Yikes! or The Wooden Horse Part 9 of 12 / by Anthony Gibbins

The Wooden Horse. Part 9. 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

All vote t' admit the steed, that vows be paid

And incense offer'd to th' offended maid.

A spacious breach is made; the town lies bare;

Some hoisting-levers, some the wheels prepare

And fasten to the horse's feet; the rest

With cables haul along th' unwieldly beast.

Each on his fellow for assistance calls;

At length the fatal fabric mounts the walls,

Big with destruction. Boys with chaplets crown'd,

And choirs of virgins, sing and dance around.

Thus rais'd aloft, and then descending down,

It enters o'er our heads, and threats the town.


equum : equus is a noun that we have become very familiar with. Here it is in the accusative case to indicate that it is the object of the verb.

tamen : tamen is an adverb meaning ‘however’ or ‘nevertheless’. Here the idea is something like, Laocoon tried to dissuade them, the Trojans tamen carried out what they were planning.

stulti: stultus is a rather nasty adjective meaning ‘foolish’ or ‘silly’. Here it is masculine, plural and in the nominative case to ‘agree with’ cives.

cives : civis is a noun meaning ‘citizen’. Like sacerdos on the previous page, the gender of civis depends on the gender of the individual. In Latin, as in many of the Romance languages, if even a single individual in a group identifies as male, the entire group is treated as masculine. So, cives is masculine.

in : in is that clever preposition that can mean ‘in/on’ or ‘into/onto’ depending on the case that follows it.

urbem : urbs is a feminine noun that means ‘the city’. Here it is singular, referring to the one and only Troy. It is in the accusative case to indicate that it is forming a prepositional phrase with in and that in is to be understood as ‘into’.

traxerunt : trahere is a verb that we have met previously in the infinitive form meaning ‘to drag’. Here it is third person plural because it has a third person plural subject, cives. It is in the perfect tense as it describes an action that was completed in the past. Its object is equum.

Translation: The foolish citizens nevertheless dragged the horse into the city.