Not Looking a Gift Horse in the Mouth

24 Apr 2022
by Fight Club Team

On this day the 24th of April 1184 BC, (or thereabouts, it's a little unclear) some devious Greeks got into the city of Troy in perhaps the boldest war trick ever attempted. At least, as the legend goes.

We all know the tale of the Trojan Horse - the Siege of Troy was taking too long for the Greeks, so they built a decoy horse, hid some lads inside it, then tricked the Trojans into taking it within the city walls. They opened the gates from within, and the city fell.

That's the story, but as awesome as it is, it may not be true! The Greeks do love to talk themselves up, especially when it comes to warfare, and modern historians speculate that the so called Trojan Horse could have easily been a battering ram or other such conventional siege engine.

The Gift Horse

In those times it was not uncommon to decorate or theme such engines around animals, either to inspire, cause fear, or show worship to a god. It may be the case that oral historians heard the battle recount, then misinterpreted the meaning. (Either intentionally or not)

It is also equally likely that the "horse" could have been a ship, with its prow decorated in such a manner. Disguised with some benign reason, armed soldiers could easily hide within its decks and cargo. (A boat does seem more practical than a giant, decorative wooden horse, but that's just us speculating.)

If there's any lesson to be learned from this, it's that you don't trust the Ancient Greeks! Firstly with wooden "gifts", but especially when it comes to army sizes: my lord did they ever love to make themselves the underdogs!