Fall of Troy

But still the Greeks could not take possession of the city. Then Odysseus assured the Greeks to use cunning. He advised to build such a huge wooden horse so that the most powerful heroes of the Greeks could hide in it. All the rest of the troops had to sail from the coast of the Troad and take refuge behind the island of Tenedos. When the Trojans bring the horse into the city, then the heroes will come out at night and open the gates of the city to the secretly returning Greeks. Odysseus assured that the only way to take Troy.

The prophetic Kalkhas, to whom a sign was sent by Zeus, also urged the Greeks to resort to cunning. Finally, the Greeks agreed to the proposal of Odysseus. The famous artist Aeneas with his student, with the help of the goddess Athena-Pallas, built a huge wooden horse. It includes Neoptolem, Philoctetes, Menelayo, Idomeneo, Diomedes, the younger < a href="/en/glossary/ayaks">Ajax, Merion, Odysseus and several other heroes. The entire inside of the horse was filled with armed warriors. Aeneas closed the hole through which the heroes entered so tightly that one could not even think that there were warriors in the horse. Then the Greeks burned all the buildings in their camp, boarded a ship and sailed to the open sea.

From the high walls of Troy, the besieged saw an extraordinary movement in the camp of the Greeks. For a long time they could not understand what was happening there. Suddenly, to their great joy, they saw that thick clouds of smoke were rising from the camp of the Greeks. They understood that the Greeks had abandoned the Troad. Rejoicing, the Trojans left the city and went to the camp. The camp was indeed abandoned, in some places more buildings were burning down. With curiosity, the Trojans wandered around the places where the tents of Diomedes, Achilles, Agamemnon, Menelaus and other heroes had recently stood. They were sure that the siege was now over, all disasters had passed, it was now possible to indulge in peaceful labor.

Suddenly, the Trojans stopped in amazement: they saw a wooden horse. They looked at it and wondered what kind of amazing structure it was. Some of them advised to throw the horse into the sea, while others - to take it to the city and put it on the acropolis. The dispute began. Then the priest of the god Apollo, Laokoon appeared before the disputants. He ardently began to persuade his fellow citizens to destroy the horse. Laocoon was sure that the Greek heroes were hidden in the horse, that this was some kind of military trick invented by Odysseus. Laocoön did not believe that the Greeks had left Troad forever. Laocoön begged the Trojans not to trust the horse. Whatever it was, but Laocoön was afraid of the Greeks, even if they brought gifts to Troy. Laocoon grabbed a huge spear and threw it at the horse. The horse shuddered from the blow, and his weapon sounded muffled inside. But the gods darkened the mind of the Trojans - they still decided to take the horse to the city. The decree of fate had to be fulfilled.

Laocoon and his sons wrapped in snakes
Laocoon and his sons entwined with snakes.
(A sculptural group by Agesander, Polydorus and Athenodorus,
who lived on the island of Rhodes in the 1st century BC)

When the Trojans were standing around the horse, continuing to move towards it, suddenly a loud cry was heard. It was the shepherds leading the bound captive. Od voluntarily gave himself into their hands. This prisoner was a Greek Sinon. The Trojans surrounded him and began to mock him. Sinon stood in silence, timidly looking at the Trojans surrounding him. Finally, he spoke. He lamented bitterly, shedding tears, at his evil fate. Touched by the tears of Sinon Priam and all the Trojans. They began to ask him who he was and why he stayed. Then Sinon told them a fictitious story that Odysseus invented for him in order to deceive the Trojans. Sinon told how Odysseus planned to destroy him, since Sinon was a relative of that Palamed, whom the king of Ithaca hated so much. Therefore, when the Greeks decided to stop the siege, Odysseus persuaded Calchas to inform that the gods demanded a human sacrifice for a happy return to their homeland. For a long time Calchas pretended to hesitate, whom to point to as a sacrifice to the gods, and, finally, pointed to Sinon. The Greeks tied Sinon and led him to the altar. But Sinon tore the ropes and fled from certain death. Sinon hid for a long time in the dense thickets of reeds, waiting for the departure of the Greeks to their homeland. When they had sailed, he went outhe came from his hiding place and voluntarily gave himself into the hands of the shepherds. The Trojans believed the cunning Greek. Priam ordered to release him and asked what this wooden horse, left by the Greeks in the camp, meant. This was the only question Sinon had been waiting for. Calling on the gods to witness that he was telling the truth, Sinon said that the horse had been left by the Greeks in order to propitiate the formidable Pallas Athena, angry at the theft of palladium from Troy. This horse, according to Sinon, will be a powerful defense of Troy if the Trojans bring it into the city. The Trojans also believed Sinon in this. Deftly he played the role assigned to him by Odysseus.

The Trojans were even more convinced that Sinon was telling the truth, a great miracle sent by Pallas Athena. Two monstrous snakes appeared on the sea. They quickly swam to the shore, writhing in countless rings of their body on the waves of the sea. The crests, red as blood, rose high on their heads. Their eyes sparkled with fire. Serpents crawled out onto the shore near the place where Laocoon offered a sacrifice to the god of the sea, Poseidon. All the Trojans fled in horror. The snakes rushed at the two sons of Laocoön and coiled around them. Hastened to help the sons of Laocoön, but the snakes wrapped around him. With their sharp teeth they tormented the bodies of Laocoön and his two sons. He tries to tear off the unfortunate snakes from himself and free his children from them, but in vain. The poison penetrates deeper and deeper into the body. Members cramp. The suffering of Laocoön and his sons is terrible. Laocoön cried out loudly, feeling the approach of death. So Laocoön died, seeing the terrible death of his innocent sons, he died because he wanted to save his homeland against the will of God. The snakes, having completed their terrible deed, crawled away and hid under the shield of the statue of Pallas Athena.

The death of Laocoön further convinced the Trojans that they should bring the wooden horse into the city. They dismantled part of the city wall, since it was impossible to carry a huge horse through the gates, and with jubilation, to the music and singing, they dragged the horse with ropes into the city. The horse stopped four times, hitting the wall when it was dragged through the gap, and the weapons of the Greeks thundered menacingly in it from the shocks, but the Trojans did not hear this. Finally, they dragged the horse to the acropolis.

Prophecy Kassandra was horrified when she saw a horse in the acropolis. She foreshadowed the death of Troy, but the Trojans answered her with a laugh - after all, they never believed her predictions.

In deep silence, the heroes sat on the horse, sensitively listening to every sound coming from outside. They heard how she called them, calling them by their names, beautifully curly Elena, imitating the voice of their wives. Odysseus restrained one of the heroes by force, clamping his mouth shut so that he would not answer. The heroes heard the triumph of the Trojans and the noise of merry feasts, which were celebrated throughout Troy on the occasion of the end of the siege. Finally, night came. Everything was silent, Troy fell into a deep sleep. The wooden horse heard the voice of Sinon - he let the heroes know that now they can go out.

The Capture of Troy
The Capture of Troy.
(Design on a vase.)

Sinon has already managed to build a large fire at the gates of Troy. This was a sign to the Greeks who had taken refuge behind Tenedos, so that they would hurry to Troy. Cautiously, trying not to make noise with their weapons, the heroes got out of the horse; Odysseus was the first to come out with Epeyo. Heroes scattered through the sleepy streets of Troy. Houses blazed, with a bloody glow illuminating the perishing Troy. Other Greeks also came to the aid of the heroes. Through the gap they broke into Troy. A terrible battle began. The Trojans defended themselves with what they could. They threw burning logs, tables, utensils at the Greeks, fought with skewers, on which they had just roasted meat for a feast. The Greeks spared no one. Women and children ran screaming through the streets of Troy. Finally, the Greeks approached the palace of Priam, protected by a wall with towers. With the courage of despair, the Trojans defended themselves. They knocked over the whole tower on the Greeks. With even greater ferocity, the Greeks went on the attack. Achilles' son Neoptolem knocked out the gates of the palace with an ax and was the first to break into it. Behind him broke into the palace and other heroes and warriors. The palace of Priam was filled with the cries of women and children. Daughters and daughters-in-law of Priam gathered at the altars of the gods, they thought to find protection here, Priam in armor wanted to protect them or fall in battle, but prayed to Hekaba the aged king to seek protection at the altar. How could he, a weak old man, fight with mighty heroes!

The Fall of Troy
Death of Troy.
Left to right: Neoptolemus kills Priam, who has the corpse of Hector's son Astyanax on his lap;
Andromache defends herself behind NeoptolemusI am from a Greek warrior,
behind her are the sons of Theseus, recognizing their grandmother, who was a prisoner of Priam.
(Illustration on a vase.)

Neoptolem suddenly burst in; he pursued Priam's mortally wounded son, Polytus. With a blow of a spear, Neoptolem threw Politus to the ground at the feet of his father. Priam threw a spear at Neoptolemus, but it, like a weak cane, bounced off the armor of Achilles' son. In anger, Neoptolem seized Priam by the gray hair and plunged his sharp sword into his chest. Priam died in the city in which he lived for so many years, ruling the great Troy. None of the sons of Priam escaped. Even his grandson, the son of Hector - Astianax, was killed: he was thrown from high the walls of Troy, tearing Andromache from the unfortunate hands. He killed Menelaus in the palace of the sleeping Deifobus, whose wife after the death of Paris became Elena. In anger, Menelaus would have killed the beautiful Helen, but Agamemnon kept him. The goddess Aphrodite again awakened in Menelaus's chest love for Helen. With triumph he led her to his ship.

Neoptolem kills Polyxena
Neoptolemus kills Polyxena.
(sculpture by Pio Fedi, 1866)

The daughter of Priam, the prophetic Cassandra, sought salvation in the sanctuary of Pallas Athena. There, her son Oilea, Ajax, found her. Kassandra fell to the statue of Athena, hugging the image of the goddess with her arms. Roughly Ajax grabbed her and jerked away from the statue with such force that the sacred statue fell to the floor of the temple and broke. The Greeks were angry with Ajax, and the great goddess was also angry. Subsequently, she cruelly avenged Ajax for this.

Of all the heroes of Troy, only Aeneas survived, carrying his old father Anchises and his little son Askania. The Greeks also spared the Trojan hero Antenor. He was spared by the Greeks because he always advised the Trojans to hand over to the Greeks the beautifully curly Helen and the treasures of Menelaus stolen by Paris.

Troy burned for a long time. Puffs of smoke rose high into the sky. The gods mourned the death of the great city. The fire of Troy was visible far away. By the pillars of smoke and a huge glow at night, the surrounding peoples learned that Troy had fallen, which for a long time was the most powerful city in Asia.