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Divine Twins or Saintly Twins: The Dioscuri in an Early Christian Context

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Chapter Summary

The divine twins Castor and Pollux have had a venerable and persistent cult tradition in the Greek and Roman world. Their images were durable enough to make their way into early Christianity. This chapter discusses the appearance of the Dioscuri on fourth- and fifth-century ceramic wares from North Africa and the problems connected with the "Christianization" of their imagery. The symmetrical position of the Twin gods is a well-known feature in their iconography, whether it occurs in freestanding sculpture, in relief sculpture, or on sarcophagi. There are, however, distinct differences between the late antique images of the Dioscuri on African Red Slip ware (ARS) and their more classical appearances. The Romans identified with the Dioscuri in a rather specific way. They attributed a legendary battle and subsequent victory in the early fifth century BCE at Lake Regillus to the intervention of the Twins.

Keywords: African red slip ware (ARS); Castor; Dioscuri; early Christianity; Pollux; Roman world



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