Relief representing the wooden horse in front of Troy's wall.
Approx. 330mm (33cm) x 230mm (23cm) x 150mm (1.5cm)
After a fruitless 10-year siege of Troy the Greeks built a huge figure of a horse in which a select force of men hid. The Greeks pretended to sail away, and the Trojans pulled the Horse into their city as a victory trophy. That night the Greek force crept out of the Horse and opened the gates for the rest of the Greek army, which had sailed back under cover of night. The Greek army entered and destroyed the city, decisively ending the war. A "Trojan Horse" has come to mean any trick that causes a target to invite a foe into a securely protected bastion or place.
The priest Laocoön guessed the plot and warned the Trojans, in Virgil's famous line "Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes" (Do not trust Greeks bearing gifts), but the god Athena sent two sea serpents to strangle him, and his sons Antiphantes and Thymbraeus, before he could be believed. King Priam's daughter Cassandra, the soothsayer of Troy, insisted that the horse would be the downfall of the city and its royal family but she too was ignored, hence their doom and loss of the war.
According to the Little Iliad, 30 soldiers hid in the Trojan horse's belly and 2 spies in its mouth.