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Castor or Pollux

Mid-2nd Century C.E.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

The youth is either Castor or Pollux. These two brothers were the offspring of a mortal woman. They had different fathers: Castor was the son of a mortal prince while Pollux was the son of the king of the gods, Jupiter. Thus Castor was mortal and Pollux, immortal. After the death of Castor, Jupiter offered the immortal Pollux a choice. He could remain immortal or he could divide immortality with his slain brother. They could live on alternate days in heaven and the Underworld. Out of love for his brother, Pollux chose to divide his immortality. The youths were associated with the constellation Gemini, and thus they are portrayed with a star on their caps. Our figure cradles in his left arm a sword in a sheath.

The statue may be an approximate copy of the famous fifth-century B.C.E. sculpture that stood at the entrance of the Acropolis in Athens.

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  • Title: Castor or Pollux
  • Date Created: Mid-2nd Century C.E.
  • Physical Dimensions: h762 in
  • Culture: Roman
  • Type: Unknown
  • Rights: Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust, Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust
  • Medium: Pentelic marble

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