The Pelopids. Although the race of Pelopids took

Leda. Leda had been brought to bed with two eggs from one of which issued Pollux and Helen, regarded as the children of Zeus, and from the other Castor and Clytemnestra, who were reputed to be the children of Tyndareus. In spite of their different paternity Castor and Pollux were both qualified as Dioscuri, which meant young sons of Zeus. They always lived on terms of close friendship. The semi-divine character of the Dioscuri has been explained by A. H. Krappe as the superstition which surrounds the birth of twins among most primitive peoples. The phenomenon, being not common, was interpreted either as ill-omened – hence the persecutions often inflicted on twins and their mother- or as fortunate. In either event the anomaly was justified by assuming that one at least of the children was of divine origin; this was the case with Hercules and Iphicles, and also with Castor and Pollux. Among the exploits of the Dioscuri may be mentioned their expedition against Athens to rescue their sister Helen from Theseus who had abducted her. They also joined Jason on the Argonauts’ expedition, and Zeus showed his benevolence towards them during a storm which assailed the ship Argo in the sea of Colchis. While Orpheus called upon the gods, two flames descended from the sky and hovered over the heads of the Dioscuri. It was the origin of Saint Elmo’s Fire which still today announces to sailors the end of a storm. Afterwards Castor and Pollux carried off the two daughters of Leudippus and married them. This was the occasion of their quarrel with the Aphareids, Idas and Lynceus, who were also paying court to the young women. This rivalry must have been unfortunate for the Dioscuri although no one knows exactly how it turned out. According to Pindar the Dioscuri went on an expedition with the Aphareids and cheated them out of their share of the booty. Ac- cording to other authors the four young men had a dispute over the division of a herd of oxen. Idas quartered an ox and ruled that half the spoil should go to the man who ate his share first, the other half going to the man who finished second. So saying he swallowed his own quarter and his brother’s quarter and drove off the whole herd. The Dioscuri then led an expedition against the Aphareids and in the course of the battle Pollux killed Lynceus while Castor was mortally wounded by Idas. Pollux wept over the body of his brother; for being himself immortal he could not follow him to the kingdom of Hades. Zeus was touched by this fraternal devotion and authorised Pollux to share with his brother the privilege of immortality: thus the Dioscuri continued to live each on alternate days. Another tradition says that Zeus placed them among the stars, in the constellation Gemini, The Twins. Venerated at first in Achaia, the Dioscuri were afterwards honoured throughout Greece as the tutelary divinities of sailors and as protectors of hospitality. Sometimes they can be seen, dressed in white robes and purple mantles, starred bonnets on their heads, arriving in cities to test what sort of welcome the inhabitants will give to strangers. Helen. Their sister Helen was celebrated for her beauty. When she had scarcely reached the age of ten Theseus carried her off, but the Dioscuri brought her home again. She was besieged by suitors. Her father Tyndareus made each of them swear that he would in case of need come to the aid of the lucky man who became Helen’s husband. He then chose Menelaus. For three years the couple lived happily together. Then Paris, son of the Trojan King Priam, visited the court of Menelaus, fell in love with Helen and carried her off. This was the cause of the Trojan War. All the princes of Greece, faithful to their oaths, took arms under the command of Agamemnon to avenge the outrage done to Menelaus. For ten years the struggle raged before the wallsof Troy. Neither the craft of Odysseus, the bravery of Diomedes, nor the dash of Achilles could conquer the resistance of the Trojans, led by the valiant Hector. Finally the Greek warriors were able to enter the city by hiding in the hollow
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