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Artist's impression of Laocoon shortly before his death (detail of the Laocoon group )

Laocoon ( ancient Greek Λᾱοκόων [ laːokǒɔːn ]) was a Trojan priest of Apollon Thymbraios or Poseidon in Greek and Roman mythology . He was first mentioned by name by Arktinos of Miletus in the Iliu persis (7th century BC), whose work is largely lost. Later authors of Greek and Latin literature mention Laocoon's actions in their depictions of the Trojan War , although their depictions vary widely.

First, Greek authors, whose texts have only survived fragmentarily or in summaries, tell that Laocoon and his wife loved each other in the temple of Apollon Thymbraios and thus incurred the wrath of God. Two snakes that the god sent out then killed either Laocoon and a son or only his two sons at the altar of Apollon Thymbraios in the city of Troy. It was not until Virgil's depiction of the myth in his epic Aeneid from the 1st century BC. Chr. Is handed down in a longer version. The story of Laocoon is shifted and linked to the Trojan horse : While the Greeks pretended to leave Troy and give the city a wooden horse to honor the gods, which was actually filled with Greek fighters, Laocoon was the only one to recognize the deception . He struck the horse with a spear ; However, this ricocheted. Thereupon two snakes appeared, sent by Athena , who killed Laocoon together with both sons. The Trojans thought they saw it as a punishment from the gods for desecrating the gift, so they pulled the wooden horse into the city and thus sealed their doom.

There are also not many pictorial representations of Laocoon that have come down to us from antiquity. In addition to two craters , two wall paintings from Pompeii and a few Kontorniat medallions are known; whether a late Etruscan gem also represents Laocoon is controversial. By the end of the Latin Middle Ages, knowledge of the myth waned and the portraits were also lost; Drawings for manuscripts of the Virgil editions are the only artistic evidence of knowledge of history . It was not until the discovery of the Laocoon Group (1506), an ancient Roman marble sculpture from the 1st century before or after Christ, which shows Laocoon and his sons fighting with snakes, that the legend was increasingly represented. Based on this group, a general debate about Greek art developed especially in the 17th and 18th centuries . The interpretation of the Laocoon myth in the scientific community is extremely controversial, the focus is on the representations of Virgil , Petron and Quintus of Smyrna .


The name Laocoon ( ancient Greek Λᾱοκόων / laːokǒɔːn / ) is composed of λᾱός / laːǒs / “(foot) people; People, warriors ”and κοέω [koéo] / koěɔː / “ look, pay attention to something ”. He therefore means "who pays attention to the people". Laocoon was considered the son of Antenor or Kapys / Acoetes, brother of Anchises and uncle of Aeneas . He is thus also related to the Trojan royal house. According to Hyginus Mythographus , Fabulae, 135, Apollon had forbidden Laocoon to marry and have children; he nevertheless entered into a marriage with Antiope and fathered children with her. Ancient authors, however, disagreed about the names of his sons: the late antique commentator Maurus Servius Honoratius states that the otherwise unknown author Thessandrus called them Ethron / Aethion and Melanthus ; Hyginus Mythographus, however, gave them the names Antiphates and Thymbraios / Thymbraeus .

In the course of his life, Laocoon was ordained either a priest of Apollon Thymbraios (after whom Laocoon's son was also named) or of the sea god Poseidon / Neptune . Servius traces this ambiguous assignment back to the representation of the myth in Euphorion (see below ).

Antenor or
Kapys / Acoetes
Ethron or
Melanthus or

Laocoon's sons shortly before their death. Detail from the Laocoon group .

Framework story

The procession of the Trojan horse to Troy , detail, Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo , 18th century

The myth of the conquest of the city of Ilios was coined by several Greek and Latin authors. Already in the Odyssey (7th century BC) attributed to Homer , it is mentioned, albeit without the participation of Laocoon, and later mainly by authors such as Quintus of Smyrna (3rd century AD) in the Posthomerica in Greek Page and expanded by Virgil in his Aeneid (1st century BC) in Latin. The following sequence arises for the events surrounding Laocoon's actions:

After the Trojan War had been unsuccessful for ten years, according to Homer the Achaeans , according to Quintus and according to a prophecy of the seer Kalchas, only Odysseus devised a ruse to conquer Ilios after all: the best builder of the Achaeans, Epeios , should build a wooden horse design, which is known as the " Trojan Horse " because of the region around the city of Ilios ("Troy") . According to Quintus, Athena conveyed the necessary instructions for the three-day construction in a dream: The Achaeans would first have to burn down their camp and pretend to leave the battlefield. The strongest warriors, on the other hand, are supposed to get to the city of Ilios in the belly of the horse and secretly climb out of it at night. By means of a light signal, they would then beckon the remaining Achaeans to storm the fortress in motion and finally open the gates for them. So the majority of the Achaeans drove to the island of Tenedos out of sight of the Trojans. Only one man was supposed to stay behind to hand over the horse to the Trojans as a replacement for the stolen image of Athens ( Palladion ). Only Sinon was brave enough to carry out this plan. He informed the Trojans of the reason for the replacement gift and pretended that the Achaeans wanted to sacrifice him for a safe journey back, but that he had fled, clung to the horse's feet and thus taken the protection of Athens.

The Trojans were initially undecided (according to some versions even before Sinon's recommendation) whether they should burn the wooden horse, slice it open, throw it down the cliff or move to Ilios as a votive gift to appease and delight the gods. According to some descriptions of Laocoon history, the Trojans had chosen the latter regardless of Laocoon's appearance. According to other versions, Sinon's speech was followed by the story of Laocoon, which ended with his punishment by the killing of one or more of his children or by his own death. Kassandra prophesied either before or after these deaths, depending on the myth, that Ilios' end was imminent; the Trojans ignored this warning. Kassandra then seized a torch and a double ax to uncover the deception in the horse, according to Quintus , but she was prevented from doing so by her compatriots and fled - to the quiet joy of the Achaeans in the horse. The Achaeans were able to leave this at night and ultimately destroy the Trojans as planned.

Ancient Laocoon myth

Arctinos from Miletus

Laocoon is first mentioned in the early Greek epic Iliu persis , which is attributed to Arktinos of Miletus (7th century BC) and has only survived in fragments. According to a summary of the epic handed down by the late antique scholar Proclus , the Trojans first decided not to throw the horse off a cliff or burn it, but to consecrate Athena. During the victory celebration, two snakes come and kill Laocoon and one of his two sons. The Trojan Aeneas interpreted this as a bad omen and fled to Mount Ida ; Meanwhile Sinon opened the gates to the Greeks, who came to battle not from the horse's trunk but from Tenedos . ( Arktinos from Miletus : Epicorum Graecorum Fragmenta 62, 11 = Proklos ' Chrestomatia 239–251 Severyns, Ἰλίου περσίδος β̄ Ἀρκτίνου .)

The philologist Clemens Zintzen sees the snake attack on Laocoon as a punishment for his warning about the Trojan horse . Kassandra had spoken this before Arktinos' presentation . Carl Robert recognizes in the death of only one of the two sons of Laocoon near Arktinos a reference to the Trojan royal family, since the family of Priam is wiped out, but that of Anchises is saved by Aeneas' flight. He was warned of the Trojan horse by the death of the two people. A previous guilt of Laocoon, as this is partly discussed in later versions, is not necessary for this interpretation. Robert also sees the number of snakes as justified by the two numbers of the royal families; the scientists Bodoh, Knox, Putnam and Salanitro, who, following a comment by the ancient grammarian Tiberius Claudius Donatus on verse 203 of the second book of the Aeneid , see the atrids Agamemnon and Menelaus embodied in the reptiles, are quite different . Donatus had only suggested equating the twin snakes with the Greeks at Tenedos. The classical philologist Heinz-Günther Nesselrath finally suspects that Pseudo-Apollodor's depiction of the Laocoon saga is related to Arktinos ', and thus postulates a spear thrust by Laocoon against the Trojan horse for Arktinos' version, i.e. Laocoon's debt.


Maurus Servius Honoratius (4th century AD) mentions in his commentary on Virgil's Aeneid that the poet Bakchylides (5th century BC) probably wrote a dithyrambus about Laocoon and his wife and about snakes that came from Kalydna and turned into people, wrote poetry. According to the classical philologist Erich Bethe , Bakchylides seems to have detached the Laocoon story from Arktinos' version, whereupon his colleagues Foerster and Zintzen suspected that Laocoon's disregard of Apollo's law of chastity was alluded to in the dithyramb. ( Bakchylides , fr. 9 Maehler)


Aeneas carries Anchises , with Askanios and his wife. Amphora from a Greek workshop in Etruria , around 470 BC BC , State Collections of Antiquities .

A Greek tragedy called “Laocoon” that Sophocles wrote in the 5th century BC. Chr. Wrote, is lost except for a few fragments : At a traditional point of the tragedy an Apollo altar burns , the myrrh smoke ; another mentions Poseidon, who inhabits the cliffs of the Aegean and rules the blue seas. Finally, a messenger announces the arrival of Aeneas. ( Sophocles , fr. 370–377)

Dionysius of Halicarnassus (1st century BC) sees the interpretation of the passage in his Antiquitates Romanae in the events of Laocoon's sons with or without their father as a sign of the fall of Troy, the word Λαοκοωντίδας allows both interpretations. He also mentions that Aeneas (together with his household and a lot of Phrygians [Trojans]) went to Mount Ida as he did with Arktinos; however, Sophocles's father Anchises asked him to do so - Laocoon's death was just a supplementary warning. Anchises had been struck down by Zeus ' lightning and was now carried away on his shoulders by Aeneas. In the research of the late 19th century there was a dispute between Carl Robert , the Dionysius' word Λαοκοωντίδας ("the Laocoontids") interpreted as "the two Laocoon sons" and the tragedy thus connected to the representation of Bachylides, whereas Richard Foerster this word as "Laocoon and Sons" and thus as a continuation of the Arktinos story. Erika Simon comes to the same conclusion as Robert when interpreting vases found in the 20th century (see section “ Reception ”). Various scientists reconstruct a possible course of Sophocles' tragedy from the Laocoon episodes presented later in Virgil , Euphorion and Hygin . According to the classical philologists Hermann Kleinknecht and Heinz-Günther Nesselrath, this is not legitimate for the two last-named authors, since the sexual intercourse between Laocoon and his wife Antiope, described by the ancient authors, is not a typical tragic misconduct ( hamartia ), but a real religious crime .

Maurus Servius Honoratius also reports that Sophocles gave the names of the snakes - this is the first evidence for the naming of the snakes. Friedrich Gottlieb Welcker and Horst Althaus see a reference to Bakchylides in the naming of the snakes in Sophocles, which Robert, Engelmann / Höfer, Pearson and Foerster contradict due to the representations in Pseudo-Apollodor and Johannes Tzetzes . Engelmann / Höfer even doubt that Sophocles really mentioned the names.


The ancient author Maurus Servius Honoratius states in his commentary on Virgil's Aeneid that Euphorion (3rd century BC) wrote in his tragedy about Laocoon that a priest of Neptune was stoned because he did not through the arrival of the Greeks Had prevented victims. After the Greeks left, the Trojans wanted to sacrifice Neptune to make it difficult for them to travel home. However, because the regular priest was missing, they drew lots. The lot fell on Laocoon, the priest of Apollon Thymbraios, who had slept with his wife Antiope in the temple of Apollo in front of its cult image. He and his sons were then killed as punishment. According to Servius, however, this story was glossed over by the poets in order to absolve Troy of a guilt. ( Euphorion , Fr. 70 Powell = 75 from Groningen = 80 Scheidweiler)

Since no direct statements by Euphorion have been passed down, research fluctuates in the interpretation of this representation by Servius. Due to the relocation of the action location from the city to the sea, as mentioned by Servius, Carl Robert sees a compositional compulsion which is atypical for the ancient Greek tragedy and accuses the commentator of a subsequent falsification of the material in order to be able to explain the scene in Virgil . Foerster, Adolf Furtwängler , Ehwald , Gerhard Schott , Horst Althaus and Nesselrath contradict this , since otherwise Servius' comment could not be explained and Euphorion probably made such atypical changes more often. Euphorion could thus be a source for Virgil, but his own sources are uncertain: Robert finds arguments for and against an influence of Sophocles , Clemens Zintzen sees allusions to Bakchylides . In Herbert Steinmeyer's interpretation, it was not Euphorion, but Virgil who moved the scene. For Schott, on the other hand, Euphorion's and Hygin's texts are related to one another in various ways, including the setting, the beach.

Nicandros made of colophon

In a fragment of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri , which is attributed to Nikandros from Kolophon (2nd century BC), Apollo sends the two sea snakes from the Kalydna Islands , which Nikander calls Porkes and Chariboia after they were nourished by the Thymbrean Sea . However, these devour only one son of Laocoon, and this via altars. Since Laomedon's offense against Poseidon and Apollon is also mentioned in the context, Nesselrath suspects that his half-great-nephew Laocoon was also punished for it. ( Nikandros from Kolophon , fr. 562. In: Tragica Adespota , fr. 721)


In Latin literature , the myth about Laocoon is described for the first time and at the same time most extensively in the second book of Virgil's Aeneid (1st century BC); he shaped subsequent representations. Since then, the Laocoon warning, which is discussed here for the first time in the form of a thrust of a spear, has dominated Latin literature over the futile prophecies of Kassandra , who, unlike Laocoon, according to myth, could not be believed either way; Laocoon and both sons may also die here for the first time . According to Macrobius Ambrosius Theodosius ' Saturnalia 5, 2, 4 (5th century AD), the source for Virgil's second book of the Aeneid is a lost, post-Hellenistic epic by Peisandros of Laranda , the concept of which is unknown in the Laocoon saga. The philologists Alfred Chilton Pearson and Roland Gregory Austin, on the other hand, trace the Vergilian version back to a similar Sophoclean text, Richard Foerster follows Servius and sees Euphorion as the main source for the Laocoon story.

Aeneas tells Dido about the fall of Troy, Baron Pierre Narcisse Guérin , oil on canvas, 1815

At the request of Queen Carthage , Dido , the Trojan Aeneas tells of the fall of Troy and his subsequent wandering to Carthage. He begins building the Trojan horse. After the Greeks had left this, the Trojans discussed what to do. One part is for dragging the horse into town; others want to throw it off the cliff, burn it, or cut it open and search it. The resulting tumult is only resolved by Laocoon, who, coming up from the castle, admonishes his fellow citizens with provocative questions not to accept this horse, since he does not expect any gifts from the Greeks and fears such Danaer gifts that have become proverbial . He suspects Greeks in the horse's trunk or an act of espionage and recalls Odysseus' lists. He hurled a lance into the back of the horse with full force, whereupon it shook and almost exposed the Greeks. ( Virgil , Aeneis , 2, 40–56) Fate, however, distracted the Trojans from these events by allowing them to find Sinon , who had been exposed by the Greeks to their deception . This is how he succeeds in convincing the Trojans that the war is now over.

When Laocoon then sacrifices a bull at a temple near the sea, two snakes approach the Trojan beach from Tenedos . Startled, the Trojans scatter, but the snakes strive towards Laocoon and first reach Laocoon's sons and poison them or devour their limbs. Laocoon approaches the snakes with a spear, but is wrapped around them twice and tries to free himself. The snakes poison his bandages and desecrate them, whereupon Laocoon himself cries out like a badly hit, fleeing sacrificial animal. Whether he then dies or this scream should symbolize his dishonor as a priest is a matter of dispute in research. The snakes then withdraw into the uppermost temple and the castle of the Tritonis ; The Trojans bring, convinced that Laocoon has atoned his spear thrust in the horse consecrated to Minerva, this in their city. ( Virgil , Aeneid , 2, 199–227)


The scientific interpretations of Virgil's Laocoön episode are numerous and very different. Hans Theodor set the first influential modern interpretations by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing in his work Laokoon or Beyond the Limits of Mahlerey and Poetry (1766), Friedrich Schiller in Über das Pathetik (1793) and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in “Über Laokoon” (1798) Plüss in 1884 countered a still authoritative, detailed linguistic and content-related explanation, without considering Laokoon representations by other authors. He saw in Virgil's text neither a guilt on Laocoon, nor sublimity in the representation or an unforgivable stupidity of the Trojans, but rather concern about the hard will of the gods to frighten the audience. He sees the purpose in the uniform representation of Laocoon's fate with the aim of the cruel implementation of the divine plan to destroy Troy.

Erich Bethe is bothered by some formulations in Virgil's text that do not fit into the context of the presentation, especially Sinon's speech , which is documented here for the first time, but not purposeful. It is possible that Virgil was unable to solve the problems before his death or that the Trojans did not completely fall for the deception of Sinon and at the same time wanted to preserve the myth. Because Laocoon acts are not linked to the Trojan horse from Virgil, athetiert (removes) therefore the verses 40-56 and 199-233 to the original story reconstruct . He is followed by some interpreters such as Robert, Mackail and Malcolm Campbell.

Richard Heinze was the first to argue against the deletion of the verses and emphasized that a divine confirmation of the downfall was absolutely necessary, since nothing else would take place in the Aeneid without one and the Trojans were now also convinced by gods. This also explained other difficulties observed by Bethe, such as the division of the Laocoon episode in Virgil: Sinon's speech should not fade to Laocoon's death, but is framed by it. Much like Austin, who points out that without this supernatural mark, the Trojans might have argued endlessly about what they should have done, despite Sinon's persuasion. The gods had cruelly made the decision for them. Malcolm Campbell contradicts this, however.

Heinze's unitarian interpretation prevailed over the analytical interpretation of Bethes in research; it was intensified by classical philologists such as Hermann Kleinknecht, Friedrich Klingner , Clemens Zintzen and Peter Krafft . Krafft, for example, compares the Laocoon episode with other depictions in Virgil's Aeneid and anchors both the exposition and the throwing of the javelin with the surrounding text. The episode is a prodigium , a divine, affirming miracle sign. The characters in the work understand the signs incorrectly every time, but the reader or the retrospective figure can then relativize this and interpret it as an indication of Troy's downfall. According to Zintzen, Virgil tries to relieve Aeneas of a guilt and to show the Trojans as blinded by the gods and Sinon's psychagogical deception: They interpreted Laocoon's misfortune as a punishment for his actions on the Trojan Horse - and not, as usual, for having sex with his wife . With his argument, Krafft strives to reconcile the analytical position with the unitarian position and to establish a kind of “ tragic irony ” in the scene. Schott, Steinmeyer, Zintzen, Gärtner and Erler do this in a similar way . Otto Zwierlein contradicts the blindness of the Trojans as a contributory cause , since Virgil, like the late antique commentators Servius and Donatus, only name the fate and deceit by the Greeks as the cause of Laocoon's death. The divine arbitrariness is shown by the sudden distraction from the Trojan horse by Sinon's speech and the snake attack on Laocoon. Aeneas and the other Trojans are not to be blamed. Hermann Kleinknecht offers a detailed study of the interpretation as a prodigium: Among other things, he draws a comparison with the conquest of Vejis by Marcus Furius Camillus in 396 BC. And to the so-called "Gauls Storm" a few years later, which led to the conquest of Rome . Virgil let Aeneas appear as a kind of historian who explains the fall of Troy with the usual prodigies for historiography. For Steinmeyer, however, this is not a quiet prodigium, as one would expect in historical works, but the scenery is characterized by the movement of snakes and the counter-movement of Laocoon.

Classical philologist Severin Koster sees Virgil's Laocoon as an allusion to Mark Antony (left) influenced by the Laocoon group and tries to remove the scene. On the right Antony's rival Octavian , later called Augustus; Aureus 41 BC Chr.

Severin Koster , on the other hand, continues Bethe's analytical argument. The additions went back to an influence by the Laocoon group: This should represent Mark Antony and his sons, who were killed by Octavian (later Augustus). In the Aeneid dedicated to Augustus, Virgil then transferred the punishment of Antony to the figure of Laocoon. His death can be seen as a founding sacrifice of Rome, since Aeneas then leaves Troy and sets out to found Rome. Augustus also re-founded Rome in a similar way. Jörg Rüpke connects the first mention of the spear thrust against the Trojan horse with the ancient Roman cult of the October horse . Already in the 3rd century BC The ancient historian Timaeus of Tauromenion had considered this possibility. He bases his argument on information from residents and local Trojan artifacts. However, the historian Polybius (2nd century BC) strongly contradicts this in his historical work (Book XII.4b – 4c), since almost all non-Greeks sacrificed a horse before a war and the cult can be traced back to it. Quite different from Ernst Bickel , who saw the Trojan horse as symbolizing the sea and horse god Poseidon himself. Because of an unpaid bill, he tore down Troy's walls as a stomping horse. But when Laocoon now thrust the lance against the horse, he, the Poseidon priest, attacked his god directly and was then killed together with his sons by the snakes that had come upon him from the sea assigned to Poseidon. According to Herbert Steinmeyer, in the other tradition of Laocoon, this corresponds to outrageous intercourse in the temple of Apollo as his priest. With Virgil, Laocoon is no longer a priest at all, but rather a speaker and agitator in the interests of his polis. In doing so, he fails against the divine plan. Classical archaeologist Margot Schmidt connects the Laocoon story with the killing of Priam's son Troilos by Achilles , who, like Laocoon's death, is a necessary precondition for the fall of Troy.

According to the classical archaeologist Bernard Andreae , Laocoon could be seen as a founding sacrifice for the future city of Rome, although Aeneas did not leave Troy until much later. The long chain of clues that began with Laocoon's death should be noted. Carl Robert, however, had spoken out in favor of the fact that the character of warning for Aeneas had been lost with the relocation of the Laocoön episode from the city to the beach. Virgil then invented the motif of the spear thrust in order to be able to depict the story. Quite different is Steinmeyer and John Richard Thornhill Pollard, who reject the connection of Laocoon's myth as a sign of the fall of Troy, since Virgil does not address this anywhere. Zwierlein sees the Trojans as being based solely on the hostility of the gods towards their downfall. In addition, Andreae sees several allusions by Lycophron Alexandra to the Laocoon story, which also mean the fall of Troy - for example, the equation of the snakes with the Greeks hidden in ambush.

The classical philologist Gregor Maurach speaks out explicitly against Laocoon as a victim, who combines the portrayal with Laocoon's ignorance of Apollo's prohibition to marry and have children. Therefore, it is not explicitly stated that Laocoon is dying, but only that his priestly regalia would be sullied with poison, as Hans Theodor Plüss had already pointed out. Stephen Tracy goes in a similar direction as Maurach, who sees a second Paris in Laocoon who is conspicuous for “sexual misconduct”. This “typical Virgilian human act” then points to Troy's destruction. Günter Engelhard also claims that Laocoon's sacrilege did not consist in thrusting a spear, as interpreted by the Trojans, but that sexual intercourse with his wife Antiope was spread as the official version in Troy. Gerald Petter comes to the same conclusion as Maurach: Only the two sons are killed, not Laocoon himself. He does not see mythical creatures in Virgil's description of the snake, but real animals. Petter's detailed explanations for their behavior do not agree in any point with the behavior of real venomous snakes which has been proven in biology .


Virgil's text takes Titus Petronius as a model in his work Satyrica (1st century AD): The young traveler Encolpius meets the poet Eumolpus in the Pinakothek with works by the painters Zeuxis of Herakleia , Protogenes and Apelles , who has a picture over him the fall of Troy, which they consider together, wants to bring even closer with an improvised poem: After the construction of the Trojan horse and the departure of the Greeks, the people believe they are at peace. The Neptune priest Laocoon comes up roaring and scratches the horse with a lance in vain, which confirms the Trojans that they have won peace. Only when Laocoon shook the side of the horse with a double ax and the Greeks spoke in hushed voices did the Trojans suspect the deception. The horse enters the city, whereupon two sea snakes appear from the detailed Tenedos. These embrace and eat the twin sons of Laocoons in sacrificial garb, who still want to help one another in brotherly love. Laocoon tries in vain to come to their aid, is attacked himself, thrown on the ground between altars and killed like a sacrificial animal. The Trojans were the first to lose their gods, according to Eumolpus. This is how they ultimately perished themselves. At this point, Eumolpus is interrupted because the audience is throwing stones at him. He and Encolpius flees to the beach, where he explains to his pupil that something like this has happened to him before. Then Encolpius almost throws stones at him. ( Titus Petronius , Satyrica , 89)

The Roman Emperor Nero is said to have sung a story about the destruction of Troy during the Great Fire in Rome in 64. Marble portrait of the emperor in the Glyptothek in Munich .

According to Erika Simon , the story must be meant as a parody or criticism of authors who interpreted the Trojan saga too much with Virgil's text . She explicitly mentions the emperor and patron of Petrons, Nero , who, according to Suetonius Nero 38 and Tacitus Annales 15, 39, announced his story of the conquest of Troy during the great fire of Rome in 64 from the tower of Gaius Maecenas . Kenneth FC Rose concludes from this that Petron's text must have been written in the year 65. Heinz Stubbe and John Patrick Sullivan doubt, due to the lack of tradition of Nero's work, that Petron was rivaling or parodying it; a reference to Lucan's Iliacon is also unlikely. For Edward James Barnes it does not seem necessary to accept a criticism of Virgil or even a parody of Seneca's style and metrics, at most irony. A conclusion about a real picture, which could have been the godfather of Petron, has been discussed variously in research. Stubbe, Barnes and Simon speak out in favor of the existence, Peter Habermehl lacks, among other things, a more precise localization of the Pinakothek. Catherine Connors notes that Eumolpus does not imply a pictorial description, but appears to simply describe a first-person story.

In research, the poem is almost exclusively interpreted as a mistake: According to Erika Simon, Eumolpus was almost stoned to death by the listeners because they regarded his poem as unsuccessful. John James Bodoh refers to missed linguistic means as unnecessary False and comic alliterations , metric inaccuracies in Petronius 65 iambs long work against Virgil's well-honed Hexameter -Versen and a poorer vocabulary. Petron's portrayal could thus be a parody or a subtle criticism of Virgil's manner. In contrast to Virgil, so Stubbe, Petron does not directly link Laocoon's death with the arrival of the horse or with the fall of Troy. According to Stubbe and Sullivan, his style is more in line with the dramatic messenger reports such as in Lycophron's Alexandra and Seneca's Phoenissen or his works Phaedra and Agamemnon. The same applies to the excessive use of style figures, according to Ciaffi and Salanitro. In contrast, Roger Beck , Otto Schönberger , Gesine Manuwald and others see Petron's text not as a dissolute but rather appealing alienation. For Victoria Rimell , Eumolpus' listeners only misunderstood him, just as the Trojans misinterpreted the warnings.

Habermehl no longer sees Petron's Laocoon as the authority of character in the Aeneid, but as a mute, weakened person who is sacrificed at the altar in the city through the will of the gods. Therefore, the focus of this variant of the story is more on the killing of the twin sons of Laocoon, who fought for each other, as was the case before Virgil. Laocoon's death is only motivated for the snakes by the fact that he rushes to the aid of his sons; no guilt can be found either with him or with his sons. Habermehl's interpretation that the Trojans dragged the Trojan horse into the city in their blindness is contradicted by Zwierlein: With the desecration of the Palladion , the gods turned away from the Trojans and first killed their priest Laocoon as a punishment. In this way, Virgil's representation of Laocoon is traced back to the real cause of the gods' arbitrariness. In contrast to the majority of interpreters since Lessing, Stubbe and Schönberger do not see Virgil as a direct predecessor, but rather a mythographic manual. Barnes, however, has compiled extensive parallels to Virgil in a previously unrecognized monograph . Also in comparison with Petron's Laocoon depiction, in addition to motifs that Petron adapted directly from Virgil, it was possible to find places in which he continued his pictures. In addition, he developed his own motifs and also used content that Virgil and other authors would have presented before him. The consequence of these changes is an even cruiser and more arbitrary death than Virgil described it.


In the library of Apollodorus (1st century AD) it is reported in an epitome that the wooden horse was first drawn into the city and only then warned Laocoon next to Kassandra as with Virgil about the horse occupied by armed men. Some of the Trojans then considered burning the horse or falling off a cliff; but the majority decided to put it up in town as a Christmas present - exactly the same three alternatives as with Arktinos, only in a different order. Then the Trojans celebrated a sacrificial meal as in Arktinos . Thereupon Apollo sent the Trojans two snakes from a nearby island across the sea as a divine symbol, which then devoured the sons of Laocoon. Nothing is said about the whereabouts of the father. Subsequently, Sinon gave the Greeks a fire sign to conquer the city. ( Library of Apollodorus , Epitome 5, 17f.)

The new discovery of this piece at the end of the 19th century led to various reinterpretations of this and other Laocoon representations in literature. For Engelmann / Höfer, Zintzen and Nesselrath, pseudo-Apollodor could refer to Sophocles and not Virgil's portrayal - Paul Dräger rejects this. But there are also references to Arktinos' version. It is also controversial whether the divine sign mentioned refers to the spear thrust not mentioned here or to another act of the priest (so Becker against Heinze). Quite different is Stubbe and Gärtner, who see the divine sign in the fact that Apollo withdraws and thus surrenders Troy to the Greeks, which he exemplifies through the death of the sons of Laocoon. For Foerster, the downfall of the sons is an indication of the coming downfall of Troy, and he sees Lesches ' Little Iliad as the source for the representation . According to Clemens Zintzen, the epitoms relating to Laocoon may have been written by Johannes Tzetzes (see below). According to the archaeologist Karl Schefold , the warnings from Kassandra and Laocoon had to fail because they did not want to surrender to Apollo and Laocoon had married against his will or slept with his wife in his temple.

Hyginus Mythographus

Hyginus Mythographus (2nd century AD) rather summarizes the saga following the authors before Virgil, but without placing it in the mythical context: Laocoon married with him against the will of Apollo and had children. When Laocoon is allowed to offer a sacrifice to Poseidon on the coast, the god sends him two serpents from Tenedos as punishment . You intend to kill his sons. When Laocoon tries to help them, they also kill him by strangling him. Only the Phrygians (Trojans) believe that this happened because of the spear thrust against the wooden horse. ( Hyginus Mythographus , Fabulae , 135)

According to Jörg Rüpke , the statement about the Phrygians must clearly relate to Virgil's version of the story, since Laocoon never attacked the horse in earlier representations. Carl Robert sees further connections to Virgil in the mention of Poseidon and the thrust of the spear, which he ascribes to a later interpolator and removes from his interpretation. A dependence on Sophocles , as suggested by Christian Gottlob Heyne , is not, according to him, absolutely necessary. Foerster, Schott and Althaus argue against Robert's accusation of interpolation by a later author and Moritz Schmidt's accusation of complete inauthenticity. Foerster also works out Sophocles as the only possible source by eliminating the other predecessors.

Quintus of Smyrna

According to Quintus of Smyrna (3rd to 4th centuries AD), the Trojans found Sinon on the wooden horse, whereupon they mistreat him to find out what it was intended for. Sinon himself states that the Greeks wanted to sacrifice him, but that he was able to save himself under the horse that was to be dedicated to Athena in Troy. The Trojans deliberate what to do next, and Laocoon advocates burning it. Athena intervenes but the earth can under Laocoon feet tremble , first all see him twice and appears finally it. The Trojans then believe that this was punishment for his words against Sinon's previous speech and fear punishment of their own. They conclude that they should follow Sinon's words and pull the horse into the city on the rollers constructed by Epeius. Afterwards they celebrate a party. Once again, Laocoon urges his compatriots to burn the horse to save the city, whereupon Athena intervenes a second time and sends twin snakes from a cave on the island of Kalydna with renewed tremors . When these Ilios approach, all Trojans flee out of fear, only Laocoon and his sons make the approaching death goddess Ker and another god heavy. The snakes complete Athena's plan, pulling Laocoon's sons into the air with their mouths, whereby their father can only watch and not help. The snakes then retreat underground to the Temple of Apollo in Troy. An empty tomb ( cenotaph ) is dedicated to the children , in front of which Laocoon and then his wife extensively weep for their children and their own suffering. The Trojans themselves do not respond to this second punishment. ( Quintus of Smyrna , Posthomerica , 12, 389-417. 444-499)


Due to the parallels in content of Quintus' 12th book on Virgil's Aeneid, the question of his sources is particularly controversial at this point. A majority of the interpreters see a direct dependence on Virgil or Sophocles, other authors argue against it because of larger deviations. Heinze traces this back to a local tradition and the compilation of two versions, Bassett goes even further and argues that Quintus could not have known Virgil's Aeneid and can be traced back to pseudo-Apollodor's version as well as Bakchylides and Sophocles. According to Alan W. James, a possible relationship to the Laocoon group or similar representations can not be finally clarified. Malcolm Campbell, Silvio Bär and others attribute the glare of Laocoons, mentioned for the first time at Quintus, to a glaucoma disease that, according to Basset Quintus, must have experienced either as a patient or as a doctor. For Alan W. James it stands for the blindness of the Trojans towards their own imminent destruction and finds a counterpart in the blind seer Teiresias . Bassett also sees the Laocoon scene in the context of other positions at Quintus and compared to Euripides ' Trojan Women as an opportunity to multiply the grief of Laocoon woman and the compassion of Laocoon.

Kleinknecht tries to reconcile both positions, but speaks out clearly that Quintus depends on Virgil. He had contaminated , misinterpreted and simplified several of Virgil’s motifs with a pre-Vergilian-Greek model . Similar to Clemens Zintzen, who found many motifs that Quintus copied from Virgil according to other researchers, also mentioned in earlier literature such as Euripides ' Die Troerinnen , verses 511-567. Gärtner offers a detailed comparison of Quintus' Laocoon with other representations and especially Virgil's text : Quintus wanted to surpass his role models by repeatedly punishing and shifting the focus from attacking snakes to dazzling and contaminated both main strands of the Laocoon saga. From this it emerges that Quintus' second punishment, the snake attack after being blinded, has no direct consequences.

Anthologia Latina

An epigram of the Anthologia Latina , a collection of mostly small Latin poems from ancient times - found here in the Codex Salmasianus, probably dates from the 5th century AD . According to the epigram, Laocoon and his two sons were attacked by two twin snakes. Because he had offended a wooden horse, the person Laocoon was punished with poisoning. Only a direct injury to a god would have been worse, the epigram continues. According to Roswitha Simons, the text clearly depends on Virgil.

Excidium Troiae

The anonymous prose work Excidium Troiae (4th – 6th centuries AD) often quotes and comments on the verses of Virgil in its condensed version of the Trojan War. At the point relevant here, Sinon is abandoned by the Greeks before they build the horse. The Trojans find him, whereupon he lies to them that the Greeks want to sacrifice him to Apollo soon and planned to build a horse as a gift for Minerva, which the Trojans should put up in front of their Neptune temple in the city. The next day this is also on the beach near the temple of Minerva, whereupon the Trojans want to take both Sinon and the horse into the city in order to be on good terms with Apollon and Minerva. Laocoon, the priest of Neptune, warns of the horse in Virgilos and thrusts it with a lance. The author comments on this passage in such a way that Laocoon would have almost exposed the Greeks on horseback if the minds of the Trojans had not been clouded by the gods and fate. Namely, they asked Laocoon to sacrifice Neptune for confirmation. During the sacrifice, Laocoon and his sons are attacked by two sea snakes that came from Tenedos. First they bite his sons before they bite or devour the rushing Laocoon together with his sons. This is consequently interpreted by the Trojans as a punishment for their actions against the Trojan horse. This is where the perfidy of the gods shows, says Roswitha Simons.


Drawing of the fragments, probably from a central Apulian crater of the National Museum in Ruvo di Puglia by Michele Jatta, made between 380 and 370 BC BC Laocoon itself is probably to the right of the edge.

Ancient art

In ancient times, the Laocoon episode was rarely artistically implemented. The first images of Laocoon are on an early Lucanian bell crater (430/425 BC) by the so-called Pisticci painter and on several from around 380-370 BC. Fragments of a central Apulian crater of the National Museum in Ruvo di Puglia, dated to the 4th century . The first known fragment from Ruvo shows Apollon and Artemis , a statue of Apollo surrounded by snakes, a woman rushing towards and the remains of a partially eaten and dismembered child. Before the intact crater was found, it was unclear whether the depicted scene could be traced back to the Laocoon myth and whether a figure behind the woman (then Antiope) would have to be interpreted as a Laocoon.

The bell crater shows a similar scene: on the left you can see a statue of Apollo surrounded by snakes, in front of which are the remains of a boy. A woman with an ax, behind which a bearded man is standing, storms at the statue. Opposite the statue is Apollon - Artemis is not shown here. Konrad Schauenburg and later interpreters interpret the female figure as Laocoon's wife Antiope and the bearded man as Laocoon. Postriot, however, sees Kassandra in the woman, but Erika Simon contradicts this interpretation. According to Foerster and Adolf Furtwängler , such a central figure as Laocoon cannot stand behind a woman, but should have been killed by the snakes. Since the sons were also killed, according to Furtwängler, the version on the vases, which was documented late in Euphorion and Virgil and in which all three people are dead, can be documented early on. Margot Schmidt, on the other hand, does not believe that Laocoon will be attacked on the Ruvo crater, but will survive. Because the snakes have already withdrawn to the cult image, a reference to Arktinos' version of the story is not mandatory. Since both the statue and the posture of the woman are identical to the image on the fragment of the central Apulian crater, a reference to the Laocoon myth was postulated by Schauenburg and Schmidt for this shard as well. According to Furtwängler, there is a reference to the variant of the myth in which Laocoon and his wife forbidden to father children. Schmidt, Steinmeyer and Herwig Maehler trace the motifs back more precisely to Sophocles ' tragedy, in which, according to the ancient author Dionysius of Halicarnassus, both sons die and not just one (as in Arktinos). Furtwängler thinks more of a post-Sophoclean tragedy as a model. It is controversial in research whether the depiction of a bearded man on an Attic kantharos , who is attacked by snakes on an altar, can be associated with Laocoon. There is also a man with a scepter and slingshot , who was also interpreted as a Laocoon. Schmidt sees Apollon and Aeneas as connecting elements in all the stories; she suspects that the Laocoon myth was so often depicted on vases precisely because of the Roman Aeneas in southern Italy.

Two Roman wall paintings that were found in the House of Menander and in the Casa di Laocoonte in Pompeii (both mid-1st century AD; third and Vespasian fourth style ) around 1875 represent a similar situation :

The partially destroyed spatial image in the Casa di Laocoonte shows the Laocoon clad in a chiton and wreathed . On the steps of an altar he seeks protection from a snake that attacks him. One of his sons is also attacked by a snake, the second lies killed on the ground - whether, as with Arktinos, only one son is killed is a matter of dispute, according to the classical archaeologist Georg Lippold . A bull and four spectators are shown in the background. Due to the poorly painted second son and the four spectators, Gerhart Rodenwaldt suspects that this was a later invention of the painter and that the other figures followed a model. Foerster traces the depiction back to Laocoon's sacrilege in the Temple of Apollo, as a temenos is shown in the picture . The mural is now in the National Archaeological Museum in Naples (inventory number 111210). A reference to Virgil's Laocoon depiction in the second book of the Aeneid was initially rejected in research. Rudolf Ehwald rather saw a template in Euphorion's work and the altar as part of a temple, probably of Apollon Thymbraios. For Foerster, Simon and others, a dependence on the Laocoon group also seems likely, according to Rodenwaldt this would be unique in Pompeian wall painting and therefore unlikely. He suspects an unknown panel painting as a model, which could then have been a model for the group. Recently, research has assumed a reference to Virgil, since all three people die with him too - probably for the first time. It is also assumed that the work is only a copy. The counterpart to the Laocoon in the neighboring Triclinium is a mural of Polyphemus and Aeneas with his companions, who may also include Odysseus (now in Naples, National Archaeological Museum, inventory number 111211).

The counterpart to the Laocoon portrait in Menander's house, however, shows Kassandra . On the better preserved mural, Laocoon and his son are each attacked by a snake, the second son is already dead. Instead of an altar, a table is depicted, but several spectators observe the scene in this picture, and a bull escapes the disaster. Georg Lippold discusses several ancient works of art as possible models for the representation and finally sees the painter Zeuxis of Herakleia as the source of ideas. For the classical archaeologist Arnold von Salis , however, just like Virgil's text or the Laocoon group, a Greek, but rather a Roman model is an option.

More antique illustrations
Marble Laocoon group in the Vatican Museum .
Roman mural in the Casa di Laocoonte (until 50 AD) Pompeii , depicting Laocoon's death.
Roman mural in the House of Menander , Pompeii , with a similar depiction.
Virgil manuscript of the 5th century AD depicting the snake attack on Laocoon and his sons.
Etruscan gem probably from the 4th / 3rd centuries. Century BC BC, possibly with Laocoon and his sons.

The most influential find of a representation of Laocoon was that of a 2.42 m high marble group on the 13th / 14th. January 1506 near the church of San Pietro in Vincoli by Felice de Fredis : the Laocoon group . When Pope Julius II let the architect Giuliano da Sangallo examine the work, he immediately linked it with the description of Pliny the Elder ( Naturalis historia 36, 37) about a statue erected in Titus' palace: this was in front of all portraits and sculptural products / Bronze castings are preferable and (as if) made from a single stone by the best artists on the decision of an imperial council of three Rhodian artists - Hagesandros, Polydoros and Athenodoros. It shows Laocoon standing in the center of an altar with his two sons on his sides - the group of three is attacked by snakes, and according to Simon against Robert, the older son has the opportunity to free himself. Thus, the representation does not necessarily depend on Virgil's version, since both sons are killed there, and according to Erika Simon more to be attributed to Arktinos' version, in which only father and one son died. However, because a relationship with Virgil's work is not impossible and the terminus post quem (point in time after the work was conceived) is shifted to a later time, researchers also disagree on the dating of the Laocoon group. The majority therefore advocate the Neronian - Flavian period (1st century AD), but some authors also advocate an early Imperial marble copy (1st century BC) of a Hellenistic bronze sculpture (2nd century BC), which, according to Bernard Andreae, may have been influenced by Phyromachus and the Pergamon Altar, perhaps created by him, as well as other works of art. The Laocoon group was often copied only after it was found ; this is not proven for antiquity. The starting point for many discussions regarding this marble group was Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's work “ Laocoon or Beyond the Limits of Painting and Poetry ” from 1766. Once again, controversial discussions arose after the archaeologist and art dealer Ludwig Pollak found a once-lost arm in 1905. It wasn't until 1960 that Filippo Magi added it to the original.

Several late antique contorniat medallions (356–394 AD), which were probably intended as New Year's gifts, show a Roman emperor of the early principate on one side (in the order of the coinage: Vespasian and Nero ) and one on the other according to Simons Virgil's Aeneid close representation of the attack of the snakes on Laocoon and his sons. Richard Foerster, the numismatist Andreas Alföldi and the historian Leopold Ettlinger, on the other hand, see a dependency of the Kontorniaten on the Laocoon group - for Alföldi the execution is "pitifully bad". Foerster differentiates between two different types, which depend to different degrees on the Laocoon group and represent two or four attacking snakes, Laocoon and his two sons. Alföldi, on the other hand, sees three variants that are dependent on the Laocoon group, but poorly worked. For Ettlinger, the Kontorniaten seem to be a kind of art propaganda tool that points to the decline of the Roman Empire . A late Etruscan gem, probably from the 4th or 3rd century BC. Chr. Shows a man with two children, who are entwined by three snakes and are not bitten and are fleeing. For a long time, researchers disagreed as to whether it was genuine, represented Laocoon and his sons and could thus be a model for the Laocoon group. The classical archaeologist Adolf Furtwängler spoke out in favor of the fact that, in his opinion, the undoubtedly genuine, if not very artistic, gems from the 4th century BC Chr. Is slowly establishing the founding legend of Rome . It shows "without a doubt" Laocoon and his sons, but has no Greek role models and is otherwise not related to the Laocoon group, which Bernard Andreae later suggested. According to Furtwängler, the gem could be related to Euphorion's Laocoon depiction, as this was the first time that Laocoon and his sons were attacked by the blows, as was the case with the gem. The archaeologist Gemma Sena Chiesa spoke out in 2007 against the thesis that the gem was made in antiquity.

An illustration from the 5th century AD shows two different scenes of the work as a supplement to the Aeneid manuscript in the Vatican Library  - in both cases Laocoon is mentioned by name: on the left side of the miniature the priest sacrifices the bull at the altar, on the right he and his sons are surrounded by snakes, whereupon Laocoon throws his arms in the air and screams - they are between a Neptune and probably an Athene temple. Since the snake attack does not exactly reproduce Virgil's portrayal, the illustration could, in the opinion of Erika Simon and Leopold Ettlinger, be influenced by the Laocoon group despite some differences. The manuscript with the illustration was kept separate from the public in a library for centuries.

Illustrations in the Middle Ages and Modern Times
Oldest depiction of the death of Laocoon and his sons in the Middle Ages. Miniature painting by an unknown artist from the 14th century in Codex Riccardianus 881.
Miniature painting by perhaps Benozzo Gozzoli in Codex Riccardianus 492, sheet 76 verso, from the late 15th century. In the middle Laocoon, who warns the Trojans of the destruction of the city.
Miniature painting by perhaps Benozzo Gozzoli in Codex Riccardianus 492, sheet 78 verso, from the late 15th century. On the left the snakes coming from Tenedos, in the middle Laocoon and his sons with the victim, on the right Trojans.
Miniature painting by probably Jacobi de Fabriano in Codex Vaticanus lat. 2761, sheet 13 recto, early 15th century. Above the attack of Laocoon on the Trojan horse with a spear, below the capture of Sinon .
Miniature painting by probably Jacobi de Fabriano in Codex Vaticanus lat. 2761, sheet 15 recto, early 15th century. Laocoon together with his sons sacrificing a bull, from the left snakes come out of the sea.
Miniature painting by probably Jacobi de Fabriano in Codex Vaticanus lat. 2761, sheet 15 verso, early 15th century. Above, the snakes are killing Laocoon's sons, including himself.
Woodcut from the Strasbourg Virgil from 1502. Sheet 162 on the reverse. On the left edge the snakes attack Laocoon and his sons, in the center the Trojan horse with Sinon and Priam.
Filippino Lippi's Death of Laocoon (1506) from the Uffizi Gallery in Florence (Gab. Dis. 169 F). Pen wash .
Engraving by Marco Dente entitled Death of Laocoon (1510).
Fresco by Giulio Romano in Mantua (before 1538).
Engraving by Hans Brosamer (1538) with great similarities to the Laocoon group .
Engraving by Giovanni Battista Fontana called Cheval de Troye . Late 16th century.

Medieval and modern art

The reason why there are hardly any representations of the Laocoon saga in medieval art is due to the lack of knowledge of ancient literary texts and the disappearance of the artistic representation of this myth. Such representations did not appear again until the 14th century. One of the first shows, in addition to the Virgil text in Codex Riccardianus, which can be found today in the library of the Palazzo Medici Riccardi , Laocoon and his sons warning the Trojans about the horse. The illustration was made by Apollonio di Giovanni before 1465. The text passage on the codex fills Virgil's gap with a request from the people to sacrifice Neptune so that he could confirm Laocoon's words and the people could believe him. The artistic design of medieval Virgil manuscripts was probably continued by Jacobi de Fabriano and Benozzo Gozzoli in the 15th century .

Among other things, woodcuts with Laocoon depictions from the first Vergil edition in Germany, the so-called Strasbourg Virgil of 1502, have come down to us from the Renaissance . Hans Grüninger and Sebastian Brant were responsible for this issue ; Thomas Murner took over the woodcuts in his Vergil edition. Before the discovery of the Laocoon group in 1506, which influenced most of the subsequent Laocoon representations, a hand drawing by Filippino Lippi for a planned fresco has survived. This drawing, like the artistic text additions before, is probably in Virgil's tradition or, according to Georg Lippold, in the tradition of Pompeian murals and does not depend on other, lost image sources. Since Laocoon's wife and temple architecture are also depicted, Richard Foerster traces the depiction back to the version of Euphorion or Hyginus paraphrased by Servius. For the classical archaeologist Arnold von Salis , despite its clear independence from the Laocoon group, Lippi's drawing is more in the ancient tradition than the illustrations in the Virgil manuscripts. The model is probably an old Roman wall painting, which could be related to those in Pompeii and which could also have influenced the representation of Laocoon in the Virgil manuscript in the Vatican Library. Later works independent of the Laocoon group deal mainly with the sacrifice for Poseidon mentioned by Virgil and the thrust into the horse or present the dead independently of the representation of the group. In 1538 Hans Brosamer created a copper engraving similar to the group, Nicolò dell'Abbate did twelve independent frescoes before 1552 and Giovanni Battista Fontana did a copper engraving of the sacrificial scene at the end of the 16th century . Also Giulio Romano presented in 1538 some frescoes ago, according to Foerster, however, based on the recently discovered presentation at Hyginus or after Pietsch in imitation of Virgil. In 1510 Marco Dente processed one of the Pompeian murals in a copper engraving next to the Laocoon group. In addition, on the base of the altar on which Laocoon stands, the second book of Virgil's Aeneid is mentioned.

El Greco , Laocoon, 1604 / 1608–1614, oil on canvas, 142 × 193 cm, National Gallery of Art , Washington

Particularly influential was a work by El Greco (1604–1614), who linked elements of the Laocoon group with the literary evidence of the myth. He was also influenced by Titian's parody of the Laocoon group, only preserved in one engraving by Boldrini, in which the priest and his sons are depicted as monkeys. According to Arnold von Salis , Titian wanted to vent the anger over the "Laocoon hype of his time". In El Greco's picture, Erwin Walter Palm points out two other figures in the picture, previously interpreted as Apollon and Artemis, as Adam and Eve . Mathias Mayer sees a general connection between Laocoon and the Adam figure (and the second Adam: Jesus Christ ) in Christian iconography , especially until the middle of the 16th century, and interprets both stories as sins due to their deaths caused by snakes . Mayer and Palm attribute this connection between Laocoon and the Adam figure to the story of the marriage ban reported by Hygin and Euphorion at Servius. Quite different Ewald Maria Vetter suggests the two group represented: one apple in her hand holding figure was not Adam, but Paris that the bone of contention of Eris holds; Palm's Eva would then be Helena . In addition, El Greco's picture cannot be traced back to the Laocoon group, but rather to a similar copper engraving by Jean de Gourmont from the 16th century, which, like El Greco's picture, seems to allude to Troy's fall. Even after the Renaissance, only a few works of art that were independent of the Laocoon group are known: The bronze group by Adriaen de Vries (1626) and a drawing by Carl Bach (1796) show different motifs from the usual representation only in the composition. In 1886, Aubrey Beardsley created nine comic - and 19 sketch drawings for the second book of the Aeneid, including two each on Laocoon.

Literary reception

The late antique author Blossius Aemilius Dracontius (end of the 5th century AD) designed his figure Helenus based on Laocoon's model in his short epic De raptu Helenae (About the Rape of Helen ). Helenus is also a Trojan priest and warns his compatriots against the downfall of the city based on structural parallels. Apollon punishes the Trojans here because Laomedon had not paid its debts to Apollon, as was also addressed in the Laocoon myth by Nikander (see above ). In a prophecy he insults Kassandra and the Laocoon counterpart, Helenus. Otherwise Laocoon is only mentioned by name as an example of the Greek declension in Latin by several late antique grammarians, by Gregory of Tours in his Libri Miraculorum and in another epigram of the Anthologia Latina . Simons sees the failure to mention Laocoons, despite the exemplary cruelty of the gods that they exercise on him, mainly as causes in the influence of the Troy stories through the works of Dares Phrygius and Dictys Cretensis of the 4th and 5th centuries AD. These saved divine ones Most of what happened and did the same with the Laocoon saga, which was previously "a piece of common property". In addition, Simons continued, the tradition of the Laocoon saga was so diverse that the authors had problems with which god, which Laocoon had consecrated or which he had angered, they should now critically deal with. Because of its less important area of ​​activity, Neptune was of little interest for Christian criticism of pagan gods. As a third reason, Simons states that Laocoon's death as a symbol of the fall of Troy was replaced by Priam's end and Laocoon's warnings by Helenus' (and Cassandra's). In addition, the story is too untypical, difficult and cumbersome for an ancient myth. Presumably for these reasons, the reception of the Laocoon saga in the Middle Ages has not been extensively dealt with in research. Only rarely is reference made to a few works that were then mainly based on Virgil's depiction of the myth, including in the 12th / 13th centuries. Century very briefly the Trójumanna Saga chapter 34, in which Laocoon is not even mentioned by name. Giovanni Boccaccio had included the Laocoon in his "Trecento" as the 55th son of Priam in the fourth book of his Genealogia deorum gentilium (1350-1367).

In the Byzantine Middle Ages of the 12th century, the scholar Johannes Tzetzes dealt with the Laocoon myth, but only mentioned very briefly in his Greek-language epic Posthomerica Laocoon: There he is the only one to push a spear into the wooden horse. One son then died from snake bites. In his Scholion (school commentary) on Lycophron's drama Alexandra (2nd century BC) he interprets the "islands of the child-devouring pork" as the Kalydna islands . The snakes Porkes and Chariboia came from these and, according to an ancient version, would have killed the two sons of Laocoon at the altar of Apollon Thymbraios, according to another tradition, only one son without mentioning the altar. According to Engelmann / Höfer, the attack occurred because it was not Laocoon himself, but one son who attacked the horse, which he tries to prove with a Scholion at Ovid's only fragmentary ibis: This writes that from Laocoon or T (h) eron the act was carried out. Engelmann / Höfer suspect that “T (h) eron” is an alternative spelling to Servius' “Ethron”, one of Laocoon's sons. Robert sees in the death only the sons of Laocoon and not his death itself as a reference to Dionysius' comment on the Sophocles tragedy. Foerster finally doubts that "devouring children" must necessarily refer to the Laocoon story. The Lycophronscholion also seems to refer to Bakchylides rather than Sophocles. In addition, according to Foerster, the Scholion at Lycophron is the first real evidence that only the sons are punished. With Quintus, who could then have referred to Lycophron, Laocoon was blinded and with Virgil, according to Maurach, at least as a priest was dishonored, if not even killed according to other interpreters.

In the Western Middle Ages, however, the Laocoon history was almost completely forgotten, as figurative evidence such as the Laocoon group had also disappeared. A poem by Jacopo Sadoleto , written immediately after the group was found in 1506, describes this work of art with the vocabulary that Virgil used to depict the myth. It was immediately praised in the highest tones by the Latin expert of the time, his friend Pietro Bembo , and strongly influenced subsequent Laocoon poems . In modern times, the authors wrote James Thomson ("The Laocoön", 1735f.), Johann Gottfried Herder ("Laokoon's Haupte", circa 1770–1772), Paolo Costa ("Il Laocoonte", 1825), Domenico Milelli ("Laocoonte" , 1899), Erik Lindegren ("Gipsavgjutning", 1954), Donald Hall ("Laocoön", before 1957), Ștefan Augustin Doinaș ("Seminția lui Laocoon", 1967) and Gunnar Ekelöf ("Laocoön", 1967) partly from poems independent of the Laocoon group . The Laocoon myth was also received in the theater - Georg Christian Braun published a quintus of Smyrna's Laocoon representation near tragedy in 1824 . Ernst Proschek ("Laocoön", 1919) and Eduard Maydolf ("Laokoon. Einaktiges Trauerspiel", 1925) wrote dramas on the subject of the Laocoon saga in the 20th century. The other literature dependent on the Laocoon group is dealt with in their articles, the other secondary literature on the individual Laocoon representations in the respective sections of this article.

Poster for the premiere of Hector Berlioz 's opera libretto Les Troyens from 1864, in which Laocoon's fate is musically arranged.


The Laocoon motif was not often used in music, one reason for this could be the lack of a happy ending in Laocoon history, which is otherwise common in opera , according to classical philologist Klaus-Dietrich Koch . An opera seria called “Laconte / Laocoonte” was premiered on May 30, 1787 in Naples by Pietro Alessandro Guglielmi based on the libretto by Giuseppe Pagliuca .

The French composer Hector Berlioz published in 1863 in the Théâtre-Lyrique ( Paris ) parts of the opera libretto Les Troyens , written from 1856 to 1860 , which mainly deals with the second and fourth books of the Aeneid. Laocoon does not appear himself, but Aeneas reports - after he hurried down from the castle like Laocoon in the Aeneid - of his thrust against the Trojan horse and his death by the snakes. However, he omits the sacrifice to Neptune and the death of his sons. The musicologist Klaus Heinrich Kohrs gives, among other things, his early death in the Aeneid as the reason for leaving out an independent Laocoon scene . According to Koch, Berlioz saves a person who disappears at an early age. Also, the scene on the stage can hardly be adequately represented. According to Koch and Kohrs, a sensible way of addressing this symbolic misfortune in Laocoon is a messenger report like the one Aeneas gave in Les Troyens when he first appeared in the play. However, he has to give up his oversight narrative role in Virgil's Aeneid. Koch describes the musical quality of the piece as follows: “14 z. Sometimes unusually long lines of text produced musically in less than a minute; the voice guidance, in alternating very small and very large intervals, completely exhausting the tenor voice scale; characterizing, sometimes illustrative orchestration; harmonious processes that are not easy to understand: a piece that is certainly without a model and difficult to classify. ”(Koch (1990) p. 138). Cassandra , who appears only briefly in Virgil's Aeneid and at the same time forms a counterpart to Dido , takes Laocoon's place as warner of the Trojans . Koch assesses the musical representation of this scene as follows: “One can evaluate this blatantly modulating, rhythmically strongly structured, torn-looking vocal line from F sharp minor: the bizarre melody and harmony undoubtedly symbolizes the deep shock that the people suffered and this music seems "more modern" to us than anything simultaneous (except Wagner's Tristan ); on the other hand, one can also get the impression that the tone sequences are crooked, arbitrary and at the same time illogical - a kind of drawing board melody and harmony that is far from inspiration. ”(Koch (1990) p. 140). But since one does not believe Kassandra either, the initially frightened Trojans interpret Laocoon's death as a warning to pull the Trojan horse into the city. They mourn Laocoon as a terrible victim of God's wrath. He was so, so Andrée Thill , for Berlioz a "sacred character".

Source editions


Overall representations

  • Bethe (1891): Erich Bethe : Laokoon 1 . In: Paulys Realencyclopadie der classischen Antiquity Science (RE). Volume XII, 1, Stuttgart 1924, Col. 736 f. (Detailed description of the myth, the history of reception is not discussed.)
  • Engelmann / Höfer (1897): Richard Engelmann , Otto Höfer : Laokoon . In: Wilhelm Heinrich Roscher (Hrsg.): Detailed lexicon of Greek and Roman mythology . Volume 2.2, Leipzig 1897, Sp. 1833-1843 ( digitized version ). (Very good compilation and interpretation of the references, the presentation of the reception history only deals with the Laocoon group.)
  • Gärtner (2005): Ursula Gärtner : Quintus Smyrnaeus and the "Aeneid". On the aftermath of Virgil in the Greek literature of the imperial era (= Zetemata 123), Munich 2005, pp. 23–40. 133-260. 273-287. (Very detailed account of the Laocoon saga in general [pp. 133–160. 192–197. 205–218. 280. 282] and especially when comparing Quintus' with Virgil's version.)
  • Habermehl (2006): Peter Habermehl , Petronius, Satyrica 79–141. A philological-literary commentary. Tape. 1: Sat. 79–110 , Berlin 2006, pp. 149–207. ISBN 978-3-11-018533-1 (Extensive commentary on Petron's account of the story, p. 151–160 particularly deals with the background story.)
  • Hunger (1979): Herbert Hunger : Laokoon . In: The same, Lexicon of Greek and Roman Mythology. With references to the continued effect of ancient fabrics and motifs in the visual arts. Literature and Music from the Occident to the Present , Reinbek, seventh edition 1979, p. 230f. ISBN 3-499-16178-8 (Good short outline of the Laocoon history with many references to reception in art, literature and music.)
  • Robert (1923): Carl Robert : The Greek hero saga. First half. The Trojan Circle to the Destruction of Ilion. Edited by Otto Kern , as a new edition by Ludwig Preller , Greek Mythology. Second volume. The Heroes (The Greek Legend of Heroes). Fourth edition. Renewed by Carl Robert. Third book. The great heroic epics. Second division. 3. The Trojan Circle. First half until Ilion's destruction . Berlin 1923, pp. 1241-1275. (Detailed description of the events of the Iliu persis, in which Robert on pp. 1248–1252 also deals in detail with Laocoon.)
  • Simon (1992): Erika SimonLaokoon . In: Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC). Volume VI, Zurich / Munich 1992, pp. 196–201. Addition to Erika SimonLaokoon . In: Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC). Supplementum 2009, Düsseldorf 2009, p. 319. (A very good contribution - especially about the reception in art; the myth is also convincingly sketched.)

General examinations

  • Andreae (1988): Bernard Andreae : Laokoon and the foundation of Rome , Mainz 1988 (especially pp. 149–166). ISBN 978-3-8053-0989-9 (Interpretation attempt by the Laocoon group with extensive excursions on related sculptures, history and politics; in the highlighted pages interpretation of Virgil and other texts.)
  • Althaus (2000): Horst Althaus : Laokoon: Stoff und Form , Tübingen / Basel 2nd edition 2000. (Investigation of literary occupations of Winckelmann, Lessing, Herder and Goethe from with the Laokoon group [p. 11-100] as well as look at the more recent research [pp. 116-138]. On pages 43 to 48 and 135 to 138 with a look at the literary representations.)
  • Foerster (1890a): Richard Foerster : Philological Parerga to the Laocoon . In: Negotiations of the fortieth meeting of German philologists and schoolmen in Görlitz from October 2nd to 5th, 1888 , Leipzig 1890, pp. 428–438. (Foerster deals with an inscription about the Laocoon group [pp. 428-430], Peisandros of Laranda as the source for Virgil's Aeneid [pp. 430-432] and extensively with Sophocles' Laocoon in relation to Hygin, Lycophron and others [ Pp. 432-438].)
  • Foerster (1906a): Richard Foerster: Laokoon . In: Yearbook of the Imperial German Archaeological Institute . Volume 21, Berlin 1906, pp. 1-32. (First description of the Laocoon group [pp. 1–7], then discussion of the time of origin on the basis of grammatical-exegetical [pp. 11–13], mythographic-literary-historical [pp. 13-23] and epigraphic-palaeographic reasons [p. 23 -31].)
  • Heinze (1957): Richard Heinze : Virgils epische Technik , Darmstadt, fourth edition 1957, pp. 12-20. 67-71. ISBN 978-1-144-23150-5 (Very good interpretations of Virgil's, Quintus' and Pseudo-Apollodor's versions.)
  • Nesselrath (2009): Heinz-Günther Nesselrath : Laocoon in Greek literature up to the time of Virgil . In: Dorothee Gall, Anja Wolkenhauer (ed.): Laokoon in literature and art. Writings of the symposium “Laocoon in Literature and Art” on November 30, 2006, University of Bonn (= contributions to antiquity 254), Berlin / New York 2009, pp. 1–13. ISBN 978-3-11-020126-0 (Nesselrath deals with and interprets all Greek-language texts with reference to Laocoon before Virgil.)
  • Pietsch (1980): Wolfgang Pietsch : Laokoon. Comments on the episode in the Aeneid, on the history of its effects and on the teaching treatment of an ancient mythologist . In: suggestion. Journal for high school education . Volume 26, Munich 1980, pp. 158-175. (First of all the linguistic interpretation of Virgil's Laocoon story [pp. 158–162], then comments on the history of the impact of the Laocoon group up to modern times [pp. 163–172], and finally a proposal for the use of the material in lessons [p. 172 –175].)
  • Robert (1881): Carl Robert : Bild und Lied = Philological Studies 5, Berlin 1881, pp. 192–212. (Still fundamental, excellent representation and interpretation of the Laocoon saga; on pp. 222–232 Robert also deals with Arktinos and the Iliu persis.)
  • Schott (1957): Gerhard Schott : Hero and Leander in Musaios and Ovid , Cologne 1957, pp. 36–55. (Presentation of the various Laocoon sagas with comments on some research problems [pp. 36–46] with the aim of not leaving Quintus' version dependent on Virgil [pp. 46–55].)
  • Simons (2009): Roswitha Simons : The Traitorous God. Laocoon in Latin Literature of the Imperial Era and Late Antiquity . In: Dorothee Gall, Anja Wolkenhauer (ed.): Laokoon in literature and art. Writings from the symposium “Laocoon in Literature and Art” from November 30, 2006, University of Bonn (= contributions to antiquity 254), Berlin / New York 2009, pp. 104–127. ISBN 978-3-11-020126-0 (Simons goes into detail about the reception of the Laocoon history in the Roman Empire and late antiquity [pp. 104–123], including especially Dracontius [pp. 104–110], Petron [p. 114–117], Donatus [pp. 117–120] and the Excidium Troiae [pp. 120–123], before offering an explanation for the almost complete disregard of the myth in the Middle Ages [pp. 123–127].)
  • Steinmeyer (1968): Herbert Steinmeyer : The Laokoonzenen in Virgil's Aeneis (Aeneis II 40-66 and 199-233). In: The ancient language teaching . Volume 10, Seelze 1967, pp. 5-28. (First, in comparison with other ancient authors, elaboration of Virgil's Laocoon as a Polis bourgeois who was criminal against Poseidon [pp. 5–17], then classification of the scene into Aristotelian drama theory [pp. 17–22] and its reception [pp. 23–28 ].)
  • Zintzen (1979): Clemens Zintzen : Die Laokoonepisode bei Virgil , Mainz / Wiesbaden 1979. ISBN 978-3-515-03172-1 (Detailed overall interpretation of the Laocoon saga with a research overview [pp. 5-14], references to other Laocoon representations [p . 15–48] and a comparison of Virgil with Quintus of Smyrna [pp. 27–63].)

Individual examinations


  • Austin (1959): Roland Gregory Austin : Virgil and the Wooden Horse . In: The Journal of Roman Studies . Volume 49, London 1959, pp. 16-25. (Report on the Trojan Horse, in which Austin also discusses Laocoon's actions on pp. 18-21.)
  • Austin (1964): Roland Gregory Austin, Publii Vergilii Maronis Aeneidos Liber Secundus , Oxford 1964, pp. 44-51. 94-109. (English-language commentary on Virgil, in which Austin discusses the Laocoon history itself on pp. 44f. And 94–97.)
  • Bethe (1891): Erich Bethe : Virgil Studies. I. The Laocoön episode . In: Rheinisches Museum für Philologie. New episode. Volume 46, Frankfurt am Main 1891, pp. 511-527. ( Analytical interpretation of the presentation by Virgil with special comparison with Pseudo-Apollodor and Arktinos.)
  • Foerster (1890b): Richard Foerster : About the time of origin of the Laocoon . In: Negotiations of the fortieth meeting of German philologists and school men in Görlitz from October 2nd to 5th, 1888 , Leipzig 1890, pp. 74–95. (Foerster goes into the dependence of the Laocoon group on the Laocoon saga in Virgil [pp. 84–91] and sees Euphorion's version as the main source for the myth.)
  • Henry (1878f.): James Henry : Aeneida, or critical, exegetical, and aesthetical remarks on the Aeneis. Volume II , Dublin 1878f., Pp. 47-51. 115-125. ISBN 978-1-174-70321-8 (Commentary on Virgil's second book of the Aeneid.)
  • Kleinknecht (1944): Hermann Kleinknecht : Laokoon . In: Hermes . Volume 79, Stuttgart 1944, pp. 66-111. (Detailed presentation of the prodigy style for Virgil’s Laocoon presentation first on the basis of the text [pp. 67–82], then in comparison to historiography [pp. 83–92] and the conception of the entire scene [pp. 93–97], as well as interpretation of the overall myth [P. 109].)
  • Klingner (1967): Friedrich Klingner : Virgil: Bucolica, Georgica, Aeneis , Zurich / Stuttgart 1967, pp. 410-419. (Interpretation of Virgil's representation of the myth by means of two levels of interpretation.)
  • Knox (1950): Bernard MacGregor Walker Knox : The Serpent and the Flame: The Imagery of the Second Book of the Aeneid . In: The American Journal of Philology . Volume 71, Baltimore 1950, pp. 379-400. (Analysis and interpretation of the snake attack by Virgil [especially pp. 381–384].)
  • Krafft (1986): Peter Krafft : Again Virgil's Laocoon . In: Ulrich Justus Stache , Wolfgang Maaz , Fritz Wagner (eds.): Continuity and change. Latin poetry from Naevius to Baudelaire. Franco Munari on his 65th birthday , Hildesheim 1986, pp. 43–62. ISBN 978-3-615-00012-2 (Detailed overview of the state of research [p. 43–46], comparison of Virgils with other Laocoon representations [p. 46–52] and interpretation of the results [p. 52–56].)
  • Maurach (1992): Gregor Maurach : The Virgilian and the Vatican Laocoon. With an appendix to Michelangelo's Laocoon drawing and plates I – VIII . In: Gymnasium . Volume 99, Heidelberg 1992, pp. 227-247. (After a critical question [p. 228–230] interpretation of Laocoon's dishonor in Virgil [p. 230–239] as well as reconstruction of the Laocoon group [p. 239–244] and comparison of the same with Virgil [p. 244–246] .)
  • Plüss (1884): Hans Theodor Plüss : Virgil and the epic art , Leipzig 1884, pp. 57-104. ISBN 978-1-142-39922-1 (the most detailed linguistic and content-related interpretation of Virgil's second appearance in Laocoon [pp. 57–84], refutations of earlier interpretations [pp. 84–100] with an excursus on the form of presentation [p. 101-104].)
  • Putnam (1965): Michael Courtney Jenkins Putnam : The Poetry of the Aeneid , Cambridge (Massachusetts) 1965, pp. 4-7. 17-27. 236. ISBN 978-0-8014-9518-2 (Interpretation of Virgil's second book of the Aeneid [pp. 3 to 63].)
  • Zwierlein (2008): Otto Zwierlein : Si mens non laeva fuisset . In: Stefan Freund , Meinolf Vielberg (ed.): Virgil and the ancient epic. Festschrift Hans Jürgen Tschiedel , Stuttgart 2008, pp. 339–354. ISBN 3-515-09160-2 (Well-documented interpretation of Vergils [pp. 339–349] and Petrons [pp. 349–354] Laocoon depiction as an arbitrary act of the gods without the Trojans' fault.)


  • Barnes (1971): Edward James Barnes : The poems of Petronius , Toronto 1971, pp. 69-106. (Detailed interpretation of Petron's representation of Laocoon with a comparison to Virgil on pp. 79–90, which was not received in the research.)
  • Beck (1979): Roger Beck : Eumolpus poeta, Eumolpus fabulator: A Study of Characterization in the Satyricon . In: Phoenix , Volume 33, pp. 240-252. (Especially Petron's interpretation of the poet of the Laocoon episode: Eumolpus.)
  • Bodoh (1987): John James Bodoh : Reading Laocoon in Vergil and Petronius . In: L'Antiquité classique . Volume 61, Brussels 1987, pp. 269-274. (Mainly linguistic analysis of Laocoon's death, illustrated by Virgil and Petron.)
  • Connors (1998): Catherine Connors : Petronius the Poet: Verse and Literary Tradition in the Satyricon. , Cambridge 1998, pp. 84-99. ISBN 978-0-521-59231-4 (Interpretation by Petron in the context of the surrounding passages and the constitutional period [pp. 84–87. 93–99] taking into account some motifs [pp. 87–93] such as the Laocoon depiction [p. 89f.].)
  • Courtney (2001): Edward Courtney : A companion to Petronius , Oxford 2001, pp. 133-143. (Interpretation of Petron's Troiae Halosis with special attention to a possible parody of Virgil and the character Eumolpus.)
  • Elsner (1993): John Elsner : Seduction of Art: Encolpius and Eumolpius in a Neronian Picture Gallery . In: Proceedings of the Cambridge Philological Society. Volume 39, Cambridge 1993, pp. 30-47. (Description of Petron's Laocoon depiction in the context of the surrounding places.)
  • Manuwald (2007): Gesine Manuwald : The poet in the picture gallery. For discussion of art and literature in Petrons Satyricon . In: Luigi Castagna , Eckard Lefèvre (ed.): Studies on Petron and its reception / Studi su Petronio e sulla sua fortuna , Berlin 2007, pp. 253–266. (Detailed remarks on the reciter of the Laocoon episode in Petron: the poet Eumolpus.)
  • Rimell (2002): Victoria Rimell : Petronius and the anatomy of fiction , Cambridge 2002, pp. 60-76. (Interpretation of the Petron passage in the context of the work [pp. 61–65] as well as in comparison to Virgil's Laocoon representation [pp. 66–76].)
  • Salanitro (1995): Maria Salanitro : Il sacrificium di Laocoonte in Virgilio e in Petronio . In: Communications from the German Archaeological Institute. Roman department . Volume 102, Berlin / Rome 1995, pp. 291-294. (Good comparison of Laocoon's sacrifices in Virgil and Petron.)
  • Schönberger (1992): Otto Schönberger : Satyr stories. Latin and German. Petronius , Berlin 1992, pp. 148-152. 298-299. (In addition to the text and translation of Petron's Laokoonsage [pp. 148–152], Schönberger summarizes the most important interpretations of the passage [pp. 298–299].)
  • Stubbe (1933): Heinz Stubbe: Die Verseinlage im Petron , Leipzig 1933, pp. 23–49. (Detailed interpretation first of the context of Petron's Laocoon account [pp. 23–31], then its sources [pp. 31–34] and other Laocoon accounts [pp. 34–39]. This is followed by text, translation and commentary [p. 40 -49].)
  • Sullivan (1968): John Patrick Sullivan : The Satyricon of Petronius. A literary study , London 1968, pp. 186-189. ISBN 978-0-14-044805-4 (Elaboration of a reference to Seneca's tragedies and not to Nero's or Lucan's Troy poems.)
  • Walsh (1968): Patrick Gerard Walsh : Eumolpus, The Halosis Troiae, and the De Bello civili. In: Classical Philology . Volume 43, Chicago (Illinois) 1968, pp. 208-212. (In addition to interpreting Petron's depiction of Laocoon, there is also a commentary on Petron's second great poem: the Bellum civile.)

Quintus of Smyrna

  • Campbell (1981): Malcolm Campbell : A Commentary on Quintus Smyrnaeus Posthomerica XII , Leiden 1981, pp. 133-145. 153-169. 177f. ISBN 978-90-04-06502-4 (Commentary on the two Laocoon episodes in Quintus [pp. 133–145.153–169] and a comparison with Kassandra's appearance [pp. 177f.].)
  • Gärtner (2009): Ursula Gärtner : Laocoon at Quintus Smyrnaeus . In: Dorothee Gall , Anja Wolkenhauer (ed.): Laokoon in literature and art. Writings from the symposium “Laocoon in Literature and Art” on November 30, 2006, University of Bonn (= contributions to antiquity 254), Berlin / New York 2009, pp. 128–145. ISBN 978-3-11-020126-0 (After comments on the person Quintus and his sources [pp. 128–131], detailed analysis and interpretation of his representation of Laocoon in contrast to Virgil's text in particular [pp. 132–145].)
  • Knight (1932): William Francis Jackson Knight : Iliupersides . In: The Classical Quarterly . Volume 26, Cambridge 1932, pp. 178-189. (Attempt to solve a direct dependence of Quintus from Smyrnas and Triphiodoros ' epics by Virgil with the help of three examples [pp. 178–182], including the Laocoon story [pp. 182–184].)

Other ancient authors

Reception in literature

  • Simons (2009): Roswitha Simons : The Traitorous God. Laocoon in Latin Literature of the Imperial Era and Late Antiquity . In: Dorothee Gall, Anja Wolkenhauer (ed.): Laokoon in literature and art. Writings from the symposium “Laocoon in Literature and Art” from November 30, 2006, University of Bonn (= contributions to antiquity 254), Berlin / New York 2009, pp. 104–127. ISBN 978-3-11-020126-0 (Simons goes into detail about the reception of the Laocoon history in the Roman Empire and late antiquity [pp. 104–123], including especially Dracontius [pp. 104–110], Petron [p. 114–117], Donatus [pp. 117–120] and the Excidium Troiae [pp. 120–123], before offering an explanation for the almost complete disregard of the myth in the Middle Ages [pp. 123–127].)
  • Winner (1974): Matthias Winner : On the afterlife of the Laocoon in the Renaissance . In: Yearbook of the Berlin museums . Volume 16, Berlin 1974, pp. 83-121. (Comprehensive essay on Filippino Lippi's Laocoon sketch, which the author strongly links to images and texts of the time and antiquity, before he devotes himself to the first years after the Laocoon group was found.)

Reception in art

  • Bieber (1967): Margarete Bieber : Laocoon. The influence of the group since its rediscovery , Detroit 2nd edition 1967. (First presentation of the reception of the Laocoon group in art [pp. 12–20], then in literature [pp. 20–41].)
  • Ettlinger (1961): Leopold Ettlinger : Exemplum Doloris. Reflections on the Laocoon Group . In: Millard Meiss : De Artibus Opuscula XL. Essays in Honor of Erwin Panofsky , New York 1961, pp. 121-126. (Interpretation of the Laocoon representations in ancient art as an exemplary representation of pathos and pain.)
  • Foerster (1891): Richard Foerster , Laocoon monuments and inscriptions , in: Yearbook of the German Archaeological Institute . Volume 6 , Berlin 1891, pp. 177-196. (On pp. 177–190 Foerster deals with the Kontorniat medallions and post-ancient Laocoon depictions and links these [especially p. 190] with the myth; subsequently [p. 191–196] he notes inscriptions that deal with the Laocoon group.)
  • Foerster (1906b): Richard Foerster: Laocoon in the Middle Ages and in the Renaissance . In: Yearbook of the Royal Prussian Art Collections , Volume 27, Berlin 1906, pp. 149–178. (Excellent presentation of the reception in art before the Laocoon group was found [pp. 149–159] and later independent works [pp. 167–175].)
  • Lippold (1946/7): Georg Lippold : To the Laocoon group . In: Yearbook of the German Archaeological Institute. Volume 61/62 , Berlin 1946/7, pp. 88-94. (After describing the two murals with the Laocoon story [p. 88], Lippold goes into their models [p. 89–93] before proposing a new interpretation of the Laocoon group [p. 93f.].)
  • Rodenwaldt (1909): Gerhart Rodenwaldt : The composition of the Pompeian wall paintings , Berlin 1909, pp. 100-101. 263-266. (Description of the picture from the Casa di Laocoonte [p. 100f.] And interpretation of the same [p. 263–266].)
  • Salis (1947): Arnold von Salis : Antiquity and Renaissance. On the aftermath and continued impact of the old in modern art , Erlenbach / Zurich 1947, pp. 136–153. (Von Salis deals with finding the Laocoon group [pp. 136–139] and similar representations before and after the find [pp. 140–143], and especially with Michelangelo [pp. 143–153].)
  • Schaffer (2013): Anette Schaffer: El Greco. The invention of the Laocoon , Schwabe, Basel 2013.
  • Schauenburg (1977): Konrad Schauenburg : To statues of gods on lower Italian vases . In: Archäologischer Anzeiger . 1977, Berlin 1977, pp. 285-297. (Analysis of a Laocoon depiction on an Apulian crater and comparison with a similar scene on a vase shard [pp. 294–297].)
  • Schmidt (1979): Margot Schmidt : A sub-Italian vase representation of the Laocoon myth . In: Ernst Berger , Reinhard Lullies (ed.): Antique works of art from the Ludwig Collection, Vol. I, Basel 1979, pp. 239–248. ISBN 3-8053-0439-0 (Description and reinterpretation of existing vase depictions of Laocoon with comparison to depictions from mythology.)

Reception in music

Web links

Commons : Laocoon  - Collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. Priscian , Latini Grammatici, 2, 253 states that he found an epigram with "very old letters" (including a digamma ) on an Apollonian tripod from Byzantium . Laocoon represents this as ΛΑϜΟΚΟϜΩΝ [Lawokowon] / lau̯okou̯ɔːn / .
  2. ^ Bernhard MaderLaocoon . In: Lexicon of the early Greek epic (LfgrE). Volume 2, Göttingen 1991, Sp. 1632., Sp. 1632; Works noted in the bibliography are listed in the individual references in the form Person (year) S (page) ./ Col (old). specified.
  3. On Antenor cf. Tzetzes ad Lycophron 347; Robert (1881) pp. 201f. and Robert (1923) pp. 1251f .; on Kapys and Anchises Hyginus Mythographus, Fabulae 135 - Engelmann / Höfer (1897) Sp. 1833 lists Kapys as a conjecture for Acoetes; Hans von Geisau : Laocoon. In: The Little Pauly (KlP). Volume 3, Stuttgart 1969, column 485 f. and Pearson (1917) p. 40 the other way round; see. on this Robert (1881) p. 194 note 3.
  4. On Antiope cf. Maurus Servius Honoratius : In Vergilii Aeneidos Libros , ad Aeneis 2, 201.
  5. ^ Hyginus Mythographus, Fabulae, 135; Maurus Servius Honoratius : In Vergilii Aeneidos Libros , ad Aeneis 2, 211 - Engelmann / Höfer (1897) Sp. 1836 see Peisandros of Laranda as the source for the names Ethron and Melanthus instead of Thessandrus ; Carl Robert: Archaeological gleanings in: Hermes . Volume 22, Berlin 1887, pp. 457–459 and Robert (1923) p. 1250 Note 4 also brings Alexander Polyhistor into play, Foerster (1890a) pp. 430–432 and finally Peisandros von Kameiros , cf. Zintzen (1979) p. 46f. with special note 117; Austin (1964) p. 104 doubts that a son is named after Apollon Thymbraios.
  6. On Apollon Thymbraios cf. Maurus Servius Honoratius : In Vergilii Aeneidos Libros , ad Aeneis 2, 201; on Poseidon cf. Tzetzes ad Lycophron 347 - the assignment to Poseidon has only been handed down in one reading (cf. Bethe (1924) col. 736); comparing to both Hyginus Mythographus, Fabulae, 135; Neptune, on the other hand, is named by the Latin author Virgil in Aeneid, 2, 201 [cf. Tiberius Claudius Donatus : Interpretationes Vergilianae , ad Aeneis 2, 201f. and Simons (2009) p. 118] - in this one, Apollon Thymbraios is the god who receives Aeneas and his followers after their flight (Aeneis, 3, 72-88) and Panthus is the priest of Apollon (Aeneis, 2, 319).
  7. Homer, Odyssey, 8, 486-521; Quintus of Smyrna, Posthomerica, 12; Virgil, Aeneid, 2; see. also Robert (1923) pp. 1241–1275 (especially 1241–1254) and Zintzen (1979) pp. 27–48 (especially 32–39), which describe in detail the course of the Iliu persis ; briefly on this Stubbe (1933) pp. 34-36; see also Zintzen (1979) pp. 16-18 with a table of the most important differences on p. 17 and Gärtner (2005) pp. 159f. with a comparison table.
  8. ^ Tiberius Claudius Donatus : Interpretationes Vergilianae , ad Aeneis 2, 203; Zintzen (1979) pp. 18f .; Nesselrath (2009) p. 2f; Robert (1881) pp. 192f .; Robert (1923) pp. 1248f .; Bodoh (1987) pp. 270f .; Knox (1950) p. 383; Putnam (1965) pp. 72-74, but see there p. 24; Salanitro (1995) p. 291. On the Prodigienstil des Schlangen Kleinknecht (1944) p. 72-74. On leaving Troy, cf. also Klingner (1967) p. 413. For information on Arktinos in late antiquity, see Althaus (2000) p. 149f. Note 32.
  9. Maurus Servius Honoratius : In Vergilii Aeneidos Libros , ad Aeneis 2, 201; see. Herwig Maehler : The songs of Bakchylides. Volume 2. The dithyrambs and fragments , Leiden 1997, p. 310f .; Bethe (1924) col. 736; Foerster (1906a) p. 17f. and Zintzen (1979) p. 25 [on the other hand Nesselrath (2009) p. 9].
  10. The first fragment mentioned here connects Zintzen (1979) p. 20. 23–24 and Nesselrath (2009) p. 5 with the festival that the Trojans celebrate in their city after the war is believed to have ended; in the second fragment Austin (1959) p. 20 and Zintzen (1979) p. 36 note 92 an allusion to Laocoon's activity as a Poseidon priest [on the other hand, Bethe (1924) p. 736 and Gärtner (2005) p. 143]; Austin (1959) p. 20 and Nesselrath (2009) p. 6 connect the latter with Aeneas' flight from Troy at Virgil, Aeneis, 2, 796ff.
  11. Sophocles, Fragmentum 370 = Pearson (1917), Fragmentum 373; see. Dionysius of Halicarnassus , Antiquitates Romanae, 1, 48, 1–2.
  12. Simon (1992) p. 200; Robert (1881) pp. 197-202, cf. Zintzen (1979) p. 19; Foerster (1890a) pp. 434–438 [on the other hand, Stubbe (1933) p. 34 note 2]; Foerster (1906a) pp. 21f .; Althaus (2000) p. 46f .; Gärtner (2005) pp. 141-143. 157. Zintzen (1979), pp. 19-21, also pleads for Arktinos as a role model, but on p. 23f. also cites motifs from Pseudo-Apollodorus.
  13. Pearson (1917) pp. 40f .; Robert (1923) pp. 1249f., Followed by Zintzen (1979) p. 20; Kleinknecht (1944) p. 99 note 1; Althaus (2000) pp. 46-48; Nesselrath (2009) pp. 7–8. 11-12; see also Foerster (1906a) pp. 18-20; Simon (1992) pp. 200f.
  14. ^ Maurus Servius Honoratius : In Vergilii Aeneidos Libros , ad Aeneis 2, 204; Andreae (1988) pp. 150f. and Robert (1881) p. 197 link the names handed down by Servius with Sophocles' piece.
  15. See Robert (1881) p. 199; Foerster (1890a) p. 436; Engelmann / Höfer (1897) Sp. 1842; Foerster (1906a) p. 18; Pearson (1917) p. 40; Althaus (2000) p. 150 note 40; Engelmann / Höfer (1897) Sp. 1834; also Nesselrath (2009) p. 9; Schmidt (1979), p. 244f, compares the snake attack. with special note 24 with a version of the Philoctetes myth .
  16. Maurus Servius Honoratius : In Vergilii Aeneidos Libros , ad Aeneis 2, 201 mentions as an alternative that some authors mention the dishonouring of Poseidon / Neptune by Laomedon  , which was already mentioned in Homer's Iliad - he had not given him the promised reward for building the wall - as the reason for this saw that there was no regular priest; see. Robert (1923) p. 1252 note 1 and Nesselrath (2009) p. 11, as well as on Nikander .
  17. Robert (1881) pp. 204-209; Robert (1923) pp. 1250-1252; so also Gärtner (2005) pp. 145f .; on the other hand: Foerster (1890b) p. 85f .; Ehwald (1894) pp. 742f .; Foerster (1906a) p. 13f .; Adolf Furtwängler : The ancient gems. Volume 3. History of stone-cutting art in classical antiquity , Leipzig 1900, p. 206 Note 1; Schott (1957) pp. 41-46; Zintzen (1979) pp. 20, 24-25; Althaus (2000) p. 149 note 30; Nesselrath (2009) p. 9f .; Steinmeyer (1967) p. 7; on Euphorion see also Stephen V. Tracy : Laocoon's Guilt. In: The American Journal of Philology . Volume 108, Baltimore 1987, pp. 452-454 and Tiberius Claudius Donatus : Interpretationes Vergilianae , ad Aeneis 2, 201f. and Gärtner (2005) p. 209. 211.
  18. Maurus Servius Honoratius : In Vergilii Aeneidos Libros , ad Aeneis 2, 211, however, gives the names Curifis / Curitis and Periboea for Lysimachus (probably Lysimachos (grammarian) ); possibly this is only a transformation of the otherwise traditional names, cf. Pearson (1917) p. 43 and Robert (1923) p. 1251 note 4.
  19. Quoted in Nesselrath (2009) p. 10f. with special note 30; see also pp. 10–12.
  20. See Steinmeyer (1967) p. 7. For earlier Roman descriptions of the Trojan horse without evidence of Laocoon, see Zintzen (1979) pp. 26-27. 47–48 and Gärtner (2005) pp. 147–149.
  21. Zintzen (1979) pp. 8. 40-41. 53–54: “The role of Cassandra has been intentionally shortened in the Roman representation in order not to diminish the importance of Laocoon.” (P. 40); Knight (1932) p. 183; Austin (1959) pp. 18f .; Austin (1964) p. 44; Campbell (1981) pp. 177f .; Gärtner (2005) p. 148 note 70 and p. 221–226; Nesselrath (2009) pp. 1f .; see. Hyginus Mythographus, Fabulae, 108 and Zintzen (1979) pp. 52–53, who worked out that the subsequent festival was also shortened in order to bring Laocoon's story even more to the fore.
  22. See Heinze (1957) pp. 69f .; Binder (1994) p. 161 and Bethe (1924) col. 737. That Laocoon's death is not explicitly mentioned is only noted by Plüss (1884) p. 77f. and Maurach (1992) pp. 233-239 [see below]. Stubbe (1933) p. 36 and John Richard Thornhill Pollard : Something odd about Virgil interpret that both sons are killed . In: Proceedings of the Virgil Society . Volume 7, London 1967/68, p. 49 as an increase in horror and drama, since her death is otherwise unmotivated and the sons are not included in Laocoon's plot.
  23. See Zintzen (1979) p. 46f. with special note 117; Knight (1932) pp. 180f .; Althaus (2000) p. 44f. and Max Pohlenz : Laokoon . In: The ancient world . Volume 9, Berlin / Leipzig 1933, p. 68.
  24. Pearson (1917) pp. 40f .; Austin (1959) pp. 20f .; Foerster (1890b) pp. 85-89.
  25. According to Heinze (1957) p. 18 and Binder (1994) p. 166 this was probably done in order to bring about the destruction of the Greek fleet by Neptune; Nesselrath (2009) p. 5 assumes the same for Sophocles.
  26. Plüss speaks in favor of Laocoon's death (1884), p. 77f. from, on the other hand Foerster (1906a) p. 26. Maurach (1992) p. 233-239 argues against the popular opinion that he is dying. He sees punishment for marriage and child witnessing as given for earlier authors. In a later article from 2008 he acknowledges Laocoon's death, but again points out that it was not explicitly mentioned, see Gregor Maurach : Jacopo Sadoleto: De Laocoontis statua (1506) , Fontes 5, 2008, p. 11 ( available online ). Zintzen (1979) pp. 5-6. 65–66, however, lets the sections of the second book of the Aeneid end with the deaths of Laocoon, Priam and Creusa .
    For comparison with a sacrificial bull, see Tiberius Claudius Donatus : Interpretationes Vergilianae , ad Aeneis 2, 222–224.
  27. Maurus Servius Honoratius : In Vergilii Aeneidos Libros , ad Aeneis 2, 204 notes that the snakes, as long as they are in the water, angues and thus "sea snakes" , on land serpentes "snake crawlers " and in the temple dracones , i.e. "snake kites" be mentioned [cf. Plüss (1884) p. 81 note 1]. According to Knox (1950) p. 380, note 6, this only applies to this point, for counterexamples see there.
  28. In research it is not entirely clear whether this refers to Minerva's mother or rather Minerva herself. Maurus Servius Honoratius : In Vergilii Aeneidos Libros , ad Aeneis 2, 201 speaks of Minerva herself - research often draws the conclusion that Athena also sent the snakes - this is not yet so explicit with Virgil, but only with Quintus said [correctly recognized in Simon (1992) p. 196 and Austin (1964) p. 95; Minerva as the sending person defends Robert (1881) p. 203f. and Robert (1923) p. 1249]. Other authors speak of Tritonis as the lake that begat with Neptunus or Triton Minerva, cf. ; see also Tiberius Claudius Donatus : Interpretationes Vergilianae , ad Aeneis 2, 225-227 and Winner (1974) pp. 93f., Minerva, however, had a temple in Troy, as Homer, Ilias, 6, 88 indicates. Plüss (1884) p. 81 sees in Tritonis, the daughter of the sea god Triton , an allusion to the snakes sent from the sea.
  29. Lessing, Laocoon, passim; Schiller, On the Pathetic, p. 2900ff .; Goethe, Über Laokoon, p. 31ff .; see. on the language Plüss (1884) pp. 57–84; Steinmeyer (1967) pp. 14-17; Pietsch (1980) pp. 160-162; Maurach (1992) p. 236; Connors (1998) pp. 91-93. 96-97 and Henry (1878f.) Pp. 47-51. 115-125 and Austin (1964) pp. 45-51. 97-109; see. Plüss (1884) pp. 84–100 for the purpose of presentation [on p. 97–100 also against other early interpretations] and pp. 101–104 for the structure of the presentation.
  30. See Zintzen (1979) pp. 9-10. 22-23. 31-32; Althaus (2000) p. 47f. On the change in Sinon's role in Virgil compared to the literature before and after him, see Bethe (1891) pp. 517-520; Peter Becker : Virgil and Quintus . In: Rheinisches Museum für Philologie new series. Volume 68, Frankfurt am Main 1913, pp. 81-84; Robert (1923) pp. 1242-1245. 1252-1254; Stubbe (1933) p. 33; Heinze (1957) pp. 64-56. 77-78; Schott (1957) pp. 50f .; Putnam (1965) pp. 19-27; Zintzen (1979) pp. 29-32. 42-43; Gärtner (2005) pp. 136-138. 148-149. 170-171. 177-191. 194-195. 197-198 and Alan W. James : Quintus of Smyrna. The Trojan Epic. Posthomerica. Baltimore / London 2004, p. 327f.
  31. Bethe (1891) pp. 511-527; Simon (1992) p. 196; Carl Robert : Archaeological gleanings . In: Hermes . Volume 22, Berlin 1887, p. 459: "it [the Laocoon story in Virgil] is an admittedly very brilliant, but quite dispensable accessory"; John William Mackail : The Aeneid. Edited with introduction and commentary by JW Mackail , Oxford 1930, pp. 47-48. 51-52. 58–60, which names the Laocoon story as the only inconsistency in the second book of the Aeneid; Campbell (1981) pp. 134f .; see. Lippold (1946/7) p. 94.
  32. Heinze (1957) pp. 16-20. 69, cf. Schott (1957) p. 46f .; Zintzen (1979) pp. 10-12 and Peter Becker : Virgil and Quintus . In: Rheinisches Museum für Philologie . New episode. Volume 68, Frankfurt am Main 1913, pp. 80-84. A linguistic analysis of Laocoon's first appearance by John P. Lynch : Lacoön and Simon: Virgil, Aeneid, 2. 40–198 . In: Greece & Rome. Second series. Volume 27, Cambridge 1980, pp. 170-174, whose personality he equates with that of Marcus Porcius Cato the Elder . For two of Laocoon's appearances, cf. Heinze (1957) pp. 12-20; Krafft (1986) p. 62 note 56.
  33. Austin (1964) p. 94, the Henry (1878f.) P. 122f. follows; Campbell (1981) p. 136. Cf. on the cruel killing of the sons Tiberius Claudius Donatus : Interpretationes Vergilianae , ad Aeneis 2, 213–215: crudelitas numinum "Cruelty of the gods", saevitas facti "cruelty of events" and impietas "ruthlessness" .
  34. See Kleinknecht (1944) pp. 93–97. 108; Schott (1957) p. 47f .; Klingner (1967) pp. 413-415; Pietsch (1980) p. 162; Zintzen (1979) pp. 6. 11-14. 33-34. 49-52. 55-60. 64-65; Steinmeyer (1967) p. 12; Zwierlein (2008) pp. 339-349; Krafft (1986) pp. 46-56; Gärtner (2005) p. 213 and Michael Erler : Laokoon alszeichen. Divine influence and human disposition in Virgil's Aeneid and in Homer . In: Dorothee Gall, Anja Wolkenhauer (ed.): Laokoon in literature and art. Writings of the symposium “Laocoon in Literature and Art” on November 30, 2006, University of Bonn (= contributions to antiquity 254), Berlin / New York 2009, pp. 14-23 with examples on pp. 24-27 - among others a self-citation similar to a commentary in the Iuturna scene (Virgil, Aeneis, 12, 222-256). See Austin (1959) pp. 18f. and Henry (1878f.) pp. 123-125. Plüss (1884), pp. 82–84, speaks out in favor of Aeneas' blindness. On the tragic irony, see also Zintzen (1979) p. 13f. with special p. 13 note 24.
  35. Kleinknecht (1944) pp. 67–82 - on the linguistic and stylistic level, pp. 67–72, on the content (number of snakes and attacks, as well as victims of Laocoons in the form of a sacrificial bull) pp. 72–79. The counter-arguments by, for example, Henry (1878f.) Pp. 123–125 that Laocoon's actions were a crime (“scelus”, Virgil, Aeneis, 2, 229–231), he deals with on pp. 79–82. Henry (1878f.), Pp. 115–117, equates the attack of the snakes with the attack of the Greek fleet and connects it with the depiction of the Laocoon story at Petron. See also Putnam (1965) pp. 24 and 205, note 3; Campbell (1981) p. 137. On the prodigium in Quintus see Zintzen (1979) p. 39f.
  36. See Kleinknecht (1944) pp. 83–97. 99-101 [on this, Zintzen (1979) pp. 12-13. 51-52]; see. on the fall of Troy Henry (1878f.) p. 115; Robert (1881) pp. 202f .; Kleinknecht (1944) p. 80; Steinmeyer (1967) pp. 14-17; Knox (1950) pp. 381f., Klingner (1967) pp. 413-415; John Richard Thornhill Pollard : Something odd about Virgil . In: Proceedings of the Virgil Society . Volume 7, London 1967/68, p. 49; Zintzen (1979) pp. 60-62 and Krafft (1986) pp. 46-56. For Livius see Kleinknecht (1944) pp. 83–86, for other historians up to p. 92. For the word Prodigium in particular see Kleinknecht (1944) pp. 109–111. With Quintus von Smyrna, the Trojans do not interpret Laocoon's misfortune as a sign of the downfall of their city, see Gärtner (2009) p. 143f.
  37. ^ Severin Koster : Dispute over Laocoon . In: Gymnasium . Volume 101, Heidelberg 1994, pp. 43-57; see. Salanitro (1995) p. 292.
    For the equation of Laocoon and his sons in an engraving by William Blake ( illustration , legend ) with Jehovah , Satan and Adam see Mathias Mayer : Dialektik der Blindheit und Poetik des Todes. On literary strategies of knowledge , Freiburg 1997, p. 186f.
  38. ^ Jörg Rüpke : Virgil's Laocoon . In: Eranos . Volume 91, Stockholm 1993, p. 127f .; Truesdell S. Brown , Timaeus of Tauromenium, Berkeley / Los Angeles 1958, p. 34; Campbell (1981) p. 135; Christopher A. Baron , The Use and Abuse of Historians: Polybius' Book XII and our evidence for Timaios . In: Ancient Society . Volume 39, Leuven 2009, 12f .; Christopher A. Baron, Timaeus of Tauromenium and Hellenistic historiography , Cambridge / New York 2013, p. 78f. See also Dionysius of Halicarnassus , Antiquitates Romanae I.67.
  39. Ernst Bickel : The crime of the Laocoon. The story of the wooden horse and Poseidon theriomorph as the destroyer of Troy's wall . In: Rheinisches Museum für Philologie. New episode. Volume 91, Frankfurt am Main 1942, pp. 19-27, especially pp. 22-27; Steinmeyer (1967) pp. 7-9. 17-22. Cf. Tiberius Claudius Donatus : Interpretationes Vergilianae , ad Aeneis 2, 225–227.
    On the Trojan horse in general, see Austin (1959) passim, especially p. 23f. See Walter Burkert : Homo Necans. Interpretations of ancient Greek sacrificial rites and myths , Berlin 1972, pp. 178–181.
  40. Schmidt (1979) pp. 242f. and especially note 17.
  41. Andreae (1988) pp. 19, 27-28. 32-33. 41-45. 147-148. 184; Carl Robert: Archaeological gleanings . In: Hermes . Volume 22, Berlin 1887, p. 459; Steinmeyer (1967) p. 13; Zwierlein (2008) pp. 339-349. See Zintzen (1979) pp. 60-62; Plüss (1884) pp. 97-100. See also Tiberius Claudius Donatus : Interpretationes Vergilianae , ad Aeneis 2, 213–215
    Against the reference of Laocoon's story to Aeneas' flight see Nesselrath (2009) p. 12f. For Aeneas' escape from Quintus compared to Virgil's version, see Samuel Elliot Bassett : The Laocoon Episode in Quintus Smyrnaeus . In: American Journal of Philology . Volume 46, Baltimore 1925, pp. 247f. On Laocoon as a martyr, see also Habermehl (2006) p. 151f.
  42. Andreae (1988) pp. 163-166; in pp. 170-185 and especially 170.173-174. 182-184 he transfers the motif of the sinking Troy to the Laocoon group described below; see. on the connection with Lycophron also Bernard Andreae: Laocoon and the Art of Pergamon. The hubris of the giants , Frankfurt am Main 1991, pp. 57–59. 82–85 and Bernard Andreae: Laocoon and Lykophron. On the importance of the Laocoon group in the Hellenistic period . In: Karin Braun , Andreas Furtwängler (Ed.): Studies on Classical Archeology. Festschrift for the 60th birthday of Friedrich Hiller , Saarbrücken 1986, pp. 133–137; see. Connors (1998) p. 91 for Vergil and Petron; Knox (1950) pp. 382f .; Brooks Otis : Virgil: a Study in Civilized Poetry , Oxford 1963, pp. 246–249 sees a parallel to verses 13–267 in verses 634–729 of the second book. See Krafft (1986) p. 52f .; John Richard Thornhill Pollard : Something odd about Virgil . In: Proceedings of the Virgil Society . Volume 7, London 1967/68, p. 49; Bodoh (1987) p. 270 and others - the latter goes into more detail on the language of Virgil.
  43. Maurach (1992) pp. 233-239 against, for example, Zintzen (1979) pp. 60-62; Plüss (1884) pp. 77-79; Stephen V. Tracy : Laocoon's Guilt. In: The American Journal of Philology . Volume 108, Baltimore 1987, pp. 452-454; Günter Engelhard , The Return of the Warner. Laocoon: A figure before a new era . In: Westermanns Monatshefte , Munich 1976, p. 58. 60 and similarly Salis (1947) p. 140; Gerald J. Petter : Laocoon's Fate according to Virgil . In: Carl Deroux (Ed.): Studies in Latin literature and Roman history . Volume 7. Collection Latomus 227, Brussels 1994, pp. 328-336; see. Henry (1878f.) P. 119f. and Alan W. James , Quintus of Smyrna and Virgil - A Matter of Prejudice. In: Manuel Baumbach , Silvio Bär (ed.): Quintus Smyrnaeus: Transforming Homer in Second Sophistic Epic. Berlin / New York 2007, p. 154.
  44. Erika Simon : Laocoon and the history of ancient art . In: Archäologischer Anzeiger . 1984. Berlin 1984, p. 654 [on the other hand Niall W. Slater : Reading Petronius , Baltimore / London 1990, p. 100f.]; Kenneth FC Rose: The date and author of the Satyricon , Lugduni Batavorum 1971, p. 75; Stubbe (1933) p. 30f. with especially p. 31 note 1; Sullivan (1968) p. 189; Walsh (1968) pp. 209-212; Barnes (1971) pp. 90-95; Courtney (2001) p. 143; see also Habermehl (2006) p. 149; Elsner (1993) pp. 30-31. 43; Connors (1998) pp. 95f .; Vincenzo Ciaffi : Satyricon di Petronio , Turin, second edition 1967, pp. 226-230. For the location of the Pinakothek see Stubbe (1933) p. 25 note 3f. and Niklas Holzberg : The ancient novel. An introduction. Third, revised edition , Munich / Zurich, third edition 2006, pp. 166–168.
  45. Stubbe (1933) pp. 27-30; Barnes (1971) pp. 69-71 and p. 90 note 40; Erika Simon : Laocoon and the history of ancient art . In: Archäologischer Anzeiger . 1984, Berlin 1984, p. 654; Sullivan (1968) p. 186; Habermehl (2006) pp. 153f. and Niall W. Slater : Reading Petronius , Baltimore / London 1990, 96f. with especially p. 96 note 21; see. Schoenberger (1992) p. 299; Cervellera (1975) p. 114; Elsner (1993) pp. 40f .; Courtney (2001) pp. 141f.
  46. Connors (1998) pp. 88f. See Stubbe (1933) p. 44; Campbell (1981) pp. 155.157.
  47. Bodoh (1987) pp. 272-274; Sullivan (1968) pp. 186-189; Stubbe (1933) p. 29. 40 [on this Connors (1998) p. 99 and Habermehl (2006) p. 157-160]; Walsh (1968) pp. 209f .; Barnes (1971) pp. 73-74. 78, 93; Vincenzo Ciaffi : Satyricon di Petronio , Turin, second edition 1967, pp. 226-230; Salanitro (1995) p. 293; Beck (1979) pp. 241f .; Schönberger (1992) pp. 298-299; Rimell (2002) pp. 66, 75; Manuwald (2007) p. 259 Note 11.
    On the language, see Petron Stubbe (1933) pp. 40–49 and Habermehl (2006) pp. 149–150. 156-158. 161–207, also Niall W. Slater : Reading Petronius , Baltimore / London 1990, p. 96 with special note 17; Froma I. Zeitlin : Romanus Petronius. A Study of the Troiae Halosis and the Bellum Civile . In: Latomus . Volume 30, Brussels 1971, p. 64 sees sexual allusions common to Petron in the vocabulary used; see. Habermehl (2006) pp. 153-155; Simons (2009) pp. 112-117; Stubbe (1933) p. 36f., Connors (1998) p. 89f .; Gärtner (2005) p. 153.
    On Laocoon's character in Virgil's version of the myth, cf. John P. Lynch : Lacoön and Simon: Virgil, Aeneid, 2.40–198 . In: Greece & Rome. Second series. Volume 27, Cambridge 1980, pp. 170-174. 176-177. On the other hand, on the linguistic diversity of Virgil see Pietsch (1980) pp. 160-162. For metric and style cf. Stubbe (1933) pp. 90-95; Maria Antonietta Cervellera : Petronio e Seneca tragico . In: Rivista di cultura classica e medioevale. Volume 17, Pisa 1975, pp. 107-115.
  48. Habermehl (2006), pp. 153–155; Zwierlein (2008) pp. 349-354; Schoenberger (1992) p. 299; Stubbe (1933) pp. 31–37 with a list of Petrons disagreements with Virgil on pp. 32–34; Barnes (1971) pp. 69-106, especially pp. 79-90 with the result pp. 89f. "Petronius was extremely conscious of Virgil's passage on the Wooden Horse when c. 89 was being composed. “; Campbell (1981) p. 162; Rimell (2002) pp. 66-79; Gärtner (2005) p. 152 note 56; on Laocoon's pathos in Virgil, see Pietsch (1980) p. 161.
  49. Engelmann / Höfer (1897) Sp. 1840–1842, Nesselrath (2009) p. 4f., Cf. Klingner (1967) pp. 412f .; Peter Becker : Virgil and Quintus . In: Rheinisches Museum für Philologie . New episode. Volume 68, Frankfurt am Main 1913, pp. 85f .; Stubbe (1933) p. 35 note 4; Gärtner (2005) p. 210; Foerster (1906a) pp. 19f .; Apollodor: Libraries. Legends of gods and heroes. Greek and German. Edited, translated and commented by Paul Dräger . Düsseldorf / Zurich 2005, p. 658; Zintzen (1979) pp. 21-24; see. Putnam (1965) p. 165.
  50. Cf. Karl Schefold: The Troy legend in Pompeii . In: The same: Word and Image , Basel 1975, p. 133; on the clumsily double warning Kassandra – Laocoon see Gärtner (2005) p. 151f; see. also Ursula Gärtner (ed.): Quintus von Smyrna. The fall of Troy. Greek and German. Volume 2nd ed., Trans. and commented by Ursula Gärtner , Darmstadt 2010, pp. 241–245. Pp. 243 to 389-94.
  51. The alternative that Laocoon slept with his wife in front of an image of a god is described by Maurus Servius Honoratius : In Vergilii Aeneidos Libros , ad Aeneis 2, 201 - Robert (1881), 200f. attributes this motif also to Sophocles' tragedy; see. Pearson (1917) p. 40 and note 2 as well as Gärtner (2005) p. 154f.
  52. ^ Jörg Rüpke : Virgil's Laocoon . In: Eranos . Volume 91, Stockholm 1993, p. 126f .; Robert (1881) p. 200f., Followed by Nesselrath (2009) p. 7; Foerster (1890a) pp. 432-438; Schott (1957) pp. 43-46; Althaus (2000) p. 46; see. Simons (2009) p. 111 with special note 17.
  53. Gärtner (2005) pp. 133–160 provide an overview of the 12th book. 192-197. 205-218. 280.282 and Ursula Gärtner (ed.): Quintus von Smyrna. The fall of Troy. Greek and German. Volume 2nd ed., Trans. and commented by Ursula Gärtner , Darmstadt 2010, p. 241.
  54. See James (2007) pp. 145-149; Rudolf Keydell : The Greek Poetry of the Imperial Era (until 1929). In: Same: Small Fonts. Published by Werner Peek . Leipzig 1982, pp. 99-112, on Laokoon especially pp. 103-110; Peter Becker : Virgil and Quintus . In: Rheinisches Museum für Philologie . New episode. Volume 68, Frankfurt am Main 1913, literature preceding it on p. 68; Zintzen (1979) p. 15f .; Gärtner (2005) pp. 30-37; Gärtner (2009) pp. 130f .; Knight (1932), among other things, with a list of similar formulations on p. 183 in note 8; Ursula Gärtner (ed.): Quintus von Smyrna. The fall of Troy. Greek and German. Volume 2nd ed., Trans. and commented by Ursula Gärtner , Darmstadt 2010, p. 241.
  55. ^ On the former, for example, Foerster (1890a) p. 437; Knight (1932) pp. 183f. and Gärtner (2005) p. 211. According to Alan W. James : Quintus of Smyrna. The Trojan Epic. Posthomerica. Baltimore / London 2004, p. 327f. distance himself from Quintus with his version of Virgil. Campbell (1981) p. 133. 135 sees a Hellenistic poem or Sophocles as the main source. Campbell (1981) pp. 133-137.139f. clearly sees a Hellenistic poem with Homeric features as a model. See Kassandra Peter Becker : Virgil and Quintus . In: Rheinisches Museum für Philologie . New episode. Volume 68, Frankfurt am Main 1913, p. 86 and Campbell (1981) p. 177f.
  56. Heinze (1957) pp. 20, 68-71; see. Schott (1957) pp. 49-53; Zintzen (1979) p. 38; Campbell (1981) p. 134; Althaus (2000) p. 149 note 25; Samuel Elliot Bassett : The Laocoon Episode in Quintus Smyrnaeus . In: American Journal of Philology . Volume 46, Baltimore 1925, pp. 243. 246-249; Alan W. James : Quintus of Smyrna and Virgil - A Matter of Prejudice . In: Manuel Baumbach , Silvio Bär (ed.): Quintus Smyrnaeus: Transforming Homer in Second Sophistic Epic. Berlin / New York 2007, p. 154; see also Zintzen (1979) p. 21 with special note 48; see. Knight (1932) pp. 182f.
  57. Campbell (1981) pp. 135f.139f .; Silvio Bär : Quintus Smyrnaeus Posthomerica 1. The rebirth of the epic from the spirit of the Amazonomachy. With a commentary on verses 1–219 , Göttingen 2010, pp. 272f. with especially p. 273 note 878; Alan W. James : Quintus of Smyrna. The Trojan Epic. Posthomerica. Baltimore / London 2004, pp. 326-333; Alan W. James : Quintus of Smyrna and Virgil - A Matter of Prejudice . In: Manuel Baumbach , Silvio Bär (ed.): Quintus Smyrnaeus: Transforming Homer in Second Sophistic Epic. Berlin / New York 2007, pp. 154–156 in comparison with Quintus von Smyrna, Posthomerica , 1, 76–82.
  58. See Samuel Elliot Bassett : The Laocoon Episode in Quintus Smyrnaeus . In: American Journal of Philology . Volume 46, Baltimore 1925, pp. 251f. and Mathias Mayer : Dialectics of Blindness and Poetics of Death. On literary strategies of knowledge , especially p. 165; on the other hand Rudolf Keydell : The Greek poetry of the imperial era (until 1929). In: Same: Small Fonts. Published by Werner Peek . Leipzig 1982, p. 110. For further evidence against Virgil's dependence on Quintus see Zintzen (1979) p. 37; Krafft (1986) p. 57 note 4.
  59. Kleinknecht (1944) pp. 103-107; so also Rudolf Keydell : The Greek Poetry of the Imperial Era (until 1929). In: Same: Small Fonts. Published by Werner Peek . Leipzig 1982, p. 108; Zintzen (1979) pp. 27-48.
  60. Gärtner (2009) pp. 132-145 and Ursula Gärtner (ed.): Quintus von Smyrna. The fall of Troy. Greek and German. Volume 2nd ed., Trans. and commented by Ursula Gärtner , Darmstadt 2010, p. 244; see. also Stubbe (1933) pp. 37-39; Campbell (1981) p. 137 and Gärtner (2005) p. 192-197. 205-218. 280, 282.
  61. Anthologia Latina Codicis Salmasiani carmen 99. In: Anthologia Latina sive poesis Latinae supplementum ediderunt Franciscus Buecheler et Alexander Riese. Pars prior: Carmina in codicibus scripta recensuit Alexander Riese. Fasciculus I: Libri Salmasiani aliorumque carmina. Editio altera denuo recognita , Leipzig 1894; see. Simons (2009) pp. 119f. with special p. 120 note 45.
  62. ^ Excidium Troiae edited by Elmer Bagby Atwood and Virgil Keeble Whitaker , Cambridge, Massachusetts 1944, pp. 15-17; see. Simons (2009) pp. 120–123; see also Maurus Servius Honoratius : In Vergilii Aeneidos Libros , ad Aeneis, 2, 201.
  63. The following sections are sorted by Simon (1992) pp. 197-200 and the addition Erika SimonLaokoon . In: Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC). Supplementum 2009, Düsseldorf 2009, p. 319 .. See also Richard Foerster: Monuments, which refer to Laocoon or have been related to the Laocoon assigned and rejected image documents . In: Negotiations of the fortieth meeting of German philologists and school men in Görlitz from October 2nd to 5th, 1888 , Leipzig 1890, pp. 299–307; Foerster (1891) pp. 179-190; Barnes (1971) pp. 71f. and Nikolaus Himmelmann : Laocoon . In: Ancient Art . Volume 34, 2, Basel 1991, pp. 98-100.
  64. Figures and interpretations of this in Schmidt (1979) pp. 239–248.
  65. Schauenburg (1977) pp. 294–297 with images of the intact crater; Foerster (1906a) pp. 15-17; Schmidt (1979) p. 241 with images of the bell crater fragment on p. 239f .; Adolf Furtwängler : The ancient gems. Volume 3. History of stone cutting art in classical antiquity , Leipzig 1900, p. 405f .; Steinmeyer (1967) p. 11.
    For Kassandra see Erika SimonLaokoon . In: Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC). Supplementum 2009, Düsseldorf 2009, pp. 319–319 .; Herwig Maehler : The songs of Bakchylides. Volume 2. The dithyrambs and fragments , Leiden 1997, p. 310f. For fragment length Louis Séchan : Études sur la tragédie grecque dans ses rapports avec la céramique , Paris 1926, p 160ff.
  66. Schmidt (1979) pp. 245-247.
  67. See Simon (1992) p. 198; Lippold (1946/7) pp. 88-94; Winner (1974) p. 87; Foerster (1890b) pp. 90f .; Rodenwaldt (1909) pp. 100-101. 263-266; Foerster (1906a) p. 26; Ehwald (1894) pp. 740-743; Ettlinger (1961) p. 123; Bieber (1964) p. 25; Salis (1947) pp. 140f. and Karl Schefold: The walls of Pompeii. Topographical directory of the image motifs. Berlin 1957, p. 40. 135. For the Kassandra picture see also Lippold (1946/7) p. 91, note 1.
  68. Simon (1992) p. 199 and Simon (1984) p. 643-672 and Foerster (1906a) p. 1-13. 23-32; Pietsch (1980) p. 163. For the dispute over the material of the statue described and the translation, see Andreae (1988) p. 145–147, Winner (1974) p. 111 and others. On the snakes see for example Maurach (1992) p. 234 note 26. For further information on the statue see the article Laocoon group .
  69. See Simon (1992) p. 199; Robert (1881) pp. 209f. and Foerster (1890b) p. 88.
  70. Erika Simon : Laocoon and the history of ancient art . In: Archäologischer Anzeiger 1984. Berlin 1984, pp. 651–652. Cf. Henry (1878f.) Pp. 119f., Who finds the Virgilian representation to be more realistic than that of the Laocoon group; Ettlinger (1961) pp. 121-126; Althaus (2000) pp. 105–115 with particularly 110f. and 141 note 8.
  71. ^ Bernard Andreae: Laocoon and the art of Pergamon. The hubris of the giants , Frankfurt am Main 1991, pp. 5–13. 16-21. 28-54. 61-65. 76-85; see. Zintzen (1979) p. 38 note 98.
  72. Cf. Richard Foerster: Monuments, which refer to Laocoon or have been related . In: Negotiations of the fortieth assembly of German philologists and school men in Görlitz from October 2nd to 5th, 1888 , Leipzig 1890, pp. 304–306 and Foerster (1891), pp. 177–179; Andreas Alföldi : Die Kontorniaten , Berlin 1943, p. 110 and Ettlinger (1961) p. 123 with illustrations.
  73. Andreae (1988); Foerster (1906a) p. 14f .; Lippold (1946/7) p. 94 note 3; Adolf Furtwängler : The ancient gems. Volume 2. Description and explanation of the panels , Leipzig 1900, to panel LXIV, 30 with description of the storage history and Adolf Furtwängler: The ancient gems. Volume 3. History of stone cutting art in classical antiquity , Leipzig 1900, pp. 205f .; Friedrich Hiller : On the art-historical position of the Laocoon . In: Mannheimer reports from research and teaching 35, 1989, pp. 29–34, especially pp. 29f. and Erika SimonLaocoon . In: Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC). Supplementum 2009, Düsseldorf 2009, pp. 319-319. contradict this; see. Richard Foerster: Monuments which refer to or have been referenced to Laocoon . In: Negotiations of the fortieth meeting of German philologists and school men in Görlitz from October 2nd to 5th, 1888 , Leipzig 1890, p. 304 and Schauenburg (1977) p. 296, note 47.
  74. Ettlinger (1961) p. 122f .; Simon (1992) pp. 197-200. See Althaus (2000) p. 135.
  75. See Foerster (1906b) pp. 150–159; Foerster (1891) pp. 184-187; Rodenwaldt (1909) p. 264 Note 3. Cf. on Filippino Lippi Andreae (1988) p. 31–37; Lippold (1946/7) p. 90, Salis (1947), p. 140 and Winner (1974) passim.
  76. See Foerster (1906a) p. 16; Foerster (1906b) pp. 159-173; Winner (1974) pp. 83-92; Pietsch (1980) p. 164; on Dente cf. Forster (1906a) pp. 2f .; Bieber (1964) p. 15f.
  77. Cf. Erwin Walter Palm : El Greco's Laokoon . In: Pantheon . Volume 27, Munich 1969, pp. 129-135; Ewald Maria Vetter : El Greco's Laocoon "reconsidered" . In: Pantheon . Volume 27, Munich 1969, pp. 295-298 (there also on Giulio Romano and Giovanni Battista Fontana); Salis (1947) p. 142; Bieber (1964) pp. 18f .; Pietsch (1980) pp. 164f .; Günter Engelhard , The Return of the Warner. Laocoon: A figure before a new era . In: Westermanns Monatshefte , Müngen 1976, p. 67; Mathias Mayer : Dialectics of Blindness and Poetics of Death. On literary strategies of knowledge , Freiburg 1997, pp. 170–191, on the singularity of Laocoon's survival in Quintus see there, p. 165.
  78. See Foerster (1906b) pp. 167-175. See also Eric M. Moormann , Wilfried Uitterhoeve : Laokoon . In: Lexicon of ancient figures with their survival in art, poetry and music . Translated by Marinus Pütz , Stuttgart 1995, p. 412f. For works that were more influenced by the Laocoon group, see the article Laocoon Group and Hunger (1979) p. 231. See also Salis (1947) p. 143 on the influence of the group: “an artist who saw this exemplary solution once , [she was able to, editor's note. Author] can hardly be designed any other way. "
  79. ^ Robert Baldwin Ross : Aubrey Beardsley , London 1921, pp. 59f. ( available online ).
  80. Althaus (2000) p. 47.
  81. Simons (2009) pp. 104-110, 123; see also Gärtner (2005) p. 155; Hunger (1979) p. 231; Pietsch (1980) p. 163 f. and Foerster (1906b) pp. 149-150.
  82. ^ Johannes Tzetzes, Posthomerica, 713.
  83. Johannes Tzetzes : Scholium ad Lycophron , 347; see. Bethe (1924) col. 736.
  84. Engelmann / Höfer (1897) Sp. 1842f .; Robert (1881) p. 198; Foerster (1890a) p. 436f .; Foerster (1906a) p. 20. See Althaus (2000) p. 44f.
  85. ^ Text, translation, commentary and interpretation of Sadoletto's poem as well as a comparison with Virgil's text in Gregor Maurach : Jacopo Sadoleto: De Laocoontis statua (1506) , Fontes 5, 2008 ( available online [PDF]) and Bieber (1967) p. 13 -15; see. Anja Wolkenhauer : Virgil, Sadoleto and the 'reinvention' of Laocoon in Renaissance poetry . In: Dorothee Gall , Anja Wolkenhauer (ed.): Laokoon in literature and art. Writings of the symposium “Laocoon in Literature and Art” on November 30, 2006, University of Bonn (= contributions to antiquity 254), Berlin / New York 2009, pp. 160–181. On Laomedon Maurus Servius Honoratius : In Vergilii Aeneidos Libros , ad Aeneis 2, 201.
  86. Jane Davidson Reid : The Oxford guide to classical mythology in the arts, 1300–1990s. Achelous – Leander , New York a. a. 1993, pp. 624-626. The poems of Herder and Costa are available online . On Gunnar Ekelöf's work cf. Ann Lundvall : Till det omöjligas konst känner jag mig: Gunnar Ekelöfs konstsyn , Lund 2009, 206–230. See also Pietsch (1980) p. 158. 163–172 for further reception in the literature.
  87. Kohrs (2006) pp. 247-254; Koch (1990), pp. 32, 59-61. 138, 140 and p. 153, note 62; Andrée Thill : L'Enéide de Berlioz. In: Revue des études latines . Volume 68, Paris 1990, pp. 182f .; see. Thomas Smith Pattie : Virgil through the Ages. Virgil 'imitators . In: Robert Deryck Williams , Thomas Smith Pattie: Virgil. His Poetry through the Ages , London 1982, p. 108.
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