Myths and Legends: Laocoon

In Greek stories relating the conquest of Troy, Laocoön warned the Trojans about bringing the Trojan horse into Troy, recommending that they burn it instead.  His advice was the source of the well-known saying, “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.”  He was ignored and the Trojan Horse was brought into Troy.  Later, the Greeks concealed within the Trojan Horse exited by a trapdoor, opened the gates to the Greek army, defeated the Trojans and destroyed the city.  Laocoön, however, had already been punished by Poseidon for having a family or by one of the other gods who was offended by Laocoön’s advice on the Trojan Horse to the Trojans.  Regardless, the three figures are contorted in pain horrified by what is happening to them. While they remain alive, they are as good as dead—and know it

The famous Greek marble Laocoön and his Sons (also called the Laocoön group), depicts the death of Laocoön which is housed in the Vatican Museums in Rome.  Pliny the Elder (a first century AD writer and philosopher) attributed the work to the sculptors Agesander, Athnodoros, and Polydorus of Rhodes (a small Greek island in the eastern Aegean Sea) . Several pieces of the sculpture are missing and various pics and reconstructions over the centuries have proposed what the entire sculpture would look like. Next week, A Trojan Hero.



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