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Title: Caesar's Castor : the cult of the Dioscuri in Rome from the mid-Republic to the early Principate
Author: Gartrell, Amber Clare Harriet
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 846X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis examines the development of the cult of the Dioscuri in Rome from the mid-Republic to the end of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. This was a period of great political and social upheaval and of religious change. Through a detailed examination of the cult of the Dioscuri, I trace how the cult developed and adapted in conjunction with religious, political and cultural changes within Roman society. I furthermore examine how the cult changed and explore the reasons why those changes occurred at that time and in that place. Chapter One surveys the two temples of Castor and Pollux in Rome, focusing in particular on their temple in the Roman Forum. Using archaeological and literary evidence, I argue that this temple was a central stage for many of the pivotal events and speeches of the late Republic. Chapter Two examines the epiphanies of the Dioscuri, most commonly associated with battles and their aftermath, although later appearing to commemorate the deaths of prominent individuals such as Julius Caesar and Drusus the Elder. I examine how the epiphanic tradition of the Dioscuri changed over time and ask why it was these gods in particular who rode to aid Rome. Chapter Three turns to exploring the relationships Castor and Pollux were said to possess with groups in Roman society, in particular horsemen, boxers and sailors. I examine how these relationships were formed and publicised and how they benefitted both the mortals and the gods. Chapter Four explores how a different aspect of the Dioscuri became prominent in the imperial period: their fraternal harmony. Castor and Pollux were linked to and compared with pairs of potential imperial successors. I explore the purposes of this comparison and how apt it was for the different pairings. Throughout this thesis, I examine some of the most prominent aspects of the cult of the Dioscuri in Rome within the wider context of history, culture and politics, arguing that the cult was a fully integrated part of Roman society as a whole.
Supervisor: Bispham, Edward Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Dioscuri (Greek mythology) ; Cults--Rome ; Temples--Rome ; Rome--Religion ; Religion and politics--Rome