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Acts 28:11; Paul sets sail from Malta on the 'Castor and Pollux'

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posted on Dec, 1 2009 @ 11:53 AM
I've read the Bible through several times without this verse having much impact on me. Yesterday morning, in the course of my daily reading, it stood out. I think because I am reading the NASB this time through and the translation is slightly different. The KJV nad the NKJV, the other translations I've read, simply give the name of the ship as the 'Castor and Pollux.' The NASB finishes the verse "...and which had the Twin Brothers for its figurehead." The term "Twin Brothers" caught my eye. I know some Greek Mythology, but was unaware, or had forgotten, that Castor and Pollux were the twin brothers of the constellation Gemini.

I set about this morning to find out more, intent on making some link between the figurehead(s) of this ship and some grand conspiracy scheme, as I am convinced there is more to the story of Paul's trip to Rome, his imprisonment, and his supposed execution, than is generally acknowledged. I know for a fact the Bible doesn't use empty symbology. If its in The Book, there's a good reason for it. I came across the excerpt below and use it here for general background info. I believe Paul made quite a favorable impression on the Maltese people and may have laid the groundwork for future interaction betweeen the church and Malta.

The shipwreck survivors were probably on Malta from mid-November to mid-February or the beginning of March. Then Paul and the rest of the passengers and crew put out to sea again. At one of Malta's large harbors they had found an Alexandrian ship with the figurehead of the twin gods Castor and Pollux. Twin sons of Tyndareus, king of Sparta, the Dioscouroi had been immortalized as gods from the union of Leda, queen of Sparta, and Zeus. Seeing their constellation, the Gemini, while on the high seas was thought to be a sign of good fortune. They were the patron deities of sailors and protectors of innocent seafarers, and their cult had devotees in Egypt as well as Italy (Epictetus Discourses 2.18.29). Euripides presents them as guardians of truth and punishers of perjurers (Electra 1342-55).

It is probably with an intended ironic twist that Luke notes Paul's embarkation on "The Castor and Pollux." For though the unbelieving ancients would have attributed Paul's rescue to "the Twins" and taken it as a token of his innocence, Paul has made clear he belongs to, serves and believes in the one true God, who was his protector and deliverer (27:23-25). So today, though others tout the gods of non-Christian religion or secular technopolitical ideology as protectors and saviors, the Christian knows who is really in gracious control.


Now It occurs to me that the Templar Seal showed a horse with two Knights astride it and off I go tyring to make a connection between the Knights Templar and Malta. The Knights of Malta aren't it, or are they?

The image of the two knights astride a single mount was said to represent their vow of poverty - the original members who founded the order being so poor that each knight could not afford his own horse. This seems to have been little more than a poetic tradition, for as early as the Council of Troyes, when the Latin Rule was composed an individual knight was permitted to have three horses and a Grand Master was permitted to own even more.

Some have theorized that the dual knights riding a single mount was a reference to the homosexuality that the knights were accused of practicing. This theory most certainly came into existence after the accusations brought against the order during and after their arrest in 1307.

There has been some thought that the Templar seal's two knights is neither a representation of the Templar's vows of poverty or alleged homosexual activities, but rather a representation of the duality or conflict that existed in the order:

They were poor by vow, yet rich beyond belief (in their assets)

They were introspective, yet well versed in the matters of the world

They were monks on one hand, yet feared as warriors on the other

Others have cited the Gospel of Matthew as the source of the seal's symbolic meaning claiming that the one knight represented a Templar while the other depicted Christ. This comes from the passage in Matthew where Jesus Christ says:

"Wherever two or more of you are gathered in My name, there am I, in the midst of them." (Matt. 18:20)


The Maltese Knights claim earlier foundation, by about twenty years, and staked first claim to the "Knights of St. John the Baptist, Hospitelier's" moniker. Both orders proclaimed the same mission; protection of pilgrims and the Holy Land. But Malta doesn't even enter the picture for them until near the end of the Middle Ages, and what do Castor and Pollux have to do with a sandy rock in the Med Sea anyway? I shook myself out of a funk and decided to go back to the Gemini twins and read up a bit.

In the myth the twins shared the same mother but had different fathers which meant that Pollux was immortal and Castor was mortal. When Castor died, Pollux asked Zeus to let him share his own immortality with his twin to keep them together and they were transformed into the Gemini constellation. The pair were regarded as the patrons of sailors, to whom they appeared as St. Elmo's fire.

They were both excellent horsemen.....


And there it was, that last bit. Was it the connection I had been looking for? The link between the ship that carried Paul on his last sea leg to Rome and the seal of most powerful organization to grow out of the early church? The symbology is incredibly rich and I've done a poor job of unraveling it. Perhaps other, more learned members would care to elucidate?


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