Laocoön

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Laocoön

(lāŏk`ōŏn), in Greek mythology, priest of Apollo who warned the Trojans not to touch the wooden horse made by the Greeks during the Trojan War. While he and his two sons were sacrificing to Poseidon at the seashore, two serpents came from the water and crushed them. The Trojans interpreted this event as a sign of the gods' disapproval of Laocoön's prophecy, and they brought the wooden horse into the city. Subsequent events vindicated Laocoön's judgment, however, since the horse was filled with Greeks, who waited until night and then sacked Troy. A magnificent Greek statue by Agesander, Athenodorus, and Polydorus, unearthed in Rome in 1508 and now in the Vatican, shows Laocoön and his sons in their death struggle. This Hellenistic sculpture had an important influence on the artists of the Renaissance.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Laocoön

 

a Trojan priest in ancient Greek mythology.

When the Greeks withdrew from Troy and left outside its walls a huge wooden horse (the Trojan Horse), Laocoön did everything possible to dissuade the Trojans from taking the horse into the city. For this the goddess Athena, who aided the Greeks, sent two serpents against Laocoön and these strangled him and his sons. Laocoön’s death was captured in the sculpture group “Laocoön” by the Rhodian masters, Agesander, Athenodorus, and Polydorus (c. 50 B.C.) and in the second book of Virgil’s Aeneid. Comparison of these two works of art served as the starting point for G. Lessing’s treatise on the laws of fine art and poetry, Laocoön, or The Limits of Painting and Poetry (1766). The myth of Laocoön served as a subject for European painters of the 16th and 17th centuries, such as G. Romano and El Greco.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Laocoön

Trojan priest warns citizens not to accept wooden horse. [Rom. Lit.: Aeneid]
See: Warning
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Laocoon had properly understood the ruse and his admonition had proven accurate.
Wellbery, Lessing's Laocoon; Semiotics and Aesthetics in the Age of Reason, (Cambridge; Cambridge University Press, 1984).
The Laocoon's struggle represents a pervasive trope of male heroism, seen as manifesting itself, not in a moment of triumph, but in a moment of extremity when the hero faces death.
(13.) A book that deals with the differences between the art of place and the art of time is: Laocoon: An Essay on the Limits of Painting and Poetry.
Finally, it was Kipling's agonizing struggle with a changing world that makes him a Laocoon figure.
Concerned with ekphrasis rather than with literary genre, this exploration of the discourses surrounding the Laocoon as a model for depictions of martyr saints is highly informative, but perhaps would be more effective as part of the next chapter, "Christian Tragedy." There, the Martyrdom of St.
In the fifth chapter of his Laocoon (one of the few interesting studies of abstract aesthetics) Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (antiquary, dramatist and contemporary of Goethe) enquires, 'Has a garment, the artifice of a tailor, as much beauty as the creation of eternal wisdom, the articulated body?' Cranach thought not.
It dates back to the acquisition of a lost sculpture--the Laocoon group--in 1506 by Pope Julius II.
Starting with the largely neglected but fascinating text Laocoon, she concludes with the great final epics, Milton and Jerusalem; in between she engages the Poetical Sketches and the Lambeth prophecies.
For Lessing, in his aesthetic treatise, Laocoon, sculpture is an art concerned with the deployment of bodies in space, unlike poetry--the medium of which is time.