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Edith Hamilton's Mythology

by Edith Hamilton
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Who is left behind to tell the Trojans the lie?

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The Greeks knew that they could not win unless they took their enemies by surprise within Troy itself. Odysseus, ever cunning, devised a plan: he had a worker craft a large wooden horse with a hollow in the inside large enough to hold many men. He planned to hide himself...

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The Greeks knew that they could not win unless they took their enemies by surprise within Troy itself. Odysseus, ever cunning, devised a plan: he had a worker craft a large wooden horse with a hollow in the inside large enough to hold many men. He planned to hide himself and his men inside of it, and ambush Troy once the horse had passed through the city gates.

In order for this plan to work, Odysseus planned to leave one man behind so that the Trojans would draw the horse into the city without investigating. Under the cover of darkness, the warriors would then spill out, open the gates to the rest of the army, and conquer Troy.

The plan was carried out: the horse placed outside the gates, the Greek camp empty but for one man—Sinon. Taken to Priam, he wept that he no longer wanted to be a Greek, for he was to serve as a human sacrifice. Odysseus’ tale was that Athena, displeased by the theft of the Palladium, had demanded blood in exchange for their return. Sinon told the Trojans that he had just managed to escape, and had seen the ships sail away himself.

The Trojans did not question him, but assured Sinon that he should be welcome as one of them. Sinon now told the second part of his story: that the horse had been constructed as an offering, and its size was so that the Trojans could not claim it as their own by moving it within the city. He told them that the Greeks hoped that the Trojans would destroy it, and therefore draw Athena’s anger upon them.

The Trojans brought the horse inside the gate, jubilant in their belief that the war was over—and that night the Greeks struck.

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