Laocoon and his two sons are entwined by serpents; a warrior takes refuge in a temple.
Laokoon und seine beiden Söhne werden von Schlangen umschlungen; ein Krieger flüchtet in einen Tempel. (Suerbaum)
Engraving from a German children’s picture-book version of the Aeneid by G. J. Lang and G. C. Eimmart, “A tapestry of Roman virtues as seen in Vergil’s Aeneas and his brave deeds, rendered in sparkling engravings, as illustrations of the remarkable deeds of antiquity, for the common benefit of noble youth,” (Peplus virtutum Romanarum in Aenea Virgiliano eiusque rebus fortiter gestis, ad maiorem antiquitatis et rerum lucem, communi iuventutis sacratae bono, aere renitens) (Nuremburg: J.L. Buggel, 1688), pl. 8.
The death of Laocoon and his sons is the focus of this picture. Laocoon wears the fillets (vittas, 221) that mark him out as a priest. The axe in the bottom left corner shows that Laocoon was in the middle of a sacrifice (202) when the serpents attacked, and it also calls to mind the metaphor of lines 223 and 224, in which the screams of Laocoon are compared to those of a bull having escaped, mutilated, from a sacrifice. (Lucy McInerney)