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Many years ago, I read that the cult of Santiago Matamoros is essentially a continuation of a cult of the Dioscuri in northwestern Spain. It is not too far-fetched (Saint George = Perseus et cetera; the Dioscuri and James both intervene in cavalry battles). If I recall correctly, the theory was that the cult was even pre-Roman: an Iberian cult for the Twins, romanized, and Christianized.

Does anyone who proposed this?
I wasn't able to find anything citing the first proposal, but this interesting book mentions several works talking about it around the turn of the 19th - 20th centuries.
Hello

This article - in Spanish with English summary and some quotes in English- states that the link between the Dioscuri and Santiago was first made by Richard Ford in his "A Handbook for Travellers in Spain", first published in 1846.

His thesis was then extended by Georgina Ford in "The Way of Saint James", 1920. To summarize, she said that the image of Castor - mortal twin- and Polux - the inmortal twin- was reflected in that of Santiago and Christ, following the legend that made them brothers. Santiago help in battles as Clavijo reflected for example the aid that the Dioscuri gave the Romans on Regilo Lake battle.
Dioscuri cult was known in Roman Iberia, and also it is noteworthy the existance of a lot of "twin" saints in some Saint James way churches.

http://dialnet.unirioja.es/servlet/fich ... rden=47824

Best regards
Quote:This article - in Spanish with English summary and some quotes in English- states that the link between the Dioscuri and Santiago was first made by Richard Ford in his "A Handbook for Travellers in Spain", first published in 1846.
THANKS! I'd wish the "laudes" button was still there, because this is extremely useful.
The "Matamoros" (moor-killer) advocation of Sant James is clearly medieval. If you are refering to the saint in more general sense, it could be...

There are a couple of books in Spanish called "Los santos imposibles" (the impossible saints) and "los santos paganos" (the pagan saints) by Atienza which dealt mostly with pagan deities with a swift and not very discret elevation to the Christian altars. It's too mystical and symbolical for my taste, but interesting nevetheless. I think there were even some Saint Polux and Saint Castor somewhere... :roll:

The truth is that the closest match (but not in time or space) with Santiago Matamoros I have seen it's in the classical mitology: the Jupiter giant columns (Jupitergigantensäulen) showing an enemy under the horse (not common in goods, or saints)...gauls, moors, the point is having supernatural help on your side :mrgreen:
Acording to the Ximenez de Rada’s chronicle, Saint James appeared in the Clavijo’s Battle (23th of may of 844) and helped the king Ramiro to defeat the islamic army. So, when this saint is represented fighting in horseback against the “moors” is called “matamoros”. As far as I know, this is the only similarity with Castor and Pollux.

In the north-west Spain there are some pre-roman deities related with horses, some celtic (Epona) and others indo-european. The horse is represented in a lot of gravestones; probably because he transports the souls to the underworld, and also has an important symbolism with the warrior class. But I don’t know any twin pre-roman deity...