from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Greek Mythology A Trojan priest of Apollo who was killed along with his two sons by two sea serpents for having warned his people of the Trojan horse.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A priest of Apollo, during the Trojan war. (See 2.)
- n. A marble group in the Vatican at Rome, representing the priest Laocoön, with his sons, infolded in the coils of two serpents, as described by Virgil.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. (Greek mythology) the priest of Apollo who warned the Trojans to beware of Greeks bearing gifts when they wanted to accept the Trojan Horse; a god who favored the Greeks (Poseidon or Athena) sent snakes who coiled around Laocoon and his two twin sons killing them
Sorry, no etymologies found.
Among standard critical works the one that has most impressed me is Lessing's "Laocoon" -- at any rate the literary parts of it.
'Laocoon' -- my friend Gibson's 'Nymth,' you see, is the only figure I admit among the antiques.
Was there ever a man called Laocoon, who strangled sea serpents?
Pliny also tells us that the Laocoon was the work of three sculptors, AGESANDER, POLYDORUS, and ATHENODORUS.
Colossus was one of the wonders of the world, seventy cubits in height, and the Laocoon is a perfect miracle of art, in which group pathos is exhibited in the highest degree ever attained in sculpture.
Leave action and movement to the temporal art of poetry, Lessing argued in his 1766 essay "Laocoon" (translated into French in 1802 and known by every serious artist ever after).
It might be possible, for instance, to show children the difference between the real ugliness in the priest's face of the "Laocoon" group, because of the motive of courage and endurance behind the suffering.
Then comes the question of theories of criticism -- can he do with less than, say, an acquaintance with Aristotle, and Lessing's "Laocoon," or even with so little?
[Illustration: Schematic of Temple Arch] so, of which the mother was the centre figure; this makes it more probable, but the difficulty to this hypothesis is, that there do not appear to be the necessary gradations in the size or altitude of the other figures; the sons in the 'Laocoon' are certainly little men.
Lessing, in his "Laocoon," had already shown the point of contrast between painting and poetry; and aesthetics, being defined as the science of the beautiful, must of necessity embrace poetry.
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