Rome, Italy

Roman Forum: Temple of Castor and Pollux

Of the Temple of Castor and Pollux or the "Dioscuri", only three columns survive. They recall one of the first legendary victories of the Romans over the Latins.

At the height of the battle, the desperate Romans invoked the gods and Castor and Pollux, the divine twins of Jove, appeared riding two white horses and lead the Romans to victory. Simultaneously, they appeared in Rome to announce that the battle had been won. In gratitude, the Romans dedicated a grand temple to them within the city. It was an exception, because Castor and Pollux were Greek gods and it was against the severe Roman religious laws to have temples of foreign religions inside the city walls.

This extremely ancient temple was so important that the Senate met there several times. It was home to the office of weights and measures and of various bankers who would set exchange rates. But it had an even more important function for the Romans because it was right here that fathers officially gave names to their children.