Danaans


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Danaans

 

(also Danai), the name of the most ancient Greek tribes that inhabited Argos; in Homeric epic literature, one of the names for the Greeks that besieged Troy. According to legend, after the Danaans had lifted their siege of Troy, they left a wooden horse at the walls of the city, inside of which were hidden armed warriors. Despite the warning of the priest Laocoön (“I fear the Danaans, even those bearing gifts,” Vergil, Aeneid, II, 49), the Trojans brought the horse into the city. At night the warriors came out of the horse and opened the gates to the detachments that had returned. Troy was captured and destroyed. The proverbial expression “gifts of the Danaans” signifies gifts that are destructive to those who receive them.

References in classic literature ?
Even as thou didst hear me aforetime when I prayed, and didst press hardly upon the Achaeans, so hear me yet again, and stay this fearful pestilence from the Danaans.
And Achilles answered, "Fear not, but speak as it is borne in upon you from heaven, for by Apollo, Calchas, to whom you pray, and whose oracles you reveal to us, not a Danaan at our ships shall lay his hand upon you, while I yet live to look upon the face of the earth--no, not though you name Agamemnon himself, who is by far the foremost of the Achaeans.
Here I swear That in your downfall I did not avoid One weapon, one exchange with the Danaans, And if it had been fated, my own hand Had earned my death.
Three times you walked around the hollow ambush, feeling it, and you called out, naming them by name, to the best of the Danaans, and made your voice sound like the voice of the wife of each of the Argives.
Son of Tydeus, beyond others the fast-mounted Danaans honored you / with pride of place, the choice meats and the wine filled cups.