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Leda

by Jamie Cisco
Leda was the daughter of Thestius and the wife of Tyndareus. She has been known as the Queen of Sparta. Leda was seduced by Zeus when he came to her in the form of a swan. Leda gave birth to an egg. From it hatched the Dioscuri, the twins Castor and Pollux. With Zeus she also had Helen and with Tyndareus she had Clytemnestra.

Leda

Clytemnestra was the wife of Agamemnon, king of Mycenae. She was one of the tragic women in the Trojan War. While Agamemnon was away in the war, Clytemnestra took Aegisthus as her lover, and together they plotted to kill Agamemnon when he returned. One of her reasons was her husband's sacrifice of their daughter. When Agamemnon returned Clytemnestra pretended to greet him. Later, while Agamemnon bathed, Clytemnestra murdered him. She, herself was killed by her son Orestes.

Helen of Troy was said to be the most beautiful woman in Greece and the major cause of the Trojan War. While still a young girl, Helen was carried off by an Athenian hero, Theseus. Before any harm could come to her the Dioscuri rescued her. Later, she was sought after by almost every prince in Greece, but she finally married Menelaus, king of Sparta, who was the richest of the suitors. Helen and Memelaus had one child. Her name was Hermione.

Helen and Menelaus' marriage was threatened when Paris, a Trojan prince, fell madly in love with Helen. Taking advantage of Menelaus' absence from the palace, Paris abducted Helen and then left for Troy. This was the cause of the Trojan War. All of the other prices had promised Tyndareus, Helen's father, that he would in case of need, come to the aid of the lucky man who became Helen's husband. Faithful to their oaths, all the princes of Greece took power under the command of Agamemnon to avenge the outrage done to Menelaus.

For ten years the battle raged before the walls of Troy. Finally the Greek warriors were able to enter the city by hiding in the hollow flanks of a large wooden horse (see: Trojan horse) which the Trojans themselves had put in the city. Troy was conquered and set on fire. Helen was returned to Menelaus and they were reconciled. After Menelaus' death, Helen was put among the stars with Dioscuri.

Castor and Pollux had a magnificent temple erected in their honor. They accompanied the Roman army on its campaigns and during battles were seen among the cavalry. They also protected sailors and travelers at sea. At Ostia they calmed a storm which was not allowing ships loaded with corn from entering port. Castor and Pollux carried off the two daughters of Leucippus and married them. This was the reason for their quarrel between Idas and Lynceus, who were also seeing the two young women. 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 Castor to the Kingdom of Hades.

"In their quality of marine god they naturally presided over commerce." In the second century CE they were incorporated in funeral rituals and their popularity was so great that even Christians did not deny that they were symbols of life and death.


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