Study Guide

The Dioscuri (Castor and Pollux)

Introduction

These days we can't get enough of stars, right? We ogle them on TV screens, movie screens, magazine covers, packed stadiums, and the paparazzi hound them everywhere they go. We've got all kinds of stars these days—movie stars, sports stars, rock stars, pop stars—you name it. Even if you aren't one of those people who are totally addicted to pop culture, we're guessing you've got some famous person who you admire out there. A long dead writer, musician, or artist maybe?

There's no doubt that Castor and Pollux, a.k.a. the Dioscuri, were major stars back in the ancient world. Back in the day, they took star worship to the next level. They like, literally worshiped them. The Dioscuri were thought of as more than just awesome heroes who did a lot of cool stuff like, for starters, get hatched from from an egg, and go on epic quests like the Quest for the Fleece and the Calydonian Boar Hunt. These dudes were so popular they actually became gods and were eventually awarded by becoming the real stars of the constellation Gemini. (Beat that, Justin Bieber.)

Best of the Web

The Dioscuri (Castor and Pollux) Resources

Movie or TV Productions

Hercules (the animated series)
In this Disnified version of the life of young Hercules, the Dioscuri help rescue their sister Helen when she's kidnapped by the rival Trojan basketball team.

Xena: Warrior Princess
Castor and Pollux get involved when Aphrodite switches Xena into the body of a dying girl in an episode called "Little Problems." (Sounds like a big problem to us.)

Jason and the Argonauts
The Dioscuri set sail with Jason and his famous crew on the Quest for the Golden Fleece in this TV miniseries.

Helen of Troy
Pollux pops up in this TV miniseries about his sexy sister. (Wait, where's Castor?)

Audio

Iliad for Your Ears
Listen closely and you'll hear Helen wondering where her twin bros are while she's looking out a the Greek army from the walls of Troy.

Books

Castor and Pollux: The Fighting Twins
You've got to check out this fun illustrated version of the story for kids.

Helen by Euripides
The Dioscuri take their bow in this ancient play by Euripides.

Electra by Euripides
Euripides gives the Dioscuri another turn on stage in this bloody tragedy.

Fasti by Ovid
You can read a big chunk of the Dioscuri's story in this poem.

The Argonautica by Apollonius Rhodius
Pollux punches out a barbarian king in this epic poem about the Quest for the Golden Fleece.

The Nemean Odes by Pindar
You can get the low down on the death of the Dioscuri in this ancient poem.

Images

Hatchlings
Being born from eggs didn't make them chicken.

Tell the Truth
Which one is cuter?

Guess Who?
Castor or Pollux? We're not telling.

Naked Horseback Riding
Don't knock it till you've tried it.

Kidnapping Their Wives
OK, so maybe it wasn't the most romantic way to get hitched.