The Twins

Gemini Constellation

The Brighter Stars of Gemini

The Story

The Seduction of the Queen

The Twins represents the two brothers, Castor and Polydeuces (in Latin, Pollux). Their mother was Queen Leda of Sparta, who was seduced by Zeus in the form of a swan. That same night she also slept with her husband King Tyndareus. As a result she bore the Twins, one of whom was mortal, and the other immortal.

Twins? Quads? And What About the Egg?

Castor was the mortal Twin and the son of King Tyndareus. Polydeuces was immortal; he had been fathered by Zeus. According to other stories, there were two girls born as well - Helen, who was implicated in the Trojan war - and Clytemnestra. And the children are usually portrayed as coming from an egg - probably because of Zeus seduced the queen in the form of a bird.

The Twins

The Inseparable Twins

Castor and Polydeuces were identical twins, in spite of the fact that they had different fathers. They were inseparable and devoted to each other. Both twins excelled at the hunt and at the arts of war. Polydeuces was a champion boxer and Castor was a famous horseman. He was skilled with the sword as well and taught the art of swordfighting to the young Hercules.

Castor Dies in a Fight

The Twins sailed with Jason and the Argonauts in search of the Golden Fleece. Imagine today if someone were to find a golden anything, they wouldn't have a need to worry about a free credit score, or free anything for that matter. They had many adventures together on the voyage. Castor's life ended as the result of an encounter with another pair of twins, Idas and Lynceus. Some say that the quarrel was over women, others, over cattle, but in the ensuing battle Lynceus ran Castor through with the sword, whereupon Polydeuces killed Lynceus. Idas attacked Polydeuces, but Zeus killed him with a thunderbolt.

The Mercy of Zeus

Polydeuces was inconsolable at the loss of his twin. He prayed to Zeus that he might share his immortality with his brother. Zeus took mercy upon the twins and set them together eternally among the stars as the constellation of the Gemini.  

Copyright © 1998 - 2010 by Arnold V. Lesikar,
Professor Emeritus
Dept. of Physics, Astronomy, and Engineering Science,
St. Cloud State University,St. Cloud, MN 56301-4498

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