LAOCOÖN, n. A famous piece of antique
scripture sculpture representing a priest of that name and his two sons in the folds of two enormous serpents. The skill and diligence with which the old man and lads support the serpents and keep them up to their work have been justly regarded as one of the noblest artistic illustrations of the mastery of human intelligence over brute inertia.
2009 Update: A Trojan priest wise enough to warn his comrades against Greeks bearing gifts but impetuous enough to father two sons. For their lesser incaution, the Trojans were punished with death but allowed to retain some dignity.
Update: Good eye, Jim. The slip, however Freudian, isn't mine. I copied and pasted from The online Devil's Dictionary and missed the error you caught. I checked the book and Bierce is also innocent.