Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Laocoön
LAOCOÖN (lā-ok'ō-on), according to classic legend, a priest of Apollo, afterward of Poseidon, in Troy, who married against the will of the former god, and who warned his countrymen against admitting the wooden horse into Troy. For one or both of these reasons he was destroyed along with his two sons by two enormous serpents which came up out of the sea. The subject is represented in one of the most famous works of ancient sculpture still in existence, a group discovered in 1506 at Rome, and purchased by Pope Julius II. for the Vatican. It was carried by Bonaparte to Paris in 1796, but recovered in 1814. According to Pliny, it was the work of the Rhodian artists, Agesander, Polydorus, and Athenodorus. The best authorities place its date at a little before 100 B. C.