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In the Forum in Rome, near the Temple of Vesta, stands what is left of the temple erected in honour of Castor and Pollux, the Dioscuri (Gemini) twins. Pollux was immortal and Castor was mortal. When Castor was killed, Pollux asked Zeus to allow him to share his immortality with his brother so they could stay together, and they were turned into the Gemini constellation. The twins were horsemen and hunters. The Romans adopted the twins from the Greeks as early as the 6th century BC. The construction of the Temple of Castor and Pollux was to fulfill a vow to build them a temple for their assistance at the Battle of Lake Regillus by the infant Roman Republic in 495 BC. According to the legend, the Dioscuri twins appeared as two horsemen on the battlefield and aided the Republic. After the battle, they appeared in the Forum to water their horses at the spring of Juturna, where the temple was founded. The temple served as a meeting place for the Senate in the Republican period, and was the depository for the Treasury during the Imperial period. The temple was still intact in the 4th century, but by the 15th century only the three massive columns, over forty-eight feet high, were still standing, and still remain now, from the Temple of Castor and Pollux.
The 'Grand Tour': The 'Grand Tour' was an essential aspect of the education of young noblemen during the 18th century and early 19th century. Their premier destination was Italy where they would soak in politics, culture and art of the country whose ancient and Renaissance art awaited their discovery and purchase. These young men were attracted by the heritage of the ancient Roman monuments, particularly those still half buried in the Roman forum. Objects such as this carving would have been acquired by these grand tourists and connoisseurs as reminders of these ruined wonders. Their recreation as miniature ruins survive as a testament to their value to a society obsessed by the 'picturesque'.
|Height||43.50 cm||(17.13 inches)|
|Width||22.50 cm||(8.86 inches)|
|Depth||9.00 cm||(3.54 inches)|
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