Explore mythology and art with information about the classic stories of heroes and gods...from the myths of ancient Greece and Rome, to the legends of the Celts. Mythography presents resources and reference materials about mythology - including recommended books, and lexicons that explain Greek, Roman, and Celtic terms.

Gardner's Art Through the Ages

This book is the classic reference for the study of art. It features a history of artists and their works, as well as lucid and engaging descriptions of the styles and periods of art history. Highly recommended for both students and scholars.

Aphrodite in Art
Aphrodite in Myth
Art Themes

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Laocoon in Greek Mythology
Laocoon was an intriguing character in Greek mythology. He played a small but significant role in the notorious Trojan war, and his memorable contributions to myth were celebrated in a famous Hellenistic statue. Read on to learn more about this legendary figure.

According to ancient authors, Laocoon was a Trojan priest of Poseidon (note, however, that some sources claim that he was instead one of Apollo's priests). In mythology, Laocoon was the brother of the hero Anchises and son of Capys. One of our best sources for the story of Laocoon is found in Virgil's Aeneid. In this epic tale, the Roman poet Virgil describes the dramatic scene in which the Trojans discover an enormous Wooden Horse standing outside the city of Troy. The prescient priest Laocoon warns against bringing the gigantic Horse into Troy in a famous speech:

"'O my poor people,
Men of Troy, what madness has come over you?
Can you believe the enemy truly gone?
A gift from the Danaans, and no ruse?
Is that Ulysses' way, as you have known him?
Achaeans must be hiding in this timber,
Or it was built to butt against our walls,
Peer over them into our houses, pelt
The city from the sky. Some crookedness
Is in this thing. Have no faith in the horse!
Whatever it is, even when Greeks bring gifts
I fear them, gifts and all.'"
(Virgil, The Aeneid, Book II, 59-70)

Immediately after saying these words, Virgil has Laocoon hurl his spear into the flank of the Wooden Horse. However, this gesture was to come back to haunt Laocoon. For soon after this incident, while the priest is sacrificing to his god Poseidon, a pair of giant sea serpents emerge from the sea and envelope both Laocoon and his two sons (this tragic scene is immortalized in the aforementioned Hellenistic statue - see the gallery page below for details and an image). The Trojans interpret this grotesque punishment as a sign that Laocoon offended the gods - either Athena or Poseidon in particular - for attacking the Wooden Horse. In the end, the Horse in brought into Troy, which is a fatal mistake and seals the city's doom.

Laocoon in Art History
Gallery | For pictures and information about Laocoon in art, visit the Mythography gallery!

Who's Who in Classical Mythology

Who's Who in Classical Mythology

This book is a great source for information about Greek and Roman mythology! Organized alphabetically, this who's who features information about over 1200 of the most intriguing characters from Classical myth and legend.

Bulfinch's Mythology

Bulfinch's Mythology

The stories of Classical myth come to life in Bulfinch's book. This edition also features legends from other cultures.

Mythography Forums

Mythography Forums

Do you have a specific question about Greek, Roman, and Celtic mythology? Then try the Mythography forum!

The Aeneid