Brill’s New Pauly

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(942 words)

(Greek δίδυμοι/dídymoi; Latin gemini).

[German version]

I. In religion

In Greek and Roman Antiquity, multiple births were considered numinous. Even Pliny the Elder (1st cent. AD) considered a birth of more than three children at the same time as a prodigium (Plin. HN 7,33; cf. Dig. 34,5,7). In Greek mythology, the birth of twins was seen as caused by the influence of divine power. It was assumed that they had been fathered by a god or that the mother had been impregnated by both a god and a man. The Dioscuri Castor and Polyd…

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R.RA., “Twins”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider, English Edition by: Christine F. Salazar, Classical Tradition volumes edited by: Manfred Landfester, English Edition by: Francis G. Gentry. Consulted online on 17 November 2019 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510

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