When the Greek army had lain siege to Troy for ten years without success, Odysseus devised a stratagem to take the city from within. The Greeks pretended to give up and withdrew, leaving behind on the beach a large hollow wooden horse. Inside however, Greek soldiers were hidden, and the Greek fleet dropped anchor at the island of Tenedos.
The spy Sinon, a Greek who pretended to have fled in order to prevent being executed, convinced the Trojans to accept the gift, saying it was a gift to their patron goddess Athena. The Trojans dragged it into their city, ignoring the warnings of both Cassandra and the seer Laocoon. The following night, when the unsuspecting Trojans were celebrating their victory, the Greek soldiers emerged from the horse and opened the city gates, allowing the Greek army to finally take the city.
On various Greek vases the wooden horse is depicted, such as on a Corinthian aryballos (ca. 560 BCE; Paris): soldiers appear on and around the horse, which is at the center of a fierce battle. The scene were the horse is dragged toward Troy's walls is found on a Pompeian fresco at the Museo Nazionale in Naples: in the background are Troy's walls and towers. A group of civilians is pulling the ropes attached to horse while in the background a group of soldiers watches on.
- Aken, Dr. A.R.A. van. (1961). Elseviers Mythologische Encyclopedie. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
- Virgil. Aeneid ii, 13 ff., 234 ff.