Homer turns the metropolitan Assyria

Giant tortoise, Darwin Station, Galapagos
Giant tortoise, Darwin Station, Galapagos

into the mighty city of Troy. The Assyrian custom of abducting women as spoils of war becomes the abduction of Helena. The death of Sargon II in battle becomes the death of the Trojan hero Hector.


Sargon’s father and predecessor Tiglatpilesar III became the aged Trojan king Priamos. Sargon’s brother and predecessor, the short-ruling Salmanasser V, who turned Cilicia into an Assyrian province, became the unheroic Paris, which provided the reason for the war with the theft of Helena.


The wild Cimmerians, who left Sargon unburied, became the raging Achilles, who refused to bury Hector. The later war campaigns of Sanherib and Asarhaddon against the Cimmerians turned into the quick death of the fighter Achill. The mother right of the Cimmerians became the descent of Achilles from a goddess.


The Assyrian sun and oracle god Shamash became he god Apollo, the arguing for Troy sun and oracle god.


The religious self-doubts of the Assyrian elite became the Trojan fear of the inevitable downfall. From the feared destruction of the Assyrian cities, the prophecy of the downfall of the city of Troy.


The new Assyrian capital Dur Sharrukin, “Sargon’s castle”, today Khorsabad, inaugurated by Sargon in 706 BC with great pomp, became a provincial village after Sargon’s death.


The city of Babylon, the capital of Babylon, which competed with Assyria, was destroyed by Sanherib in 689 BC.


Intertextual References of the Iliad to Assyrian Texts


Hector Sargon II
705 B.C.
Is killed in battle,
remains without funeral
Troy Assur Ancient urban culture,
downfall is foreseeable
Achill Cimmerians Strongest fighter, refuse funeral, wild, angry
Greeks Cilicians Barbarians, who attack ccenter
City of Troy Babylon
689 B.C.
Destruction of an ancient metropolis
Trojan elite assyr. elite
after 705 B.C.
Fear of doom
Agamemnon Sanherib
2 Kings 19,35s
Siege of a city fails becausee of an epidemic
Zeus Assyrian Great Kings Executor oft he predetermined fate
Single Gods Cilician princes Limited power
Helena Cilician women Women as spoils of war

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