Study Guide

The Trojan Horse Context

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You might think that one of the most widely know episodes of the Trojan War would be included in the most widely known book about the Trojan War. But noooope. You'll find neither hide nor hair of "The Trojan Horse" in Homer's Iliad. The definitive epic poem about the bloody conflict sputters out before it gets to Odysseus' Troy-destroying stratagem. Even in Homer's Odyssey, which is all about the O-man's long journey home after the war, you'll only find a vague mention of Odysseus' most famous ploy.

The version of the story that most people know today actually pops up in a Roman poem: Virgil's Aeneid. This epic tells the story of the Trojan prince, Aeneas, who escapes the destruction of Troy to found a new colony, where one day his descendants will found Rome. Needless to say, Aeneas doesn't give the "The Trojan Horse" glowing reviews. Chances are, nobody's going to be a big fan of a ruse that killed everybody they know and turned their city into rubble. Another famous written version of the story can be found in Roman poet Quintus Smyrnaius' The Fall of Troy, an epic poem that picks up where the Iliad leaves off.

These days, the legend of the Trojan Horse is definitely still widely known. The big wooden equine has popped up on the big screen and TV a bunch of times over the years. You'll find its most recent appearances in the 2004 star-studded movie Troy and the 2003 TV miniseries Helen of Troy.

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