laocoon

Cultural Dictionary
Laocoon [(lay-ok-oh-on)]

In classical mythology, Laocoon was a priest in Troy during the Trojan War. When the Trojans discovered the Trojan horse outside their gates, Laocoon warned against bringing it into the city, remarking, “I am wary of Greeks even when they are bringing gifts.” (SeeBeware of Greeks bearing gifts.”) The god Poseidon, who favored the Greeks, then sent two enormous snakes after Laocoon. The creatures coiled themselves around the priest and his two sons, crushing them to death. Some sources say Athena sent the snakes.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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