Stormtroopers! or The Wooden Horse Part 2 of 12 / by Anthony Gibbins

The Wooden Horse. Part 2. As we await the October 1 arrival of Legonium pars tertia, here is some complete nonsense in 12 parts.

From the translation of The Aeneid, Book II by John Dryden

But, since you take such int'rest in our woe,

And Troy's disastrous end desire to know,

I will restrain my tears, and briefly tell

What in our last and fatal night befell.

By destiny compell'd, and in despair,

The Greeks grew weary of the tedious war.


Graeci : Graecus is a noun that means 'a Greek’. Here the noun is in the nominative plural form. Nominative because the Greeks are the subject of the verb, plural because there are more than one of them.

decem : decem is the number 10. It is in the masculine accusative plural ‘form’ because it is describing annos, so they have to ‘agree’. I say ‘form’, but the truth is that numbers over 10 don’t change their form, they always look the same despite of case and gender.

annos : annus is a masculine noun that means ‘year’. It is in the accusative case, because one of the jobs that the accusative case can do is express ‘duration of time’. It is also plural. So, together, decem annos means ‘for ten years’.

Troiam : Troia is a noun. It is the Latin name for the city of Troy. Troiam is in the accusative case. Here the accusative case is doing its most important job, which is indicating that the word is the ‘object of the verb’.

frustra : frustra is an adverb. Adverbs don’t have troubling things like cases and numbers. frustra means ‘in vain’.

obsederant : obsidere means ‘to besiege’. The verb is made by putting the prefix ‘ob’ (in front of) with the verb sedere (to sit). Here it is in the pluperfect tense, indicating that this had already happened when our story began. It is third person and plural in form, to match our third person plural subject, Graeci. We already know that Troiam is its object.

Translation: For ten years the Greeks had besieged Troy in vain.