"Trojan horse" - what is the meaning and origin of this meaning?
"Trojan horse" - what is the meaning and origin of this meaning?

Ancient myths lie at the origins of many aphorisms. The expression "Trojan horse" -not an exception. To determine the meaning of phraseological units, we turn to an ancient Greek legend that tells us the story of the fall of the great city of Troy, the cause of which was a mysterious gift.

Here is a cautionary tale that not all gifts are worth accepting. So what insidious plan did the Greeks, the enemies of the Trojans, come up with in order to defeat their adversary?

Trojan War, kidnapping of Elena, Elena the Beautiful

The events of the ancient legend begin with a dispute between three goddesses: Aphrodite, Hero and Athena. The cause of their conflict was an apple - an offering from the mistress of strife Eris.

The Celestials were worried about the word "Most Beautiful" engraved on the gift. Not deciding which of the goddesses should belong to the gift, and hence the status of the most beautiful, they turned for help to Paris, the son of the ruler of Troy Priam. He should have judged the inhabitants of Olympus.

Paris' choice fell on Aphrodite. The goddess of love with her charms seduced the young man, promising to help get the wife of Menelaus (the ruler of Sparta) Elena, who had an unearthly beauty. Aphrodite kept her word - and the girl was in the arms of Paris. This event marked the beginning of a bloody war between the Trojans and the Greeks.

Trojan horse, Trojan horse painting by artist, paintings by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo

For ten long years Menelaus tried to free his wife in vain. His powerful troops surrounded Troy, but they did not manage to enter the city.

Then the wise Greek Odysseus had an insidious idea of ​​how to outwit and defeat the Trojans. He offered to mislead the enemies and supposedly sail back to Sparta. Before the "retreat", a gift should be left at the gates of Troy - a huge wooden horse, as a symbol of recognition of one's own "defeat".

Shocked by the sudden victory, the Trojans were bound to accept the strange gift. Which is what Odysseus was counting on. When the Trojan Horse is in the city, the strongest Spartan warriors hiding in the middle of the statue will come out and smash everything around.


Not everyone liked the idea of ​​Odysseus. Some had doubts about the naivety of their opponents. Due to the lack of alternative options for the development of events, the Spartans still approved this plan. Construction began. The amazed Trojans watched their enemies closely. The Spartans erected a huge horse statue in front of the city gates and disappeared into the sea. Then the inhabitants of Troy dared to leave the fortress to carefully examine the unusual gift.

They examined the horse for a long time, carefully examined all its details, but they did not find any catch. Then the Trojans started arguing. Some insisted that one should accept the gift, others argued that one should not be led by the enemy. The most fierce opponent of receiving an incomprehensible offering was Laocoon with his sons. But when they approached the horse, two snakes appeared on the seashore. They suddenly attacked Laocoon and his children. All the efforts of the unfortunates were in vain, the snakes quickly dealt with the victims - they died from suffocation, and the animals crawled back into the sea.


The Trojans did not assess the current situation in their favor. They considered this an unkind sign of the gods, who were angry at Laocoon's rejection of the gift. In order not to anger the inhabitants of Olympus, the Trojans decided to bring a huge statue into the city.

At nightfall, the Greeks hiding inside went outside to open the gates to their army. The bloody battle ended in favor of the attackers: the palace was captured, and Priam was killed. Having found Elena, Menelaus left Troy engulfed in flames.The centuries-old history of the city ended disappointingly.

The expression "Trojan horse" is used when we are talking about a gift with a trick, presented for the sake of achieving selfish goals. Accepting such a gift can have dire consequences for the recipient.

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