The True Story of the Legendary Trojan Horse

April 26, 2020

The Trojan horse really exists, or rather did exist until a few years ago.

It is a horse that has crossed history over the last 3,000 years, who has made poets, princes, kings, and emperors fall in love with it. It has fought in all the most important wars, won memorable races, traveled all over the known world and then died out less than 50 years ago, just a step away from the 21st century.

The Trojan War and the Horse That Left its Mark

Everyone remembers how the siege of the city of Troy ended, narrated by the poet Homer around the 12th century BC. It was Ulysses who devised the winning stratagem after 10 years of ruthless war between the Acheans, who besieged the city, and the Trojans who defended it. Odysseus pretended to abandon the battlefield and retreat with his ships. Before leaving the beach, however, he designed a huge wooden horse, making it look like a propitiatory act towards Poseidon. The horse was in fact one of the symbols with which he was depicted.

Inside the statue, Ulysses hid himself, fully armed, together with about fifty warriors. The Trojans, convinced that the long siege had finally come to an end, dragged the horse inside the walls as spoils of war. When the tired and drunken Trojans went to sleep late at night, the fifty brave Acheans had no difficulty in getting out of the horse, opening the city gates to the rest of the army, which had meanwhile returned from the beach, and then conquered the city together.

To the modern readers of Homeric poems it may have seemed a great naivety to bring that votive sculpture within the walls of the city. But it is important to know that for the Trojans, the horse, their horse, was sacred. It was an animal that was bred with maniacal care, selecting the best specimens for courage, strength, endurance and above all speed. They were horses with white livery (although technically we should say grey) of small to medium stature (especially by today’s standards) and “not beautiful but fast” as described around 500 BC by the historian and geographer Hecataeus of Miletus

Read More

0 comment