Danaans


Also found in: Dictionary.

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 periodicals archive ?
Son of Tydeus, beyond others the fast-mounted Danaans honored you / with pride of place, the choice meats and the wine filled cups.
I may trust in him and go to the ships of the fast-mounted Danaans.
let your arrows make the Danaans pay for my tears Shed.
484) Tell me now, Muses, having houses on Olympus, (485) - for you are goddesses and you are present to and know all, (486) and we hear report alone, not anything do we know - (487) who the leaders of the Danaans and rulers were.
320, where the reference is to the god Apollo looking straight at the Danaans (Greeks).
any other of the immortals stand there by the Danaans
Helen's speech meets with a sharp rebuke from Aphrodite, who, with two swift prohibitions, warns: "Wretched girl, do not tease me lest in anger I forsake you and grow to hate you as much as now I terribly love you, lest I encompass you in hard hate, caught between both sides, Danaans and Trojans alike, and you wretchedly perish" (414-17).