Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Devil's Dictionary: Laocoon (n.)

A famous piece of antique sculpture representing a priest of that name and his two sons in the folds of two enormous serpents. The skill and diligence with which the old man and lads support the serpents and keep them up to their work have been justly regarded as one of the noblest artistic illustrations of the mastery of human intelligence over brute inertia.

(Okay, for those of you who, not having been classics majors in previous lives, would just look blank if I were to say, "Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes," and therefore aren't quite sure why I think this is so funny, this is a classical reference to a famous statue portraying a figure from the Trojan War -- at least, the Aeneid's version of it -- as explained here.)


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