'The Siege of Troy or the Giant Horse of Sinon', advertisement for an equine spectacle at Astley's Circus

'The Siege of Troy or the Giant Horse of Sinon', advertisement for an equine spectacle at Astley's Circus

'The Siege of Troy or the Giant Horse of Sinon'
Advertisement for an equine spectacle at Astley's Circus
29 April 1833
Printed by T. Romney
London
Museum no. S.2-1983

This 19th century circus poster is illustrated with a woodcut of a giant horse with a soldier at its hooves.  This advertised a narrative circus act at Astley's Circus based on the famous Greek tale of the Trojan Horse, as recorded in Virgil's Aeneid.  The story tells how the Greeks were at war with the Trojans for ten years.  Eventually the Greeks built a giant hollow wooden horse on wheels and hid soldiers inside. They left the horse outside the city of Troy while the rest of their army retreated. The Trojans found the horse, and believing it to be an offering to the Goddess Athena, took it into the city. The horse was so large that the Trojans had to tear down some of their defences to pull it inside.  The Greek soldiers climbed out at night and called back the rest of their army, letting them into Troy through the broken defences. The Greeks triumphed over the Trojans and ended the war.