Wednesday, 15 July 2020

tempio dei dioscuri

On this day—the ides of July, fulling a tribute pledged for a decisive military victory for the young Republic in rebuffing the forces of the exiled king, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, and his allied forces in the native Latin tribes during the Battle of Lake Regillius made by then dictator Aulus Postumius Albus Regillensis (his surname a consequence of the conquest), one of the consul’s sons was appointed magistrate (duumvirs) to dedicate the temple to Castor and Pollux, the twin half-brothers—Castor’s dad the mortal, Tyndareus, king of Sparta but Pollux was the son of Zeus who had seduced their mother Leda in the form of a swan (some accounts have him or both born from an egg and is a classic example of what’s called heteropaternal superfecundation, albeit in divine form like the Capitoline Wolf that reared Romulus and Remus) in central Rome in 484 BC.
Reportedly the brothers appeared on horseback in the midst of battle and fought ably for the Republic. They reappeared after the fighting was over to herald victory, watering their horses at a fountain in the forum called the Spring of Juturna (Lacus Juturnรฆ)—well before the news could be borne by mortal feet, and the temple was built on that spot. Only the distinctive three columns remain though the cult was spread through the empire and other sites are extant. The Dioscuri were transformed into the constellation Gemini so the twins would not be separated in death and were the siblings of twin sisters, Helen of Troy (possibly also ab ovo since the paternity of Helen was also the mighty Zeus) and Clytemnestra.