Yu.E. Berezkin, E.N. Duvakin

Thematic classification and distribution of folklore and mythological motifs by area

Analytical catalogue

Ethnicities and habitats

M75b3. Trojan horse: victory over enemies.


Enemies are shown a life-size or larger image of a horse or bull. Not realizing that this is a ruse, they bring the figure to their own territory and are defeated as a result.

Latins, Ancient India, Ancient China (Qin Kingdom), Ancient Greece, Russian written tradition, Georgians.

Southern Europe. Latins: Verg. Aen. II. 1-631, VI. 515-516 [Virgil's Aeneid (1st century BC): The Greeks sailed to Tenedos Island and left a huge wooden horse on the Trojan coast, inside which a group of selected warriors hid; Trojans began to confer; Timet called for the discovered figure to be brought into the city, and Capis and other more cautious Trojans offered to drown, burn or hole the horse; Laocoont warned of the danger and said that the Greeks could hide inside; threw a spear in the horse's side, there was a rumble; the shepherds brought Sinon, who had deliberately surrendered, to Priam; pretending to be frightened, he said that the war-exhausted Greeks decided to leave the shores of Troy and, in order to calm the sea, wanted to sacrifice it before sailing; he allegedly managed to escape and hide; P. ordered his release and asked why was the horse built; S. replied that the horse was dedicated to Minerva and was made by the Greeks to restore her favor; said that if the figure was brought into the city, it would protect it, and if it was destroyed, Priam's kingdom will be destroyed; the Trojans believed S.'s words; two huge snakes crawled out of the sea and killed L. and his two sons; the Trojans considered this a sign, made a hole in the wall and pulled the horse into using a rope into the city; Cassandra predicted their death, but they did not believe her; at night, Greek ships returned to the shores of Troy; S. released the soldiers hiding inside the horse; after killing the guards, they met with his associates at the open gate; in a dream, Hector came to Aeneas and warned him of the danger; the Greeks ravaged and destroyed the city]; Hyg. Fab. 108 [Myths attributed to Guy Julius Gigin, who lived at the turn of the eras, but most likely date back to the 1st and 2nd centuries: "When the Achaeans could not take Troy for ten years, Epey, taught by Minerva, did a wooden horse of extraordinary size, which brought together Menelaus, Ulysses, Diomedes, Tersander, Sphenel, Acamant, Foant, Machaon and Neoptolem. On horseback, the Danais wrote as a gift to MINERVA and moved the camp to Tenedos. When the Trojans saw this, they thought the enemies were gone. Priam ordered the horse to be brought into the fortress dedicated to Minerva and a big celebration be arranged. When the prophetess Cassandra shouted that there were enemies inside, they didn't believe her. At night, when the Trojans put their horse in the fortress and fell asleep, tired of games and wine, the Achaeans came out of the horse opened by Sinon, killed the guards at the gate, let their own people in, giving a sign, and captured Troy" (trans. D.O. Torshilova)]; Sadurska 1986 [one of the earliest Roman images of the "Trojan horse" is presented on the sardonix gemma of the Republican era without exact dating; about ten samples are known (frescoes and reliefs) from Italian territory dating back to the Principal era; two images are among the miniatures contained in the manuscripts of the late 4th and 5th centuries AD "Vergilius Vaticanus" and "Vergilius Romanus"; the earliest of the three Etruscan samples is the carnelian gemma of the 5th century BC from Populonia].

South Asia. Ancient India [Kathasaritsāgara II, 12; after consulting with ministers, King Pradayota (Pāli Pajjota) from Avanti made a wooden elephant that looked like a real one, planted it inside warriors; Udayana, king of Vatsa, fell behind his troops, went up to the elephant, played the flute to lure him; in response, the elephant clapped his ears; the warriors jumped out and captured the king]: Roşu 1958:23.

China - Korea. Ancient China (Qin Kingdom; Shu wan ben ji, Basic Annals of the kings of Shu) [the ruler of Qin gave Kaiming, ruler of Shu (western Sichuan), a gold box; in response, he sent some an ornament, but when King Qin took it in his hands, it fell apart, turning into earth; the king was angry, but the advisers interpreted it as a good sign: Qin will have the lands of Shu; returning to himself, King Qin ordered five stone statues of bulls to be made and a piece of gold attached to each one's tail; when told Kaiming, he failed to send him these "heavenly bulls"; to deliver the statues across the mountains, a road had to be paved; seeing that the bulls did not defecate in gold, K. sent them back, and his messengers called Qin's people shepherds; they replied that caring for the herd will be rewarded - the kingdom of Shu; (thanks to the road built, King Qin was able to send an army across the mountains and seize Shu)]: Sage 1992:108-109.

The Balkans. Ancient Greece (full versions are contained in The Odyssey, Quintus Smirnsky and in the epitomes to the Mythological Library of Pseudo-Apollodor, including fragments of Stesychor, Euripides, Palaefat, Polybius, Dion Chrysostomos, Plutarch and Pausanias): Hom. Od. IV. 271-289, VIII. 492-520, XI. 523-532 [Epeus, with the help of Athena, built a wooden horse, inside which Odysseus hid with other soldiers; the Achaeans set fire to the camp and sailed by ship to sea; The Trojans dragged the horse into their acropolis; began to wonder whether to destroy the loot with weapons, throw it off a cliff, or leave it in the city as an offering to the gods; eventually decided to do last; Elena groped the horse three times and named the noble Achaeans, giving her voice a complete resemblance to the voices of their husbands; Menelaus and Diomedes intended to go outside or respond, but O. held them; Antikla, who wanted to respond to Elena's words, O. clenched his mouth until she left; when he got out of his horse, the Achaeans ruined Troy]; Stesich. PMG 122 (=Ath. Deipn. XIII. 610 c), 199 (=Eusthath. Od. 1698.2), SLG 88 (P. Oxy. 2619, fr. 1, col. II), 105b (P. Oxy. 2619, fr. 18+ P. Oxy. 2803, fr. 11) [papyrus fragments of Stesihor's "The Destruction of Troy" (c. 632-556 BC) and its references by other authors: "... Stesihor says they were included in a wooden horse is a hundred people, and the others are twenty" (PMG 199); "And if anyone asks you who was locked inside a wooden horse, you will correctly name one or two, and then not from a work by Stesihor , because it is difficult, but according to Sakada's "The Destruction of Troy" (?) Argossky; this one listed them all" (PMG 122); from the speech of the Trojan messenger: "... the Danai, burning with rage, suddenly rushed out of their horse. ... neither Earth is the oscillator, Troy is the sacred protector of Ennosis... nor Apollo... nor Aphrodite... nor Saint Artemis... are coming to our aid. That's right, Zeus decided to destroy the city" (SLG 105b); from the speech of the Trojan leader: "You sons of Troy, hurry up in a united formation. And you, in a hurry, allies of Troy, to the fortress to the temple. Let's forget our deceived speeches! An evil horse statue - a votive idol to the goddess - we will disgrace ourselves as a tribute to dishonor! Should we be afraid of the lady of anger?" (SLG 88; translation of all fragments by N.N. Kazansky)] (Greek originals, analysis, translations and comparison with the scene of Ilion's destruction on Tabula Iliaca Capitolina in Kazansky 1997:36-46, 55-88, 92-94, 130-131); Eur. Troad. 511-567 [Euripides's Trojans, staged in Athens in 415 BC: "Over Ilion, oh, /O Muse, new/A song in tears /My heart is sad. /Oh My three melos/Will cry.../Like a wagon four-step, I/ died bitterly in bitter captivity, /When the Greeks left us a horse, /To the sky rattling with a hidden weapon, /And Zlatouzny in front of the gate./I remember how the people screamed, /From the Kremlin to a miracle look:/The end of trouble, the end of the labors,/Raise an idol to the Virgin! /That's a gift for Diya's daughter./And who didn't come from the girls/Who, old, hid into the house? /And with a song, triumphing, /Then we took possession of /An insidious misfortune./And the whole Phrygian family/Rushed to the gate/They lit up in their hands: /Greek cunning, /I wanted to buy, /Virgo's immortal heart we want./After the ropes were wrapped around the womb, /As if the ship's skeleton was, /And they dragged the black horse to the stone/The walls by Palladin into its fateful temple. /Over hard work/And our bright joy, /I I remember the night went down, /The trumpets of Libya sounded, /And dancing to their native chant/Girls stomped, /And the crumbled houses/The slaves lay down, /And the torches on the sleepers/Throwed dark shine. /And me, I'm dancing glorified/And sang to Artemis /In the hall of the Virgin Dieva/With girlfriends./And suddenly the massacre/Shook the city with screams... /With trembling hands/Mother's ashes/Children grabbed, cried.../And left Arey/Horse The pallas are cunning. /The steps of the altars, /Dotted with corpses... /And the corpses on the beds... /Both the youths and we are alone; /And the emptiness in homes -/The crown of Hellas, the brave/Raised sons, /And the mourning of our homeland" (trans. AND. Annensky)]; Palaept. XVI [About the Unbelievable" by Palefat (probably 4th century BC): "It is said that the best of the Achaeans, who were in a floor wooden horse, overthrew Troy. This story is completely made up. Here's the truth. The Achaeans built a wooden horse the size of the gate so that it could not be dragged into the city - it was larger than the gate. The leaders themselves settled in a cave near the city, which is still called the Argiv Lair. Sinon, defecting from the Argivians to the Trojans, tells them that the Achaeans are predicted to return if the Trojans do not bring a horse into the city, and if they do, they will never come again. Hearing this, the Trojans dismantle the wall and bring a horse into the city. And while they were praying to the gods, the Greeks break into the city through the place where the wall was dismantled. This is how Ilion was taken" (trans. V.N. Yarkho)]; Polyb. XII. 4b-c [Polybius's "General History" (c. 200 - c. 120 BC): "Then, in the history of Pyrrhus, he {Timeus} claims that the Romans, even now, in memory of the fall of Troy, stab a combat a horse in front of the city, on the so-called Champ de Mars, because Troy fell due to the notorious wooden horse, nothing could be more naive than this assurance. Either all barbarians should be considered descendants of the Trojans, since almost all barbarian peoples, at least most of them, kill and sacrifice horses either at the very beginning of the war, or before a decisive battle, to discover a sign of the near future when the animal falls. As for Timeus, with his ridiculous explanation, he denounces not only ignorance, but also the extreme stupidity of understanding when, because the Romans sacrifice a horse, he hurries to conclude that they are doing this in the belief that Troy was captured thanks to a horse" (trans. F.G. Mishchenko)]; Dio Chrys. XI. 125, 128 ["Trojan Speech in Defense that Ilion Was Not Taken" by Dion Chrysostomos (c. 40-c. 115): "But look, putting aside rumor and prejudice, how ridiculous the opposite is: an entire army hid in a horse, but none of the Trojan noticed or suspected bad things, and although they also had an unmannered prophetess, they still brought enemies into the city themselves"; "But since Ayantov's grave existed and everyone knew that he died near Troy, then, of course, in order to prevent his husband who killed him from becoming famous, he kills himself here. And the Achaeans, who have burned down their tents and are slowly fleeing Asia, the Achaeans, whose pier Hector burned down the pier and seized the fortifications, the Achaeans, who brought a gift to Athena with a proper inscription, as a custom tells the defeated - these Achaeans nevertheless seem to have taken Troy, and a whole army was able to hide in a wooden horse! The Trojans, on the other hand, suspect something is amiss and decide to burn the horse or cut it to pieces and still do nothing, feast on themselves and fall asleep, although Cassandra predicted all this for them" (trans. N.V. Braginskaya)]; Plut. Sert. I. 3 ["Comparative biographies" by Plutarch (c. 45 - c. 125): "Ilion was taken by Hercules from behind Laomedont's horses and then by Agamemnon with the help of a so-called wooden horse, and for the third time the city Haridem took - and again because a horse was in the gate and the people of Ilion could not lock them up quickly enough" (trans. A.P. Kazhdan)]; Paus. I. 23. 8, III. 13.5, X. 26. 2 [Pausanias's "Description of Hellas" (2nd century): "There is a picture of the so-called "wooden horse" made of copper there {in the acropolis of Athens}. Anyone who does not attribute complete stupidity to the Phrygians can understand that this Epea structure was used to destroy the walls. Since the best of the Hellenes are said to have hidden inside this horse, this copper image also hints of this, and Menestheus and Tevkr, in addition to the sons of Theseus, look out of it"; "Praxilla has her the poems indicate that Carney is the son of Europe and Zeus and that he was raised by Apollo and Latona. But there is another story about him: to build a wooden horse, the Greeks cut down dogwood trees (cranees) that grew on Mount Ida, near Troy, in the sacred grove of Apollo; when they learned that God was angry with them for this, they propitiate Apollo with victims and give him the name Carney, after the name of these trees "cranes", rearranging this letter "ro", which may have been a feature of their ancient language"; from the description of the painting Polygnoth (5th century BC) in the Knidian Forest in Delphi: "Epey is also painted naked, destroying the Trojan wall from the very base. Only the head of a wooden horse rises above it. Next comes Polypoit, son of Periphos, with his head decorated with a (sacred) armband, and next to him is Akamant, son of Theseus, with a helmet on his head; this helmet bears a comb. Odysseus is also painted here: he is dressed in a shell" (trans. S.P. Kondratyeva)]; Quint. Smyrn. XII-XIII ["After Homer" by Quintus Smirnsky (3rd century): Calchant the soothsayer told the Achaeans who besieged Ilion that the city could not be taken without cunning; Odysseus proposed to build a wooden horse and hide it in it warriors; inspired by Athena, Epey made it; Neoptolus, Menelaus, O. and more than twenty other Achaean warriors climbed into the horse using stairs and locked themselves inside; the rest of the Achaeans burned down the camp and sailed to Tenedos; the Trojans found a horse; Sinon, who deliberately remained near him, was caught and tortured; he assured the Trojans that the Achaeans had fled and made a horse to avert Athena's rage from the army; they allegedly wanted to sacrifice him, S., to sea deities, but he fell at the feet of a wooden horse and was therefore left on the shore; one part of the Trojans believed him, the other called him a liar; Laocoont called for the horse to be burned; A. swayed the ground under L.'s feet, his legs crouched, he moaned in pain, and eventually lost his sight; the Trojans took S. to town, and then dragged the horse in, using ropes and after dismantling part of the wall; then they decorated the figure with wreaths and began to rejoice; L. continued to convince the inhabitants to throw the horse into the fire; by order of A., monstrous sea snakes crawled into the city and tore L.'s sons to pieces; the Trojans began to feast and did not pay attention to numerous bad signs; Cassandra predicted the city's death, but was ridiculed; tried to set fire to the horse with a torch and threw herself at him with an axe, but was driven away; at night, when the feasts fell asleep, S. raised the torch above the wall and thus gave a sign to the Achaeans who had sailed; then went to the horse and called the soldiers inside; they descended to the ground with help the stairs prepared by E. and killed the Trojans sleeping nearby; the Achaean army returned to the banks of Ilion and broke into the city; it was devastated and destroyed]; Apollod. Epit. V. 14-21 [Vatican and Sabbaite epitomes to the "Mythological Library" of Pseudo-Apollodor: Odysseus "came up with the idea of building a wooden horse and proposed that Epea, who was a builder, make it. He harvested wood on Mount Ida and made a horse hollow on the inside and with a hole in its side. Odysseus convinced fifty (and according to the author of The Little Iliad, three thousand) best warriors to join the horse; the rest of the warriors were to burn down their tents at nightfall, sail to sea to Tenedos, and anchor there in ambush. They should have come back the following night. They obeyed and put the best of the warriors inside the horse, putting Odyssey at the head of the latter, and wrote the following inscription on horseback: "Returning home safely, the Greeks dedicated this thanksgiving an offering to the goddess Athena." They themselves lit their tents and sailed to Tenedos at night, where they anchored in ambush. They left Sinon at their original parking lot, who was supposed to sign them with a lit torch. When the day came, the Trojans saw the Hellenic camp empty; believing that the enemies had fled, they, delighted, dragged the horse and, having placed it at Priam's palace, began to discuss what should happen to it do it. After Cassandra said that armed warriors were sitting inside him and was joined by the soothsayer Laocoont, some offered to burn him, while others advised to throw him into the abyss. But most Trojans decided to dedicate it to the gods, and after making a sacrifice, they began to feast. Apollo, however, gave them a sign: from nearby islands, two snakes swam across the sea and swallowed up Laocoont's sons. When night fell and everyone fell asleep, the Greeks sailed closer from Tenedos, and Sinon lit a torch for them on Achilles's grave. Elena, on the other hand, went up to the horse and called the knights, imitating the voice of each of them's wife, and when Antikles wanted to answer, Odysseus clenched his mouth. Then, after making sure that the enemies fell asleep, the warriors sitting inside the horse opened a hole and, fully armed, began to leave. Echion, the son of Portei, was the first to jump out and died immediately; the others, tied with a rope, climbed the walls and opened the gate and let the Hellenes who had come from Tenedos in. When they entered the city with weapons in their hands, they went into houses and killed sleepers" (trans. Borukhovich)]; Sadurska 1986 [more than ten images of the "Trojan horse" are known; the earliest are shown on a fragment of the Boeotian bronze brooch (late 8th century BC), a relief pythos with Mykonos (ca. 670 BC), a vase fragment from Tinos (ca. 675-650 BC), a Corinthian ariballe (ca. 560 BC), and a fragment of a black-figure Attic vase (ca. 560-550 BC)].

Central Europe. Russian written tradition: Likhachev et al. 2003 ["The Story of the Creation and Capture of Troy", which was probably compiled for the first edition of the Russian Chronograph at the end of the 15th century and is an abbreviated retelling of The Proverbs of Kralekh, supplemented by extracts from the main text of Konstantin Manasseh's Chronicle (hundreds of manuscripts of the 16th-18th centuries; translated from the Chronograph list of 1512): "Husbands and victims died again, and again the land of Trojan was flooded with blood, and the waves of Scamander were stained again until the Magi prophecy told them that Troy could not be taken with weapons, but only with one trick. And then they made a huge wooden horse and locked brave husbands in it, and pretended to sail to their homeland. The horse was left at the pier, but they fled to the island. The Trojans saw that the shore was empty and only a horse remained on it, and they were surprised, puzzled. At first they thought it was all a trick, and they wanted to destroy the horse - burn it or throw it into the water, but since the time had come when Troy was destined to be captured, we decided to bring the horse into the city as an enemy trophy and loot. And those who brought it in were to feast and play, and fell into deep sleep. The men, hidden, quietly went out and lit the temples, and the flame rose into the sky. And seeing this, the Greeks hurriedly sailed to Troy, and since the gate had been opened by those who had entered (into the city) before, it was as if water had poured in (there) a large Greek army. This is how the solid city of Troy was taken. Elsewhere, it is written that a gray horse, looking like a horse, was made of glass, copper and wax, and three hundred knights, that is, armed boyars, were locked in it. And when they brought him into the city, the gate was destroyed, because he did not go through the gate, and then the soldiers broke the glass with the tips of their swords, jumped out and cut many. All the many troops arrived in time in ships and dry, slaughtered the Trojan nobles, and threw others into the sea"]: 206-207; Likhachev et al. 2006 [Russian version of the Bulgarian translation of Konstantin Manasseh's Chronicle , known from three lists of the 17th century: "Murders and death began again, the extermination of husbands began again, and blood again irrigated the land and Trojan fields, and the Scamander jets were again stained until the Magi spoke, prophesying that it is impossible to take Troy in battle with your hands or weapons, but with only one trick. And then they made a wooden horse and placed soldiers in it, and pretended to have returned to their homeland. The horse was left near the camp, and it was as if they sailed to Tenedon Island. The Trojans saw all this and the empty camp. Seeing only one horse there, they were puzzled and amazed. And initially they believed that all this was a hoax, and they were going to destroy the horse and set it on fire, or throw it off the wall, or sink it into the depths of the sea. However, since it was time to capture Troy, they decided to bring the horse into the city as a souvenir as a trophy from enemies. And those who brought it in began to feast and play, and then fell into deep sleep. The men, who were hiding and waiting for him, quietly went out and kindled a large flame, when they saw that the Hellenes sailed into the sea immediately approached Troy, and when those who had previously penetrated (into the city) opened the gates for them, they joined to Troy, like water during a flood"]: 128-131.

Caucasus - Asia Minor. Georgians (Khevsureti) [an army of deities led by Giorgi (St. George) has been unsuccessfully besieging the Kajis fortress in the underworld for a long time; G. climbs into the horse's carcass, it turns out {the paraphrase does not specify exactly how} inside the fortress; the deities burn the fortress, they return to earth with silver cups and dishes, metal processing tools, three princesses named Ashekala, Mzekala and Samjimari; S. becomes G.'s divine companion]: Sharashidze 1968: 520-530 in Tuite 1998:333.