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[199] The story of Laocoon appears to have been variously related. See Introduction to this book. Euphorion apud Serv. agrees mainly with Virg., except that Laocoon's real offence is said to have been a forbidden marriage; and so Hyginus, who treats the notion of any other crime as a delusion of the Trojans. Heyne thinks it probable that Virg. may expressly have copied Euphorion, whom he is known to have admired (see E. 6. 72., 10. 50). Of Sophocles' tragedy of Laocoon but very few fragments have been preserved: from one of them however (fr. 343, Nauck) it appears that his story must have differed from Virg.'s, as the flight of Aeneas with his father and a body of Trojan emigrants is distinctly mentioned, so that the hero of the play can hardly have died before the taking of the city. Serv. has a strange notice of Bacchylides, who, he says, speaks of Laocoon and his wife, or the serpents which came from the Calydnae islands and were turned into men (“in homines conversis” might conceivably mean ‘attacking men’); but the passage may be corrupt. For fuller details of these legends see Heyne's Excursus. An interest of a different kind is given to the story by Lessing's celebrated treatise.

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    • Vergil, Eclogues, 6
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