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Laoco÷n and his Sons

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Krystal Coenen
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« on: July 14, 2007, 08:01:34 pm »

Laoco÷n and his Sons

Laoco÷n and his SonsThe statue of Laoco÷n and His Sons, also called the Laoco÷n Group, is a monumental marble sculpture, now in the Vatican Museums, Rome. The statue is attributed by the Roman author Pliny the Elder to three sculptors from the island of Rhodes: Agesander, Athenodoros and Polydorus. It shows the Trojan priest Laoco÷n and his sons Antiphantes and Thymbraeus being strangled by sea serpents.

The story of Laoco÷n had been the subject of a now lost play by Sophocles, and was mentioned by other Greek writers. Laoco÷n was killed while attempting to expose the ruse of the Trojan Horse by striking it with a spear. The snakes were sent either by Apollo or Poseidon, and were interpreted by the Trojans as proof that the horse was a sacred object. The most famous account of these events is in Virgil's Aeneid (See the Aeneid quotation at the entry Laoco÷n), but this very probably dates from after the sculpture was made.

Various dates have been suggested for the statue, ranging from about 160 to about 20 BC. Inscriptions found at Lindos in Rhodes date Agesander and Athenedoros to a period after 42, making the years 42 to 20 the most likely date for the Laoco÷n statue's creation.

The statue, which was probably originally commissioned for the home of a wealthy Roman, was unearthed in 1506 near the site of the Golden House of the Emperor Nero (who reigned from 54 to 68 AD), and it is possible that the statue belonged to Nero himself. It was acquired by Pope Julius II, an enthusiastic classicist, soon after its discovery and was placed in the Belvedere Garden at the Vatican, now part of the Vatican Museums.

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