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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.

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228

(4) Assyria and Troy:

In the Iliad, Homer uses the ancient Troy tradition

Rapida, Galapagos
Rapida, Galapagos

to tell of the struggle of the contemporary free Greeks against the Assyrian great kings.

 

He dismisses the painting of the heroic struggle of the free Achaians and Danaer against a despotic power doomed to destruction.

 

Homer does not write a key novel, he is a poet who wants to entertain and finds his motifs in contemporary history.

 

So the roles are sometimes reversed, then the mighty Assyrians become mighty Greeks, the great armies of the Assyrians become great armies of the Danaans, the Karatepe, which is inferior to the Assyrians, becomes Troy, which is inferior to the Greeks.

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225

(3) Wrath and reconciliation:

Homer leads us with his epic

Rapida, Galapagos
Rapida, Galapagos

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.

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Homer, the polyglot young Greek in the Assyrian office,

Pinguin, Isabela, Galapagos
Pinguin, Isabela, Galapagos

 

who read everything he could get his hands on, saw the beginning of the end of Assyrian power in the dishonourable death of Sargon II around 650 BC and in the religious self-doubts of the Assyrian elite.

 

More clairvoyantly than others he recognized the near end of Assyrian culture, later as an epicist he proclaimed the Greeks as the true heirs of Assur.

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223

(2) Assyria’s downfall:

In the year 705 BC the Cimmerians defeated and killed

Flamingo, Rapida, Galapagos
Flamingo, Rapida, Galapagos

the Assyrian king Sargon II in a battle that probably took place similar to the defeat of the Roman commander Varus in 9 AD at today’s Kalkriese.

 

Sargon remained unburied on the battlefield, in Assyria the twelfth tablet of the Gilgamesh epic was created thereupon, one discussed violently its topic, the fate of the unburied dead warrior.

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