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Beware of Greeks bearing gifts


One of the most popular idiomatic warnings is “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts” – a caution to be on guard against people who seek to gain our favor by bestowing gifts upon us.  

Why? It’s not the gift itself but rather the motive behind the gift that should concern us.

This phrase dates back to the capture of Troy by the deception of the famous Trojan horse.  If you’re not familiar with the story, a gift was made to besieged city of Troy during the Trojan War – a large wooden horse. 

When the Trojan residents opened the city doors and wheeled in the horse, they were shocked to discover that in the horse’s wooden belly was a Greek army in hiding.  This led to the fall of Troy.

It is recorded in Virgil's Aeneid, Book 2, 19 BC when he said “Timeo danaos et dona ferentes” (I fear the Danaos (Greeks) and those bearing gifts).
  

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