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date: 09 December 2022

Castor and Polluxlocked

Castor and Polluxlocked

  • Nicholas Purcell

Extract

Castor and Pollux, the temple of the *Dioscuri (aedes Castorum or even Castoris) at Rome, in the Forum, beside the Fountain of Juturna, was attributed (see especially Dion. Hal. Ant. Rom. 6. 13. 1–2) to the deities’ miraculous intervention in the early 5th cent. bce in the battle of Lake *Regillus in response to the vow of the dictator A. Postumius (they brought the news of the victory to Rome in person). Recent excavation has shown that the first temple is indeed of about this date, and that it was little smaller than the rebuildings of L. *Caecilius Metellus Delmaticus (117) and Tiberius (dedicated 6 ce), lavish though the last was. This was accordingly one of the first monumental structures in the vicinity of the Forum, and long the most imposing—testimony to the importance of the cavalry in the early Roman state: the function of the Dioscuri in other Latin towns, as attested by inscriptions (e.g. ILLRP 1271), and the link with the equestrian order (see equites) and its annual parade, the transvectio of 15 July, which survived into the imperial period, leave little doubt that that was the principal association of the original cult.

Subjects

  • Roman Myth and Religion

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