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(7) Distribution and conclusion:

The Iliad was not written before the Assyrians

North Seymor, Galapagos
North Seymor, Galapagos

withdrew from Cilicia, hardly before 640 BC (as Franz Dornseiff said in the introduction to M. Riemschneider’s magnificent Homer book, p. 10). However, the rapid spread of the epic was mainly due to its significance as a star-catalogue.

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237

Homer is not a Grimm fairy-tale aunt who passes on traditional stories,

Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, Galapagos
Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, Galapagos

nor has he translated any poetry into written form that is already orally available.

 

Homer is also not the lonely genius who produces a great poem out of nothing. Rather, he has transferred the current story of the demise of a great culture that he wants to tell into the heroic Mycenaean early period in order to exaggerate and alienate it.

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236

Homer is already what has been called a poet doctus

Opuntie, Santa Cruz, Galapagos
Opuntie, Santa Cruz, Galapagos

since Kallimachos (ca. 300 – 245 B.C.): a poet who shines with erudition (as the Assyrian author of the “Eighth Campaign” Sargon’s had before him).

 

The epic becomes an encyclopaedia of the knowledge of the time. Homer brings – just like Vergil later – a wealth of allusions to contemporary history (see Schrott) and to the works of the still essentially Assyrian literary canon into his epic.

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(6) The author and the audience:

The audience, to whom Homer presented episodes

Opuntie, Santa Cruz, Galapagos
Opuntie, Santa Cruz, Galapagos

from the Iliad as a lecture or on festive occasions, was as mixed as the epic is multi-layered.

 

The outward epic narrative was understandable to the general public, educated citizens and political decision-makers, and the lecture was an event that created cultural identity.

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234

When the Assyrian rulers withdrew from Cilicia between 650 and 630 B.C.,

Kandelaberkaktus, Santa Cruz, Galapagos
Kandelaberkaktus, Santa Cruz, Galapagos

Homer and his fellow scribes became unemployed. They cultivated the art of poetry and gave lessons, preferably in astronomy, in order to turn hungry landlubbers into navigation-safe sailors.

 

The excellent astronomical star charts of the Assyrians, with whose help Thales of Miletus could later predict the solar eclipse of 28 May 585 B.C., helped them to learn astronomy.

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233

(5) Heroes and Stars:

Back to Schrott’s thesis about Homer as a cultural accountant:

Tiquila, Bartolomé, Galapagos
Tiquila, Bartolomé, Galapagos

Schrott is correct in his view that the Greeks of the 7th century are not yet a cultural nation that only want to enjoy Homer’s battle descriptions. That’s why he rightly mistrusts the idea of Homer as a poet of the spirit of beauty.

 

The question is: Why did the Greeks still love their Homer so hot and intimately from the very beginning? Only because of the prophecy of future Greek greatness?

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