With gold hitting 1700 the thought entered my mind on back of property crash etc , ‘ beware of Greeks bearing gifts.’

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There are so many false Gods. We simply don’t learn as people. So many got sucked into the property world etc and then crash! Gold is the new God @ $1700 today. This trig erred my mind to reflect on ‘Greeks bearing false gifts.’
Beware of Greeks bearing gifts. Don’t trust your enemies.


An allusion to the story of the wooden horse of Troy, used by the Greeks to trick their way into the city. It is recorded in Virgil’s Aeneid, Book 2, 19 BC:

“Do not trust the horse, Trojans. Whatever it is, I fear the Greeks even when they bring gifts.”

Of course that English version is a translation. Another translation, by John Dryden, has “Trust not their presents, nor admit the horse.”

The same thought was also recorded by Sophocles (496 – 406 BC), in Ajax:

Nought from the Greeks towards me hath sped well.
So now I find that ancient proverb true,
Foes’ gifts are no gifts: profit bring they none.

The Classics are no longer widely taught or read, so this phrase is now little used, although it was resurrected in a sideways reference during a 1990s copyright dispute. There was considerable discussion then,in Internet chat rooms etc., regarding the company Compuserve, who owned the copyright to the GIF image format, and their possible intentions to restrict its use. Some people feared that they might be taken to law by Compuserve if they received and viewed GIF images without permission. The phrase “beware of geeks bearing gifs” was coined to sum that up.

So there you have it. Go forth and spread the Gospel!

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I am a regular contributor to discussion programmes on TV and radio both at home and abroad. An experienced political editor and author specialising in Politics, Security and 20th Century Art.


  1. No, mankind does not learn and certainly not from previous generations. We may as well ask a child to learn from the mistakes of its parents.
    And men have always created Gods to deal with emergencies. We invest the Gods with all the powers we think they may need to sort out our difficulties. But the Gods are not really false for we have created them to do our bidding.
    I fear the Greeks whether they come bearing gifts or looking for them.
    Civilisation is said to have begun in Iraq and see it now. And philosophy began in Greece. I fear that, in Greece, civilisation as we have known it, and philosophy, might just have begun to meet their nemesis. In which event, gold may be cheap at its current price.