Leonardo da Vinci's: "Leda and Her Two Sons Castor and Pollux." Pollux is the Latin version of Polydeuces. Castor was the son of Leda and her husband Tyndareus, the king of Sparta.
Painting (c.XV-XVI century). Borghese Gallery, Rome, Italy.
Click on image for full size
Leda and the Constellation Cygnus
For the ancient Greeks, the constellation Cygnus, which means "swan", was related to
the myth of Zeus
and the goddess Nemesis.
In order to escape from Zeus, Nemesis
changed herself into many different animals. When she changed into a
goose, Zeus immediately transformed himself into a wonderful swan and won the love of Nemesis.
The goddess became pregnant, delivered an egg and then abandoned it.
Fortunately, a shepherd found the egg and gave it to Leda, the wife of Tyndareus, the king
of Sparta. From that egg came Helen of Troy. Helen was so beautiful that Leda claimed her
as her own child. The constellation Cygnus was formed to celebrate the lovely swan.
According to another version of the myth, Zeus transformed himself into a swan to court Leda, the queen of Sparta.
and from that relationship, Leda had two children: Polydeuces and Helen.
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