(3) Wrath and reconciliation:
Homer leads us with his epic
into the Assyrian occupied Cilicia of the fateful year 705 B.C. In the long war between the Greeks of Cilicia and the Assyrian great power a turning point is foreseeable.
At the beginning of his campaign the great king still triumphs, but his days are numbered. The Iliad depicts the the previous events over several weeks of the devastating defeat and glorious death of the Assyrian king Sargon II (in the Iliad: the Trojan hero Hector), whose body remains unburied in the hands of his enemies.
As an introduction Homer chooses the events of the year 701, when another Assyrian king, Sanherib, fails before Jerusalem because he has to break off the siege because of an epidemic in his army.
Like the historical Sargon, the epic Hector fights a hopeless battle, but the confrontation over his corpse – in contrast to the historical model – comes to a conciliatory end.
Like the historical great king Sanherib, in the epic the leader of the Greeks, King Agamemnon, has to give up his siege intention because of an epidemic in his army, but unlike Sanherib he is promised victory later.