Description : Gilgamesh is the semi-mythic King of Uruk best known from The Epic of Gilgamesh (written c. 2150-1400 BCE) the great Sumerian/Babylonian poetic work which pre-dates Homer’s writing by 1500 years and, therefore, stands as the oldest piece of epic western literature. Gilgamesh’s father was the Priest-King Lugalbanda (who is featured in two poems concerning his magical abilities which pre-date Gilgamesh) and his mother the goddess Ninsun (the Holy Mother and Great Queen) and, accordingly, Gilgamesh was a demi-god who was said to have lived an exceptionally long life (The Sumerian King List records his reign as 126 years) and to be possessed of super-human strength. Known as 'Bilgames’ in the Sumerian, 'Gilgamos’ in Greek, and associated closely with the figure of Dumuzi from the Sumerian poem The Descent of Inanna, Gilgamesh is widely accepted as the historical 5th king of Uruk whose influence was so profound that myths of his divine status grew up around his deeds and finally culminated in the tales found in The Epic of Gilgamesh. In the Sumerian tale of Inanna and the Huluppu Tree, in which the goddess Inanna plants a troublesome tree in her garden and appeals to her family for help with it, Gilgamesh appears as her loyal brother who comes to her aid. In this story, Inanna (the goddess of love and war and one of the most powerful and popular of Mesopotamian deities) plants a tree in her garden with the hope of one day making a chair and bed from it. The tree becomes infested, however, by a snake at its roots, a female demon (lilitu) in its center, and an Anzu bird in its branches. No matter what, Inanna cannot rid herself of the pests and so appeals to her brother, Utu, god of the sun, for help. Utu refuses but her plea is heard by Gilgamesh who comes, heavily armed, and kills the snake. The demon and Anzu bird then flee and Gilgamesh, after taking the branches for himself, presents the trunk to Inanna to build her bed and chair from. This is thought to be the first appearance of Gilgamesh in heroic poetry and the fact that he rescues a powerful and potent goddess from a difficult situation shows the high regard in which he was held even early on.The historical king was eventually accorded completely divine status as a god. He was seen as the brother of Inanna, one of the most popular goddesses, if not the most popular, in all of Mesopotamia. Prayers found inscribed on clay tablets address Gilgamesh in the afterlife as a judge in the Underworld comparable in wisdom to the famous Greek judges of the Underworld, Rhadamanthus, Minos, and Aeacus. GILGAMESH IS WIDELY ACCEPTED AS THE HISTORICAL 5TH KING OF URUK WHOSE INFLUENCE WAS SO PROFOUND THAT MYTHS DEVELOPED OF HIS DIVINE STATUS. In The Epic of Gilgamesh, the great king is thought to be too proud and arrogant by the gods and so they decide to teach him a lesson by sending the wild man, Enkidu, to humble him. Enkidu and Gilgamesh, after a fierce battle in which neither are bested, become friends and embark on adventures together. When Enkidu is struck with death, Gilgamesh falls into a deep grief and, recognizing his own mortality through the death of his friend, questions the meaning of life and the value of human accomplishment in the face of ultimate extinction. Casting away all of his old vanity and pride, Gilgamesh sets out on a quest to find the meaning of life and, finally, some way of defeating death. In doing so, he becomes the first epic hero in world literature. The grief of Gilgamesh, and the questions his friend's death evoke, resonate with every human being who has wrestled with the meaning of life in the face of death. Although Gilgamesh ultimately fails to win immortality in the story, his deeds live on through the written word and, so, does he. Part of Tablet V, the Epic of Gilgamesh Since The Epic of Gilgamesh existed in oral form long before it was written down, there has been much debate over whether the extant tale is more early Sumerian or later Babylonian in cultural influence. The best preserved version of the story comes from the Babylonian writer Shin-Leqi-Unninni (wrote 1300-1000 BCE) who translated, edited, and may have embellised upon, the original story. Regarding this, the Sumerian scholar Samuel Noah Kramer writes: Of the various episodes comprising The Epic of Gilgamesh, several go back to Sumerian prototypes actually involving the hero Gilgamesh. Even in those episodes which lack Sumerian counterparts, most of the individual motifs reflect Sumerian mythic and epic sources. In no case, however, did the Babylonian poets slavishly copy the Sumerian material. They so modified its content and molded its form, in accordance with their own temper and heritage, that only the bare nucleus of the Sumerian original remains recognizable. As for the plot structure of the epic as a whole - the forceful and fateful episodic drama of the restless, adventurous hero and his inevitable disillusionment - it is definitely a Babylonian, rather than a Sumerian, development and achievement. (History Begins at Sumer, 270). Historical evidence for Gilgamesh’s existence is found in inscriptions crediting him with the building of the great walls of Uruk (modern day Warka, Iraq) which, in the story, are the tablets upon which he first records his great deeds and his quest for the meaning of life. There are other references to him by known historical figures of his time (26th century BCE) such as King Enmebaragesi of Kish and, of course, the Sumerian King List and the legends which grew up around his reign. In the present day, Gilgamesh is still spoken of and written about. A German team of Archaeologists claim to have discovered the Tomb of Gilgamesh in April of 2003 CE. Archaeological excavations, conducted through modern technology involving magnetization in and around the old riverbed of the Euphrates, have revealed garden enclosures, specific bulidings, and structures described in The Epic of Gilgamesh including the great king’s tomb. According to legend, Gilgmesh was buried at the bottom of the Euphrates when the waters parted upon his death.
Description : The Epic of Gilgamesh is the oldest written chronicle in the world, composed two to three thousand years before Christ. It tells events in the life of a king in an ancient Sumerian city of Mesopotamia.In the tradition of the Greek Iliad or the medieval Beowulf, the heroic central figure is admired for his prowess and power; he is a warrior, whose greatest adventures are here recounted, sometimes fantastic and ultimately magical, as he ventures beyond the bounds of the world. The Epic of Gilgamesh is an artifact of the first civilization, that which is the father and mother of our own civilization. It is like the great-great-great-grandparent whose name you do not know but without whom you would not exist. There are many matters that are not believable to us—monsters, deities, and places that we do not think exist, nor ever existed. Yet we can perceive in Gilgamesh a person like ourselves. This is the story of a man, not a god. We understand him, even if we do not understand or believe all that he does. Gilgamesh is the first literature of mankind to express the human condition.
Description : Gilgamesh, King of Uruk, and his companion Enkidu are the only heroes to have survived from the ancient literature of Babylon, immortalized in this epic poem that dates back to the 3rd millennium BC. Together they journey to the Spring of Youth, defeat the Bull of Heaven and slay the monster Humbaba. When Enkidu dies, Gilgamesh's grief and fear of death are such that they lead him to undertake a quest for eternal life. A timeless tale of morality, tragedy and pure adventure, The Epic of Gilgamesh is a landmark literary exploration of man's search for immortality.
Description : -- 15 original woodcut illustrations -- 18 photographs of ancient artifacts This edition aims to reanimate the story of Gilgamesh and Enkidu for modern readers. The poetic rendition brings words to life through indelible images. A learned and lucid historical and cultural introduction fills in background for the narrative. An interpretative essay reviews the themes of Gilgamesh and their echoes in other literature. The total is a new edition that delights, informs, and stimulates readers to a new appreciation of this age-old tale.
Description : The ancient Sumerian poem The Epic of Gilgamesh is one of the oldest written stories in existence, translated with an introduction by Andrew George in Penguin Classics. Miraculously preserved on clay tablets dating back as much as four thousand years, the poem of Gilgamesh, king of Uruk, is the world's oldest epic, predating Homer by many centuries. The story tells of Gilgamesh's adventures with the wild man Enkidu, and of his arduous journey to the ends of the earth in quest of the Babylonian Noah and the secret of immortality. Alongside its themes of family, friendship and the duties of kings, The Epic of Gilgamesh is, above all, about mankind's eternal struggle with the fear of death. The Babylonian version has been known for over a century, but linguists are still deciphering new fragments in Akkadian and Sumerian. Andrew George's gripping translation brilliantly combines these into a fluid narrative and will long rank as the definitive English Gilgamesh. If you enjoyed The Epic of Gilgamesh, you might like Homer's Iliad, also available in Penguin Classics. 'A masterly new verse translation' The Times 'Andrew George has skilfully bridged the gap between a scholarly re-edition and a popular work' London Review of Books
Description : ‘I am Gilgamesh who seized and killed the Bull of Heaven, I killed the watchman of the cedar forest, I overthrew Humbaba who lived in the forest’ Gilgamesh, King of Uruk, and his companion Enkidu are the only heroes to have survived from the ancient literature of Babylon, immortalized in this epic poem that dates back to the third millennium BC. Together they journey to the Spring of Youth, defeat the Bull of Heaven and slay the monster Humbaba. When Enkidu dies, Gilgamesh’s grief and fear of death are such that they lead him to undertake a quest for eternal life. A timeless tale of morality, tragedy and pure adventure, The Epic of Gilgamesh is a landmark literary exploration of man’s search for immortality. N. K. Sandars’s lucid, accessible translation is prefaced by a detailed introduction that examines the narrative and historical context of the work. In addition, there is a glossary of names and a map of the Ancient Orient. @UrukRockCity All the ladies want to get it on now that I’ve slain the demon. But I must decline. I’m a clean man these days. I just can’t win with women. Before, nailing all the ladies was bad. Now I refuse to seduce, and the Gods send a giant bull to kill me? From Twitterature: The World's Greatest Books in Twenty Tweets or Less
Description : The Epic of Gilgamesh is among the earliest surviving works of literature, with the earliest versions dating from around the Third Dynasty of Ur in early Sumeria (2150-2000 BC). Preserved in Cuneiform, the Epic was retold over the centuries, and the most complete version was discovered in the ruins of the library palace of the seventh century BC Assyrian king, Ashurbanipal. The Epic is most notable as being the obvious source of the biblical story of Noah and the flood. Taken up into Judaism, and then into Christianity, the book of Genesis copies almost every detail of the flood from the earlier Sumerian work. The Epic tells the story of the king of Uruk, Gilgamesh, and his adventures with his erstwhile foe and then friend, Enkidu. Together they journey to the Cedar Mountain to defeat Humbaba, its monstrous guardian, then they kill the Bull of Heaven, which the goddess Ishtar sends to punish Gilgamesh for spurning her advances. As a punishment for these actions, the gods sentence Enkidu to death. Gilgamesh then sets out to avoid his friend's fate and seek the secret to eternal life, a quest in which he is ultimately thwarted. Contains original author's preface and a new overview of the storyline. Contents: Author's Preface Overview of the Storyline of the Epic of Gilgamesh The First Tablet: Of the Tyranny of Gilgamesh, and the Creation of Enkidu The Second Tablet: Of the Meeting of Gilgamesh and Enkidu The Third Tablet: The Expedition to the Forest of Cedars against Humbaba The Fourth Tablet: The Arrival at the Gate of the Forest The Fifth Tablet: Of the Fight with Humbaba The Sixth Tablet: Of the Goddess Ishtar, Who Fell In Love with the Hero after His Exploit against Humbaba The Seventh Tablet: The Death of Enkidu The Eighth Tablet: Of the Mourning of Gilgamesh, and What Came of It The Ninth Tablet: Gilgamesh in Terror of Death Seeks Eternal Life The Tenth Tablet: How Gilgamesh Reached Uta-Napishtim The Eleventh Tablet: The Flood The Twelfth Tablet: Gilgamesh, In Despair, Enquires of the Dead.
Description : 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.
Description : The Epic of Gilgamesh is an epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia. It tells the story Gilgamesh, king of Uruk, and Enkidu, a wild man created by the gods to stop him oppressing the people of Uruk. This Xist Classics edition has been professionally formatted for e-readers with a linked table of contents. This eBook also contains a bonus book club leadership guide and discussion questions. We hope you’ll share this book with your friends, neighbors and colleagues and can’t wait to hear what you have to say about it. Xist Publishing is a digital-first publisher. Xist Publishing creates books for the touchscreen generation and is dedicated to helping everyone develop a lifetime love of reading, no matter what form it takes