths and concepts pertaining to the Greek Eros for Cupid in their own literature and art, medieval and Renaissance mythographers conflate the two freely. In the Greek tradition, Eros had a contradictory genealogy, he was among the primordial gods. In Hesiod's Theogony, only Chaos and Gaia are older. Before the existence of gender dichotomy, Eros functioned by causing entities to separate from themselves that which they contained.
At the same time, the Eros, pictured as a boy or slim youth was regarded as the child of a divine couple, the identity of whom varied by source. The influential Renaissance mythographer Natale Conti began his chapter on Cupid/Eros by declaring that the Greeks themselves were unsure about his parentage: Heaven and Earth and Aphrodite, Night and Ether, or Strife and Zephyr; the Greek travel writer Pausanias, he notes, contradicts himself by saying at one point that Eros welcomed Aphrodite into the world, at another that Eros was the son of Aphrodite and the youngest of the gods. In Latin literature, Cupid is treated as the son of Venus without reference to a father. Seneca says. Cicero, says that there were three Cupids, as well as three Venuses: the first Cupid was the son of Mercury and Diana, the second of Mercury and the second Venus, the third of Mars and the third Venus; this last Cupid was the equivalent of Anteros, "Counter-Love," one of the Erotes, the gods who embody aspects of love.
The multiple Cupids frolicking in art are the decorative manifestation of these proliferating loves and desires. During the English Renaissance, Christopher Marlowe wrote of "ten thousand Cupids". In the classical tradition, Cupid is most regarded as the son of Venus and Mars, whose love affair represented an allegory of Love and War; the duality between the primordial and the sexually conceived Eros accommodated philosophical concepts of Heavenly and Earthly Love in the Christian era. Cupid is winged because lovers are flighty and to change their minds, boyish because love is irrational, his symbols are the arrow and torch, "because love wounds and inflames the heart." These attributes and their interpretation were established by late antiquity, as summarized by Isidore of Seville in his Etymologiae. Cupid is sometimes depicted blindfolded and described as blind, not so much in the sense of sightless—since the sight of the beloved can be a spur to love—as blinkered and arbitrary; as described by Shakespeare in A Midsummer Night's Dream: In Botticelli's Allegory of Spring known by its Italian title La Primavera, Cupid is shown blindfolded while shooting his arrow, positioned above the central figure of Venus.
In ancient Roman art, cupids may carry or be surrounded by fruits, animals, or attributes of the Seasons or the wine-god Dionysus, symbolizing the earth's generative capacity. Cupid carries two kinds of arrows, or darts, one with a sharp golden point, the other with a blunt tip of lead. A person wounded by the golden arrow is filled with uncontrollable desire, but the one struck by the lead feels aversion and desires only to flee; the use of these arrows is described by the Latin poet Ovid in the first book of his Metamorphoses. When Apollo taunts Cupid as the lesser archer, Cupid shoots him with the golden arrow, but strikes the object of his desire, the nymph Daphne, with the lead. Trapped by Apollo's unwanted advances, Daphne prays to her father, the river god Peneus, who turns her into a laurel, the tree sacred to Apollo, it is the first of several tragic love affairs for Apollo. A variation is found in The Kingis Quair, a 15th-century poem attributed to James I of Scotland, in which Cupid has three arrows: gold, for a gentle "smiting", cured
Jupiter known as Jove, was the god of the sky and thunder and king of the gods in Ancient Roman religion and mythology. Jupiter was the chief deity of Roman state religion throughout the Republican and Imperial eras, until Christianity became the dominant religion of the Empire. In Roman mythology, he negotiates with Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome, to establish principles of Roman religion such as offering, or sacrifice. Jupiter is thought to have originated as an aerial god, his identifying implement is the thunderbolt and his primary sacred animal is the eagle, which held precedence over other birds in the taking of auspices and became one of the most common symbols of the Roman army. The two emblems were combined to represent the god in the form of an eagle holding in its claws a thunderbolt seen on Greek and Roman coins; as the sky-god, he was a divine witness to oaths, the sacred trust on which justice and good government depend. Many of his functions were focused on the Capitoline Hill.
In the Capitoline Triad, he was the central guardian of the state with Minerva. His sacred tree was the oak; the Romans regarded Jupiter as the equivalent of the Greek Zeus, in Latin literature and Roman art, the myths and iconography of Zeus are adapted under the name Iuppiter. In the Greek-influenced tradition, Jupiter was the brother of Neptune and Pluto, the Roman equivalents of Poseidon and Hades respectively; each presided over one of the three realms of the universe: sky, the waters, the underworld. The Italic Diespiter was a sky god who manifested himself in the daylight identified with Jupiter. Tinia is regarded as his Etruscan counterpart; the Romans believed that Jupiter granted them supremacy because they had honoured him more than any other people had. Jupiter was "the fount of the auspices upon which the relationship of the city with the gods rested." He personified the divine authority of Rome's highest offices, internal organization, external relations. His image in the Republican and Imperial Capitol bore regalia associated with Rome's ancient kings and the highest consular and Imperial honours.
The consuls swore their oath of office in Jupiter's name, honoured him on the annual feriae of the Capitol in September. To thank him for his help, they offered him a white ox with gilded horns. A similar offering was made by triumphal generals, who surrendered the tokens of their victory at the feet of Jupiter's statue in the Capitol; some scholars have viewed the triumphator as embodying Jupiter in the triumphal procession. Jupiter's association with kingship and sovereignty was reinterpreted as Rome's form of government changed. Rome was ruled by kings. Nostalgia for the kingship was considered treasonous; those suspected of harbouring monarchical ambitions were punished, regardless of their service to the state. In the 5th century BC, the triumphator Camillus was sent into exile after he drove a chariot with a team of four white horses —an honour reserved for Jupiter himself; when Marcus Manlius, whose defense of the Capitol against the invading Gauls had earned him the name Capitolinus, was accused of regal pretensions, he was executed as a traitor by being cast from the Tarpeian Rock.
His house on the Capitoline Hill was razed, it was decreed that no patrician should be allowed to live there. Capitoline Jupiter found himself in a delicate position: he represented a continuity of royal power from the Regal period, conferred power on the magistrates who paid their respects to him. During the Conflict of the Orders, Rome's plebeians demanded the right to hold political and religious office. During their first secessio, they threatened to found their own; when they agreed to come back to Rome they vowed the hill where they had retreated to Jupiter as symbol and guarantor of the unity of the Roman res publica. Plebeians became eligible for all the magistracies and most priesthoods, but the high priest of Jupiter remained the preserve of patricians. Jupiter was served by the patrician Flamen Dialis, the highest-ranking member of the flamines, a college of fifteen priests in the official public cult of Rome, each of whom was devoted to a particular deity, his wife, the Flaminica Dialis, had her own duties, presided over the sacrifice of a ram to Jupiter on each of the nundinae, the "market" days of a calendar cycle, comparable to a week.
The couple were required to marry by the exclusive patrician ritual confarreatio, which included a sacrifice of spelt bread to Jupiter Farreus. The office of Flamen Dialis was circumscribed by several unique ritual prohibitions, some of which shed light on the sovereign nature of the god himself. For instance, the flamen may remove his clothes or apex only when under a roof, in order to avoid showing himself naked to the sky—that is, "as if under the eyes of Jupiter" as god of the heavens; every time the Flaminica saw a lightning bolt or heard a clap of thunder, she was prohibited from carrying on with her normal routine until she placated the god. Some privileges of the flamen of Jupiter may reflect the regal nature of Jupiter: he had the use of the curule chair, was the
In ancient Roman religion, Ceres was a goddess of agriculture, grain crops and motherly relationships. She was the central deity in Rome's so-called plebeian or Aventine Triad was paired with her daughter Proserpina in what Romans described as "the Greek rites of Ceres", her seven-day April festival of Cerealia included the popular Ludi Ceriales. She was honoured in the May lustratio of the fields at the Ambarvalia festival, at harvest-time, during Roman marriages and funeral rites. Ceres is the only one of Rome's many agricultural deities to be listed among the Dii Consentes, Rome's equivalent to the Twelve Olympians of Greek mythology; the Romans saw her as the counterpart of the Greek goddess Demeter, whose mythology was reinterpreted for Ceres in Roman art and literature. Ceres' name derives from the reconstructed Proto-Indo-European root *ḱerh₃-, meaning "to satiate, to feed", the root for Latin crescere "to grow" and through it, the English words create and increase. Roman etymologists thought ceres derived from the Latin verb gerere, "to bear, bring forth, produce", because the goddess was linked to pastoral and human fertility.
Archaic cults to Ceres are well-evidenced among Rome's neighbours in the Regal period, including the ancient Latins and Sabellians, less among the Etruscans and Umbrians. An archaic Faliscan inscription of c. 600 BC asks her to provide far, a dietary staple of the Mediterranean world. Throughout the Roman era, Ceres' name was synonymous with grain and, by extension, with bread. Ceres was credited with the discovery of spelt wheat, the yoking of oxen and ploughing, the sowing and nourishing of the young seed, the gift of agriculture to humankind, she had the power to fertilise and fructify plant and animal seed, her laws and rites protected all activities of the agricultural cycle. In January, Ceres was offered spelt wheat and a pregnant sow, along with the earth-goddess Tellus, at the movable Feriae Sementivae; this was certainly held before the annual sowing of grain. The divine portion of sacrifice was the entrails presented in an earthenware pot. In a rural context, Cato the Elder describes the offer to Ceres of a porca praecidanea.
Before the harvest, she was offered a propitiary grain sample. Ovid tells that Ceres "is content with little, provided that her offerings are casta". Ceres' main festival, was held from mid to late April, it included circus games. It opened with a horse-race in the Circus Maximus, whose starting point lay below and opposite to her Aventine Temple. After the race, foxes were released into the Circus, their tails ablaze with lighted torches to cleanse the growing crops and protect them from disease and vermin, or to add warmth and vitality to their growth. From c.175 BC, Cerealia included ludi scaenici through April 12 to 18. In the ancient sacrum cereale a priest the Flamen Cerialis, invoked Ceres along with twelve specialised, minor assistant-gods to secure divine help and protection at each stage of the grain cycle, beginning shortly before the Feriae Sementivae. W. H. Roscher lists these deities among the indigitamenta, names used to invoke specific divine functions. Vervactor, "He who ploughs" Reparator, "He who prepares the earth" Imporcitor, "He who ploughs with a wide furrow" Insitor, "He who plants seeds" Obarator, "He who traces the first ploughing" Occator, "He who harrows" Serritor, "He who digs" Subruncinator, "He who weeds" Messor, "He who reaps" Conuector, "He who carries the grain" Conditor, "He who stores the grain" Promitor, "He who distributes the grain" In Roman bridal processions, a young boy carried Ceres' torch to light the way.
The adult males of the wedding party waited at the groom's house. A wedding sacrifice was offered to Tellus on the bride's behalf. Varro describes the sacrifice of a pig as "a worthy mark of weddings" because "our women, nurses" call the female genitalia porcus. Spaeth believes Ceres may have been included in the sacrificial dedication, because she is identified with Tellus and, as Ceres legifera, she "bears the laws" of marriage. In the most solemn form of marriage, the bride and groom shared a cake made of far, the ancient wheat-type associated with Ceres. From at least the mid-republican era, an official, joint cult to Ceres and Proserpina reinforced Ceres' connection with Roman ideals of female virtue; the promotion of this cult coincides with the rise of a plebeian nobility, an increased birthrate among plebeian commoners, a fall in the birthrate among patrician families. The late Republican Ceres Mater is described as alma. Several of Ceres' ancient Italic precursors are motherhood. Ceres was patron and protector of plebeian laws and Tribunes
Castor and Pollux
Castor and Pollux were twin half-brothers in Greek and Roman mythology, known together as the Dioscuri. Their mother was Leda. Though accounts of their birth are varied, they are sometimes said to have been born from an egg, along with their twin sisters Helen of Troy and Clytemnestra. In Latin the twins are known as the Gemini or Castores, as well as the Tyndaridae or Tyndarids; when Castor was killed, Pollux asked Zeus to let him share his own immortality with his twin to keep them together, they were transformed into the constellation Gemini. The pair were regarded as the patrons of sailors, they were associated with horsemanship, due to the idea that they rode the'white horses' of foam that were formed by curling ocean waves. There is much contradictory information regarding the parentage of the Dioscuri. In the Homeric Odyssey, they are the sons of Tyndareus alone, but they were sons of Zeus in the Hesiodic Catalogue; the conventional account combined these paternities so that only Pollux was fathered by Zeus, while Leda and her husband Tyndareus conceived Castor.
This explains. The figure of Tyndareus may have entered their tradition to explain their archaic name Tindaridai in Spartan inscriptions, or Tyndaridai in literature, in turn occasioning incompatible accounts of their parentage, their other sisters were Timandra and Philonoe. Castor and Pollux are sometimes both mortal, sometimes both divine. One consistent point is. In Homer's Iliad, Helen looks down from the walls of Troy and wonders why she does not see her brothers among the Achaeans; the narrator remarks that they are both dead and buried back in their homeland of Lacedaemon, thus suggesting that at least in some early traditions, both were mortal. Their death and shared immortality offered by Zeus was material of the lost Cypria in the Epic cycle; the Dioscuri were regarded as helpers of humankind and held to be patrons of travellers and of sailors in particular, who invoked them to seek favourable winds. Their role as horsemen and boxers led to them being regarded as the patrons of athletes and athletic contests.
They characteristically intervened at the moment of crisis, aiding those who honoured or trusted them. Ancient Greek authors tell a number of versions of the story of Pollux. Homer portrays them as ordinary mortals, treating them as dead in the Iliad, but in the Odyssey they are treated as alive though "the corn-bearing earth holds them"; the author describes them as "having honour equal to gods", living on alternate days because of the intervention of Zeus. In both the Odyssey and in Hesiod, they are described as the sons of Leda. In Pindar, Pollux is the son of Zeus; the theme of ambiguous parentage is not unique to Pollux. The Dioscuri are invoked in Alcaeus' Fragment 34a, though whether this poem antedates the Homeric Hymn to the twins is unknown, they appear together in two plays by Euripides and Elektra. Cicero tells the story of how Simonides of Ceos was rebuked by Scopas, his patron, for devoting too much space to praising Castor and Pollux in an ode celebrating Scopas' victory in a chariot race.
Shortly afterwards, Simonides was told. Both Dioscuri were excellent horsemen and hunters who participated in the hunting of the Calydonian Boar and joined the crew of Jason's ship, the Argo. During the expedition of the Argonauts, Pollux took part in a boxing contest and defeated King Amycus of the Bebryces, a savage mythical people in Bithynia. After returning from the voyage, the Dioscuri helped Jason and Peleus to destroy the city of Iolcus in revenge for the treachery of its king Pelias; when their sister Helen was abducted by Theseus, the half-brothers invaded his kingdom of Attica to rescue her. In revenge they abducted Theseus's mother Aethra and took her to Sparta while setting his rival, Menestheus, on the throne of Athens. Aethra was forced to become Helen's slave, she was returned to her home by her grandsons Demophon and Acamas after the fall of Troy. Castor and Pollux aspired to marry the Leucippides and Hilaeira, whose father was a brother of Leucippus. Both women were betrothed to cousins of the Dioscuri, the twin brothers Lynceus and Idas of Thebes, sons of Tyndareus's brother Aphareus.
Castor and Pollux carried the women off to Sparta. This began a family feud among the four sons of the brothers Aphareus; the cousins carried out a cattle-raid in Arcadia together but fell out over the division of the meat. After stealing the herd, but before dividing it, the cousins butchered and roasted a calf; as they prepared to eat, the gigantic Idas suggested that the herd be divided into two parts instead of four, based on which pair of cousins finished their meal first. Castor and Pollux agreed. Idas ate both his portion and Lynceus' portion. Castor and Pollux had been duped, they allo