Dioskouros - Pillar 3, north side


The Dioskouroi (Dioscuri), Castor and Polydeuces (Pollux), were considered the twin sons of Zeus. However, only Polydeuces was the real child of Zeus and Leda, while Leda had conceived Castor on the same night with her mortal husband Tyndareus. They were distinguished for taking part in the expedition of the Argonauts and other mythical campaigns. When Castor was killed, Zeus called Polydeuces to Mt. Olympus, but he rejected immortality without his brother and requested that they share it. Thus Zeus allowed them both to live on Olympus alternately or, according to a variant of the myth, they became the constellation of Gemini (“the twins”), whose appearance sailors consider a good omen. They represent boldness and brotherly devotion, and were the patrons of horsemanship, sailors, and travelers.

One of the Dioskouri is probably depicted here as a youthful, heroic figure, wearing only a chlamys which falls back over his shoulders and a conical cap, the pilos. Beside him an animal, perhaps a horse, is shown in bust form.