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Trojan Horse

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19th century etching of the Trojan Horse
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19th century etching of the Trojan Horse

The Trojan Horse is part of the myth of the Trojan War, though it does not figure in the part of the war narrated in Homer's Iliad.

The Greek siege of Troy had lasted for ten years. The Greeks devised a new ruse - a giant hollow wooden horse. It was built by Epeius and filled with Greek warriors led by Odysseus. The rest of the Greek army appeared to leave whilst actually hiding behind Tenedos and the Trojans accepted the horse as a peace offering. A Greek spy, Sinon, convinced the Trojans the horse was a gift despite the warnings of Laocoon and Cassandra. Helen and Deiphobus even investigated the horse. The Trojans celebrated the raising of the siege hugely, and when the Greeks emerged from the horse the city was in a drunken stupor. The Greek warriors opened the city gates to allow the rest of the army access and the city was ruthlessly pillaged — all the men were killed and all the women and children taken into slavery.

Detail from "The Procession of the Trojan Horse in Troy" by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo
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Detail from "The Procession of the Trojan Horse in Troy" by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo

The Trojan horse may or may not have been actually built and used. The only evidence we have are written sources.

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Trojan_horse_anakkale.jpg
The wooden horse from the 2004 film Troy, exhibited at anakkale

There is a small museum founded in 1955 within the territories of ancient city Troy, near the Dardanelles (present-day Turkey). The museum includes the remnants of the city and a symbolic wooden horse built in the garden of the museum to depict the legendary Trojan horse. The wooden horse from the recent film Troy is displayed on the seafront in the nearby town of anakkale.

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Trojan_Horse_fragment.jpg
Heroes climbing out of the Trojan Horse (fragment, ca. 550 BC)

Based on this mythological episode, we get the term, Trojan horse, in which a supposed talent or apparent advantage is actually a curse, or "Trojan horse" tactics which are underhand. The term can also refer to a "sneak attack" in general. We also get the Latin phrase:

equo ne credite, Teucri.
quidquid id est, timeo Danaos et dona ferentis.

("Do not trust the horse, Trojans! Whatever it is, I fear the Greeks even bringing gifts.") spoken by Laocoon in Virgil's Aeneid which covers the siege of Troy in Book II. This has led to the modern saying "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts."ar:حصان طروادة bg:Троянски кон ca:Cavall de Trolla da:Den trojanske hest de:Trojanisches Pferd es:Caballo de Troya fr:Cheval de Troie he:סוס טרויאני ja:トロイの木馬 nl:Paard van Troje pl:Koń trojański pt:Cavalo de Tria

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