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IN our early writings neither do Roman women swear by Hercules nor the men by Castor. But why the women did not swear by Hercules is evident, since they abstain from sacrificing to Hercules. On the other hand, why the men did not name Castor in oaths is not easy to say. Nowhere, then, is it possible to find an instance, among good writers, either of a woman saying “by Hercules” or a man, “by Castor”; but edepol, which is an oath by Pollux, is common to both man and woman. Marcus Varro, however, asserts 1 that the earliest [p. 315] men were wont to swear neither by Castor nor by Pollux, but that this oath was used by women alone and was taken from the Eleusinian initiations; that gradually, however, through ignorance of ancient usage, men began to say edepol, and thus it became a customary expression; but that the use of “by Castor” by a man appears in no ancient writing.
1 p. 375, Bipont.
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