Trojan horse

🏷  Greek horse pun · symbol   —   by Gerry · Mar 2020 · 599 words

The Trojan horse is likely a fuzzy pun with “wooden horse”, and also with “bait” & “stratagem”. That’s why the story of Troy includes a wooden horse used as a bait & stratagem. It goes without saying that this story never really took place as told, as no wartime enemy would be stupid enough to be baited with a literal wooden horse.

The Trojan horse pun is “fuzzy” in the sense that the consonants are only loosely similar: T-R ≈ D-R ≈ D-L-R. Note that in Greek, the R is trilled, much like in Spanish or Italian, so R and L are a lot closer than in English. The main confirmation for this T-R ≈ D-R pun comes from the fact that the Trojan horse is named loosely similar to what it really is: a decoy.

In Greek, the Trojan horse is literally called δουρειος ιππος doureios hippos “wooden horse”, not “Trojan horse”. We can also see that “wooden horse” and “decoy horse” are more similar to each other than to an actual “Trojan horse”.

I am not sure though what the ιππος hippos “horse” part is supposed to pun with. Greek horses are often puns with the prefixes hypo-, apo-, epi-. But in this case, the horse comes after the word for “wood”, so it cannot be a prefix. (Adjectives could go either before or after the noun in Ancient Greek.) My first guess was that it’s a pun with απας hapas for “everyone”, i.e. baiting everyone. However, a better match is ποιεω poieo for “crafting” & “inventing”, or even υποποιεω hypopoieo for “putting under” and “gaining by tricks”. This fits the story where Troy is gained by a trick. It also fits spookery because the spooks rule us by inventing decoys for us to chase after.

If the horse was to put up front as ιππο δουρειος hippo doureios, it could again be a typical Greek horse-prefix pun such as επιδελεαζο epideleazo for “putting something on as bait”.

It would be great if we could comb the original Ancient Greek text about the Trojan horse for more clues. However, it has been censored away: We have only Homer’s Iliad about the start of the “Trojan war”, and Homer’s Odyssey about the events after the “Trojan war”. The middle section is missing, which is suspicious in itself. The Trojan horse is only known from mentionings, and from derived Latin works. Likely, the original Greek punnery was a bit too obvious to leave it in the open. Judging from all the other punnery, I’d guess it was not really about a war by “Greeks” on “Trojans”, but rather about rulers cheating their own subjects: Αχαιοί Achaioi “Aecheans” even puns with αγαυοι agauoi “the nobles”, and Τροια Troia “Troy” puns with αθροοι hathrooi “the masses”.

Greek Trōios = Trojan; dourios = wooden; doleros, delear, dolos = lure, bait, decoy

Τρώϊος Trōios : Trojan — Ancient Greek (

δούριος dourios : made of timber — Ancient Greek (

δορήϊος dorḗïos : made of wooden planks — Ancient Greek (Wikt)

δολερός doleros : deceitful, deceptive, treacherous — Ancient Greek (

δέλεαρ délear : bait; decoy; attraction — Ancient Greek (

δόλος dólos : bait for fish; any cunning contrivance for deceiving or catching, as the net in which Hephaestus catches Ares, the Trojan horse, Ixion’s bride, the robe of Penelope; any trick or stratagem, craft, cunning, treachery; spy — Ancient Greek (

🏷  Greek horse pun · symbol