Sunday, January 4, 2015
Greeks and Myths
The origin of some of our common sayings can be found in a variety of places but, I wasn't expecting to find this one inside the Vatican Museum. I'm sure you've heard the saying "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts". Well, the story that goes with the statue pictured above is the source of that saying. The statue depicts the fate of Laocoon after he tried to warn the Trojans not to let the giant wooden horse into the city. His warning was "do not trust the horse Trojans. Whatever it is, I fear the Greeks even bearing gifts." It is said that Athena, angered by his attempt to thwart the ruse, sent giant snakes and sea serpents to kill Laocoon and his two sons.
The statue of Laocoon and his sons struggling with the serpent was unearthed in 1506 in a vineyard near Rome. Pope Julius II, a classicist sent Michelangelo to examine the statue. Upon his recommendation, the Pope immediately bought the statue and put it on display at the Vatican. It is said to be one of the very first acquisitions that would become the Vatican Museum.