Origin of the Saying: 'Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts'

Trojan Horse
Trojan Horse. Clipart.com

Trojan War FAQs > Greeks Bearing Gifts

The Trojan War had gone on for 10 years. Since both sides had gods on their sides, and Achilles, the greatest of the Greeks, and Hector, the greatest of the Trojans, were dead, the two sides were pretty evenly matched. One thing the Greeks had that the Trojans lacked was the cunning of an Odysseus. Odysseus devised the idea of a Trojan Horse. When the "Trojan Horse" was left at the gates of Troy, the Trojans thought the Greeks had left it as a pious parting gift because they had given up and sailed home.

The Trojans welcomed the gift and took it within their walls, little knowing the belly of the beast was filled with armed soldiers who would soon destroy their city.

Vergil (Virgil) puts the words about being wary of Greeks bearing gifts in the mouth of Laocoon in the Aeneid Bk II: timeo Danaos et dona ferentis.

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