While working my way through Homer and reading some additional critical sources, I just discovered something fascinating:
There is no Trojan Horse story in the Iliad. The Trojan Horse story is part of the Odyssey!
In fact, the only place where Homer ever mentions this story is in the Odyssey, when the bard in the Phaecian palace sings the story of how Troy fell (book 8, I believe). While I had read the Odyssey twice before I had yet to read the Iliad (yes, I know, I know... what kind of bibliophile am I if I haven't read the Iliad?) For this reason, I never really focused on the horse bit all that much; I just figured the Iliad must talk about it more since it focuses on the Trojan War and that the mention in the Odyssey was just a little Iliad reference Homer did for fun. There are so many other things going on in the Odyssey, that the horse moment is really minor.
But now, in this most recent read-through, the Trojan Horse segment caught my attention and I decided to do a little research. Turns out, the Iliad only takes place over a period of forty-some days, and ends with the death of Hector. From my knowledge of the Trojan War events via the Aeneid, I knew that Hector's death and the scene with his body being dragged around the city happened before the horse event. I did a little more research and voila! No Trojan Horse in the Iliad.
A note for those readers who haven't been following this saga from the beginning. The reason I'm so incredibly excited about this piece of literary trivia is that one of my writing projects refers to certain events in the Odyssey, including the famous horse. If the horse were an elaborate part of the Iliad, it would make things... complicated, to say the least. I'd have to do more research and reconfigure things a bit. I'm rather tired of research right now and this discovery made my day. Time for a happy dance!