Verse 49 of the second book of Virgil’s Aeneid belongs to Laocoon.
Laocoon was a priest of Apollo in Troy (because the Asians also venerated the Greek gods, apparently) and he sensed the deception of the Greeks with the famous Trojan horse.
As everyone knows, he has a magnificent statue in which he is depicted being devoured, along with his children, by serpents sent by Athena.
His mistake was to try to convince the Trojan people that the horse was a trap and that it would mean the doom of the city.
His speech ends with the famous verse II.49:
Quidquid id est, timeo Danaos et dona ferentis.
Whatever this is, I fear the Greeks even when they bring gifts.
Here comes to the point a phrase of Julius Caesar (De bello Gallico 184.108.40.206):
libenter homines id quod volunt credunt.
That is to say:
men willingly believe what they want (to be true).
Imagine how bitter the Trojans were after ten years of siege. Suddenly, the Greeks have disappeared from their camp, their ships are not to be seen on the horizon and they have left, as an offering to the gods for a happy homecoming, a wooden horse.
What the Trojans wanted was for the war to be over.
The horse is full of armed Greeks? Shut up, Laocoon! Don’t spoil our party. Let’s destroy part of the wall to get the horse in and get drunk.
Well… Laocoon was right: inside the horse were hidden the best Greek warriors. Once inside the walls, they got off the horse, killed the guards, opened the gates and gave way to the entire Greek army, which destroyed the city.
Laocoon was right to fear the gift of the Greeks.
One of the Internet axioms I like to repeat the most is that, when something is free, it’s because you are the product.
Free newsletter? You are the product.
Free minicourse? You are the product.
First class free? You are the product.
As the wise Spanish saying goes: dogs can’t be tied up with a leash made of sausages.
Well, I kind of do have a Latin minicourse.
It includes everything you need to translate your first little phrases like “The queen gives money to sailors” or “The goddess Diana shoots arrows”.
They’re not that big a deal, but it’s better than being eaten by snakes.
You can do it, for free, here.
P. S. As you can imagine, once you finish the minicourse, the point is for you to buy the complete course.
P. P. S. Yes, yes, it is ferentis and not ferentes: you wouldn’t be surprised if you had already taken the course.