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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