Quintus Smyrnaeus, Posthomerica

LCL 19: 574-575



Prompted by an omen, the seer Calchas advises the Greeks to resort to trickery. Odysseus suggests a wooden horse. Neoptolemus and Philoctetes wish to continue fighting, but an omen from Zeus guarantees the plan. Epeüs is inspired by Athena to construct the horse. A fight between the gods on opposing sides in the war is quelled by Zeus. Sinon volunteers to stand by the horse and persuade the Trojans to take it inside their city. Nestor is keen to join the ambush, but is dissuaded. Quintus invokes the Muses to help him list those who entered the horse. The rest of the Greeks, with Nestor and Agamemnon, sail away to Tenedos. When questioned by the Trojans, Sinon maintains his story. The priest Laocoön urges them to burn the horse, but his sudden blinding by Athena persuades them that they should ignore his advice and drag it into Troy. Two serpents emerge from the sea and devour Laocoön’s sons. Troy is filled with sinister omens. Cassandra warns the Trojans of their danger, but they prevent her from attacking the horse and begin their final carouse.

The battle between the gods is inspired by the Theomachy in Book 20 of the Iliad. The story of the wooden horse was told in the Little Iliad and the Sack of Troy and


is recounted in the Odyssey (8.492–520; cf. 4.271–89, 11.523–32). Sophocles wrote plays entitled Laocoön and Sinon, now lost, and many other authors treated the subject. The best-known extant account is that in Virgil’s Aeneid (2.13–249), where the narrator is Aeneas.

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.quintus_smyrnaeus-posthomerica.2018