Trojan Horse

Trojan Horse

The Trojan Horse was part of the Trojan War, as told in Virgil's Latin epic poem "The Aeneid". The events of this take place after Homer's "Iliad", and before Homer's "Odyssey".


This incident is mentioned in the "Odyssey"::"What a thing was this, too, which that mighty man [Odysseus] wrought and endured in the "carven horse", where in all we chiefs of the Argives were sitting, bearing to the Trojans death and fate!" [ 4.271 ff] : "But come now,change thy theme, and sing of the building of the horse of wood, which Epeius made with Athena's help, the horse which once Odysse us led up into the citadel as a thing of guile, when he had filled it with the men who sacked Ilium ." [ 8.487 ff] (trans. Samuel Butler)

The most detailed and most familiar version is in Virgil's "Aeneid", [ Book 2] (trans. John Dryden).

Fact or fiction

According to Homer, Troy stood overlooking the Hellespont - a channel of water that separates Asia Minor and Europe. In the 1870s, Heinrich Schliemann set out to find it. [ [] ]

Following Homer's description, he started to dig at Hisarlik in Turkey and uncovered the ruins of several cities, built one on top of the other. Several of the cities had been destroyed violently, but is not clear which, if any, was the Troy of Homer's poetry.

Book II of Virgil's "Aeneid"

Book II of Virgil's "Aeneid" covers the siege of Troy, and includes these lines spoken by Laocoön::"Equo ne credite, Teucri. Quidquid id est, timeo Danaos et dona ferentes.":: Do not trust the horse, Trojans! Whatever it is, I fear the Greeks, even bringing gifts.This is the origin of the modern adage "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts".

Possible explanations

Pausanias, who lived in the 2nd century AD, wrote on his book Description of Greece [] ::That the work of Epeius was a contrivance to make a breach in the Trojan wall is known to everybody who does not attribute utter silliness to the Phrygians (1,XXIII,8)where by Phrygians he means the Trojans. There has been some modern speculation that the Trojan Horse may have been a battering ram resembling, to some extent, a horse, and that the description of the use of this device was then transformed into a myth by later oral historians who were not present at the battle and were unaware of that meaning of the name. Assyrians at the time used siege machines with animal names; it is possible that the Trojan Horse was such.Fact|date=August 2008

It has also been suggested that the Trojan Horse actually represents an earthquake that occurred between the wars that could have weakened Troy's walls and left them open for attack. [ [ Earthquakes toppled ancient cities: 11/12/97 ] ] Structural damage on Troy VI—its location being the same as that represented in Homer's Iliad and the artifacts found there suggesting it was a place of great trade and power—shows signs that there was indeed an earthquake. Generally, though, Troy VIIa is believed to be Homer's Troy (see below).

The deity Poseidon had a triple function as a god of the sea, of horses and of earthquakes.

The Trojan horse may also refer to the Trojan cavalry lead by Hector. The enemy could have disguised themselves as this cavalry unit and were let back into Troy without question. This possible explantion of the Trojan Horse is the one used by author David Gemmell in the third part of his Troy trilogy, .Fact|date=August 2008

Men in the horse

According to the Little Iliad, 3,000 soldiers hid in the Trojan horse's belly and 2 spies in its mouth. Other sources give smaller numbers: Apollodorus 50; [Epitome 5.14] Tzetzes 23; [Posthomerica 641-650] and Quintus Smyrnaeus gives the names of thirty, but says there were more. [Posthomerica xii.314-335] In late tradition the number was standardised at 40. Their names follow:


Any images or constructions are products of the imagination of the artists, as the reality of the circumstances leading to the myth have been lost.


ee also

* Mykonos vase, earliest pottery depiction of the Trojan Horse
* "Troy" (2004 movie)
* The "Trojan Rabbit" in Monty Python and the Holy Grail
* "The engine to batter walls (called sometime the horse, and now is named the ram) was the devise of Epeus at Troy."
* The Psychological Operations units of the U.S. Army carry a Trojan Horse in their logo.
* , final book in the Troy Trilogy by David Gemmell

External links

* [ The Trojan Horse for Kids] : another ancient image of the Trojan Horse.
* [ Movie : Helen of Troy (1956)]
* [ Movie : The Trojan Horse (1962)]
* [ Movie : Troy (2004)]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Trojan horse — Tro‧jan horse [ˌtrəʊdʒn ˈhɔːs ǁ ˌtroʊdʒn ˈhɔːrs] noun [countable usually singular] 1. something that looks attractive but that is intended to deceive: • The bank s CEO described Japanese investments in the UK as a Trojan horse, destroying… …   Financial and business terms

  • Trojan Horse — the Trojan Horse a wooden horse used by Greek soldiers to trick their enemies the Trojans during the Trojan War. The Greeks hid inside a large wooden model of a horse and were taken into Troy by Trojan soldiers, who thought that it was a gift …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Trojan horse — n 1.) something that seems ordinary but that is used to hide someone s real intentions ▪ These investment arrangements could be Trojan horses for anti competitive monopolies. 2.) a type of computer ↑virus ▪ A bug in the browser lets servers… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Trojan horse — Tro jan horse , n. [from the incident described in Homer s Iliad.] 1. (Classical mythology) a large hollow wooden horse built by Greek soldiers besieging Troy during the Trojan War, and left as a gift when they pretended to abandon their seige.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Trojan horse — n. 1. Gr. Legend in the Trojan War, a huge, hollow wooden horse with Greek soldiers hidden inside that is left at the gates of Troy: the Trojans bring it into the city, thinking it a gift, and the soldiers creep out and open the gates to the rest …   English World dictionary

  • Trojan Horse — ► NOUN ▪ something intended to undermine or secretly overthrow an enemy or opponent. ORIGIN from the hollow wooden statue of a horse in which the ancient Greeks are said to have concealed themselves in order to enter Troy …   English terms dictionary

  • Trojan horse — noun count someone or something that seems good or helpful to a person or organization but whose real purpose is to harm or destroy them a. COMPUTING a program that seems useful but is designed to be harmful, for example by destroying information …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Trojan horse — [[t]tro͟ʊʤən hɔ͟ː(r)s[/t]] Trojan horses N COUNT: usu sing, oft N for/of n (disapproval) If you describe a person or thing as a Trojan horse, you mean that they are being used to hide someone s true purpose or intentions. Was Colombo the emissary …   English dictionary

  • Trojan horse — 1. Class. Myth. a gigantic hollow wooden horse, left by the Greeks upon their pretended abandonment of the siege of Troy. The Trojans took it into Troy and Greek soldiers concealed in the horse opened the gates to the Greek army at night and… …   Universalium

  • Trojan horse — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms Trojan horse : singular Trojan horse plural Trojan horses a) someone or something that seems good or helpful to a person or organization but whose real purpose is to harm or destroy them b) computing a program… …   English dictionary

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