Monday, December 26, 2011

Laocoön & his Two Sons

"Equo ne credite, Teucri! Quidquid id est, timeo Danaos et dona ferentis."

"Do not trust the horse, Trojans! Whatever it is, I fear the Danaans, even when bringing gifts."Laocoön & his Two Sons by deanv41
Laocoön & his Two Sons, a photo by deanv41 on Flickr.

The Trojan priest, Laocoön, warned the people of Troy against accepting the gift, a great horse, a bettering ram, that held in its belly scores of soldiers from the mainland. Among the soldiers inside it who lay siege and destroyed Troy were Odysseus [Ulysses] a cunning king whose epic voyage home from the war is told by Homer in The Odyssey. That tale is among my favorite books, one that changed the way i see the world, hear language, and learn to pay great heed to literature's many siren songs.
I had heard that a copy of the Roman sculpture of Laocoön existed somewhere in Lincoln Park in San Francisco's Northwest corner, so i set out the other day on my own small odyssey to find it. Here it is, in a small grove beside the southern wall of The Palace of the Legion of Honor. The serpent's head is missing and a fig leaf covers Laocoön's manhood, but it is still an impressive sculpture echoing in marble his warning to the besieged people of Troy against Greeks bearing gifts. The price Laocoön and his two sons paid for interfering with Gods and the ways of war is cast here forever in hard writhing stone.
Troy burned.

No comments: