The meaning of, and background to, the well-known expression "Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts.

Well-Known Expressions

Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts

Meaning:

Don't trust an enemy even when he appears to bring you a gift

Background:

In Virgil's retelling of the Trojan Wars as recorded in the Aeneid, when the Greeks leave the shores of Troy they leave behind a wooden horse apparently as a gift for the people of Troy who they have besieged for so many years. As we all know, despite the protestations of Laocoon who advises the Trojans not to bring the horse into the city: Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes ("I fear the Greeks, even when they are bringing gifts,"), the people bring the horse into the city, not knowing that hidden inside are a small band of Greeks who, once the city is asleep, leave the horse and open the gates of Troy to the invading Greek army who have quietly sailed back - and thus Troy was defeated.

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