Survivals of Roman Religion

By Gordon J. Laing | Go to book overview

XIV. CASTOR AND POLLUX AND SOME MODERN SAINTS

THESE gods, generally called Dioscuri (sons of Zeus), although originally of Greek provenance, had been introduced into Rome from some Latin city, possibly Tusculum, and so were always considered by the Romans as of Italic origin. It was for this reason that their temple was built within the sacred boundary (pomerium) of the city.

Among other things Castor and Pollux were protectors of sailors. Both Greek and Roman ships often carried their images or used as their emblem the stars that so frequently appear in representations of the twin divinities.1 This ancient emblem has not yet disappeared and may still be seen among the fisher-folk on the islands of the Mediterranean and along the coasts of southern Italy. Moreover, the electrical phenomenon that plays about the spars of ships on the Mediterranean after a storm was regarded of old as a manifestation of the gods'

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1
Cf. Acts, 28. II.

-105-

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