The Epic of Gilgamesh
Since the discovery over one hundred years ago of a body of Mesopotamian poetry preserved on clay tablets, what has come to be known as the Epic of Gilgamesh has been considered a masterpiece of ancient literature. It recounts the deeds of a hero-king of ancient Mesopotamia, following him through adventures and encounters with men and gods alike. Yet the central concerns of the Epic lie deeper than the lively and exotic story line: they revolve around a man’s eternal struggle with the limitations of human nature, and encompass the basic human feelings of lonliness, friendship, love, loss, revenge, and the fear of oblivion of death. These themes are developed in a distinctly Mesopotamian idiom, to be sure, but with a sensitivity and intensity that touch the modern reader across the chasm of three thousand years. This translation presents the Epic to the general reader in a clear narrative.
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Mesopotamian Languages and Writing
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Agga Akkadian ancient animals Anunnaki Aruru Atrahasis boat Bull of Heaven Cedar Forest century B.C. cubits cuneiform curse deeds dream Enkidu Enkidu spoke Enlil Epic of Gilgamesh Ereshkigal eternal Euphrates face fate father favorable message ferryman Flood Story fragmentary Gilga Gilgamesh spoke goddess gods harlot Hittite Humbaba Huwawa Ishtar journey killed the Bull king land lapis lazuli leagues he traveled leagues they broke leagues they stopped lines are missing lion literature living Lugalbanda mankind Mesopotamian message from Shamash meteorite Middle Babylonian mighty mother mountain mourn Myth of Atrahasis Neo-Assyrian Netherworld night Nimush Ninsun Ninurta Nippur Old Babylonian version Rimat-Ninsun river roam the wilderness saying scorpion-being Shamash Shamhat Shulgi sleep spoke to Gilgamesh Standard Version stone things Sumer Sumerian epics Tablet XII tavern-keeper Temple Tigay translation trapper Urshanabi Uruk Uruk-Haven Utanapishtim walk Waters of Death wife wild bull word zikru