First 816 words of the document:
Aeneid II Translation; Lines 195-267
By such traps and by the skill of the lying Sinon, the story was believed and those whom neither the
son of Tydeus, nor Achilles of Larisa, nor ten years, nor a thousand ships subdued were captured by
tricks and fake tears. At this moment another much greater and more terrifying thing befell the
wretched people and alarmed their unsuspecting minds.
Laocoon, chosen by lot as the priest of Neptune, was sacrificing a huge bull at the appointed altars.
But look across the calm seas from Tenedos, twin snakes with huge coils (I shudder reporting it)
breasted the sea and side by side made for the shore;
Their necks were held high among the waves and their bloody crests towered above the waters.
Their other parts skimmed the sea behind and their huge backs arched in coils. A noise arose from the
foaming sea; and now they were reaching the land and with their blazing eyes flecked with blood
and fire, they were licking their hissing mouths with flickering tongues.
We fled, pale at the sight. They made for Laocoon with a straight path and first both snakes enfolded
and wound themselves around the small bodies of his two sons and they fed on their poor limbs with
Then they seized hold of Laocoon himself as he was approaching with help and carrying weapons and
they entwined him in their huge coils. And now, having twice encircled his middle and twice having
put their scaly backs around his neck. They towered above him with their heads and high necks.
At the same time, he tried to tear away the knots with his hands with his headbands drenched with
blood and black venom and at the same time, he raised terrible cries to the stars: they were like the
bellowing when a wounded bull has fled from the altar and has shaken off the poorly aimed axe from
But the twin serpents fled by gliding away to the highest citadel of cruel Minerva and hid under the
feet of the goddess and under the circle of her shield. Then indeed a new fear crept through
everyone's fearful hearts and they said that Laocoon had paid justly for his crime who harmed the
sacred wood with his spear point and hurled his wicked spear into it's back.
They shouted out that the image should be led to their homes and that the divine will of the goddess
should be sought. We breached the walls and opened up the defences of the city. Everyone got
ready for the task and placed rollers under the feet and stretched flaxen ropes around it's neck; the
fatal contraption climbed the walls full of arms. Boys and unmarried girls sang hymns around it and
they rejoiced to touch the rope with their hands.
It advanced and rolled, threateningly, into the middle of the city. Oh my homeland, Oh Troy, home of
the Gods and walls of the Trojans, famous in war! Four times it stopped on the very threshold of the
gate and four times the arms gave a sound from its belly. However, we kept going, mindless and
blind with madness and we placed the dreadful monster on the sacred citadel.
Even then Cassandra opened her mouth with the future fates, never believed by the Trojans by the
order of the God. We poor people, for whom that day was our last, covered the shrines of the gods
with festive flowers throughout the city.
Meanwhile, heaven turned and night rushed over the ocean, enveloping in its great shadow the land
and the sky and the tricks of the Greeks. Sprawled throughout the city, the Trojans fell silent; sleep
embraced their tired limbs.
And now the Greek army, when the ships had been equipped was coming from Tenedos through the
friendly silence of the quiet moon, seeking the familiar shores, when the royal ship raised the fire
signal and Sinon, defended by the unfair will of the gods, secretly released the pine bolts. Having
open up, the horse returned them to the breezes and they happily came forth from the hollow oak,
Thessandrus, Sthenelus, the leaders and dreadful Ulysses, sliding down a rope which had been let
down, and Acamas and Thoas and Neoptolemus, the grandson of Peleus and first Machaon and
Menelaus and Epeos himself, the inventor of the trick.
They invaded a city buried in drunken sleep; the guards were slaughtered and with the gates lying
open, they welcomed all their allies and joined together their confederate forces.