The Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic. Methodological Approaches to Intercultural Influences, R. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Preview — gilgamesz, epos o gilgameszu by Unknown.
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History[ edit ] Ancient Assyrian statue currently in the Louvre , possibly representing Gilgamesh Distinct sources exist from over a year timeframe. The earliest Sumerian poems are now generally considered to be distinct stories, rather than parts of a single epic.
Although several revised versions based on new discoveries have been published, the epic remains incomplete. For the present the orthodox people are in great delight, and are very much prepossessed by the corroboration which it affords to Biblical history.
It is possible, however, as has been pointed out, that the Chaldean inscription, if genuine, may be regarded as a confirmation of the statement that there are various traditions of the deluge apart from the Biblical one, which is perhaps legendary like the rest The New York Times , front page,  Some 15, fragments of Assyrian cuneiform tablets were discovered in the Library of Ashurbanipal in Nineveh by Austen Henry Layard , his assistant Hormuzd Rassam , and W.
Loftus in the early s. Campbell Thompson updated both of their work in Over the next two decades, Samuel Noah Kramer reassembled the Sumerian poems. In , Stephen Mitchell supplied a controversial version that takes many liberties with the text and includes modernized allusions and commentary relating to the Iraq War of Five earlier Sumerian poems about Gilgamesh have been partially recovered, some with primitive versions of specific episodes in the Babylonian version, others with unrelated stories.
Standard Babylonian version[ edit ] The Standard Babylonian version was discovered by Hormuzd Rassam in the library of Ashurbanipal in Nineveh in This version was compiled by Sin-liqe-unninni sometime between and BC from earlier texts. The story of Utnapishtim, the hero of the flood myth , can also be found in the Babylonian epic of Atra-Hasis.
Tablet 12 is a near copy of an earlier Sumerian tale, a prequel, in which Gilgamesh sends Enkidu to retrieve some objects of his from the Underworld, and he returns in the form of a spirit to relate the nature of the Underworld to Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh, two-thirds god and one-third man, is oppressing his people, who cry out to the gods for help.
For the young men the tablet is damaged at this point it is conjectured that Gilgamesh exhausts them through games, tests of strength, or perhaps forced labour on building projects. This is the primitive man, Enkidu , who is covered in hair and lives in the wild with the animals. He is spotted by a trapper, whose livelihood is being ruined because Enkidu is uprooting his traps.
The trapper tells the sun-god Shamash about the man, and it is arranged for Enkidu to be seduced by Shamhat , a temple prostitute , his first step towards being tamed. Gilgamesh, meanwhile, has been having dreams about the imminent arrival of a beloved new companion and asks his mother, Ninsun , to help interpret these dreams. When Gilgamesh attempts to visit the wedding chamber, Enkidu blocks his way, and they fight.
Gilgamesh proposes a journey to the Cedar Forest to slay the monstrous demi-god Humbaba in order to gain fame and renown. Despite warnings from Enkidu and the council of elders, Gilgamesh is not deterred. Tablet three[ edit ] The elders give Gilgamesh advice for his journey. Gilgamesh visits his mother, the goddess Ninsun , who seeks the support and protection of the sun-god Shamash for their adventure. Ninsun adopts Enkidu as her son, and Gilgamesh leaves instructions for the governance of Uruk in his absence.
Tablet four[ edit ] Gilgamesh and Enkidu journey to the Cedar Forest. Every few days they camp on a mountain, and perform a dream ritual. Gilgamesh has five terrifying dreams about falling mountains, thunderstorms, wild bulls, and a thunderbird that breathes fire. Despite similarities between his dream figures and earlier descriptions of Humbaba, Enkidu interprets these dreams as good omens, and denies that the frightening images represent the forest guardian.
As they approach the cedar mountain, they hear Humbaba bellowing, and have to encourage each other not to be afraid. It dates back to the old Babylonian period, — BC and is currently housed in the Sulaymaniyah Museum, Iraq The heroes enter the cedar forest. Humbaba , the guardian of the Cedar Forest, insults and threatens them. He accuses Enkidu of betrayal, and vows to disembowel Gilgamesh and feed his flesh to the birds.
Gilgamesh is afraid, but with some encouraging words from Enkidu the battle commences. The mountains quake with the tumult and the sky turns black. The god Shamash sends 13 winds to bind Humbaba, and he is captured. Humbaba pleads for his life, and Gilgamesh pities him. He offers to make Gilgamesh king of the forest, to cut the trees for him, and to be his slave.
Enkidu, however, argues that Gilgamesh should kill Humbaba to establish his reputation forever. Humbaba curses them both and Gilgamesh dispatches him with a blow to the neck, as well as killing his seven sons. They build a raft and return home along the Euphrates with the giant tree and possibly the head of Humbaba. Tablet six[ edit ] Gilgamesh rejects the advances of the goddess Ishtar because of her mistreatment of previous lovers like Dumuzi.
Ishtar asks her father Anu to send the Bull of Heaven to avenge her. When Anu rejects her complaints, Ishtar threatens to raise the dead who will "outnumber the living" and "devour them". Anu becomes frightened, and gives in to her. Ishtar leads the Bull of Heaven to Uruk, and it causes widespread devastation. It lowers the level of the Euphrates river, and dries up the marshes.
It opens up huge pits that swallow men. Without any divine assistance, Enkidu and Gilgamesh attack and slay it, and offer up its heart to Shamash.
When Ishtar cries out, Enkidu hurls one of the hindquarters of the bull at her. The city of Uruk celebrates, but Enkidu has an ominous dream about his future failure. Despite the protestations of Shamash, Enkidu is marked for death. He also curses the trapper and Shamhat for removing him from the wild.
Shamash reminds Enkidu of how Shamhat fed and clothed him, and introduced him to Gilgamesh. Shamash tells him that Gilgamesh will bestow great honors upon him at his funeral, and will wander into the wild consumed with grief. Enkidu regrets his curses and blesses Shamhat instead. In a second dream, however, he sees himself being taken captive to the Netherworld by a terrifying Angel of Death.
The underworld is a "house of dust" and darkness whose inhabitants eat clay, and are clothed in bird feathers, supervised by terrifying beings. Finally, after a lament that he could not meet a heroic death in battle, he dies. Tablet eight[ edit ] Gilgamesh delivers a lament for Enkidu, in which he calls upon mountains, forests, fields, rivers, wild animals, and all of Uruk to mourn for his friend. Recalling their adventures together, Gilgamesh tears at his hair and clothes in grief.
He commissions a funerary statue, and provides grave gifts from his treasury to ensure that Enkidu has a favourable reception in the realm of the dead. A great banquet is held where the treasures are offered to the gods of the Netherworld. Just before a break in the text there is a suggestion that a river is being dammed, indicating a burial in a river bed, as in the corresponding Sumerian poem, The Death of Gilgamesh. Tablet nine[ edit ] Tablet nine opens with Gilgamesh roaming the wild wearing animal skins, grieving for Enkidu.
Having now become fearful of his own death, he decides to seek Utnapishtim "the Faraway" , and learn the secret of eternal life. Among the few survivors of the Great Flood, Utnapishtim and his wife are the only humans to have been granted immortality by the gods. Gilgamesh crosses a mountain pass at night and encounters a pride of lions. Before sleeping he prays for protection to the moon god Sin. Then, waking from an encouraging dream, he kills the lions and uses their skins for clothing.
After a long and perilous journey, Gilgamesh arrives at the twin peaks of Mount Mashu at the end of the earth. He comes across a tunnel, which no man has ever entered, guarded by two scorpion monsters , who appear to be a married couple.
In complete darkness he follows the road for 12 "double hours", managing to complete the trip before the Sun catches up with him. He arrives at the Garden of the gods, a paradise full of jewel-laden trees. Tablet ten[ edit ] Gilgamesh meets alewife Siduri , who assumes that he is a murderer or thief because of his disheveled appearance. Gilgamesh tells her about the purpose of his journey. She attempts to dissuade him from his quest, but sends him to Urshanabi the ferryman, who will help him cross the sea to Utnapishtim.
Gilgamesh, out of spontaneous rage, destroys the stone charms that Urshanabi keeps with him. He tells him his story, but when he asks for his help, Urshanabi informs him that he has just destroyed the objects that can help them cross the Waters of Death, which are deadly to the touch.
Urshanabi instructs Gilgamesh to cut down trees and fashion them into punting poles. When they reach the island where Utnapishtim lives, Gilgamesh recounts his story, asking him for his help. See also: Gilgamesh flood myth George Smith, the man who transliterated and read the so-called "Babylonian Flood Story" of Tablet XI Gilgamesh observes that Utnapishtim seems no different from himself, and asks him how he obtained his immortality.
Utnapishtim explains that the gods decided to send a great flood. To save Utnapishtim the god Ea told him to build a boat. He gave him precise dimensions, and it was sealed with pitch and bitumen. His entire family went aboard together with his craftsmen and "all the animals of the field". A violent storm then arose which caused the terrified gods to retreat to the heavens. Ishtar lamented the wholesale destruction of humanity, and the other gods wept beside her.
The storm lasted six days and nights, after which "all the human beings turned to clay". Utnapishtim weeps when he sees the destruction. His boat lodges on a mountain, and he releases a dove, a swallow, and a raven. When the raven fails to return, he opens the ark and frees its inhabitants. Utnapishtim offers a sacrifice to the gods, who smell the sweet savor and gather around. Ishtar vows that just as she will never forget the brilliant necklace that hangs around her neck, she will always remember this time.
When Enlil arrives, angry that there are survivors, she condemns him for instigating the flood. Ea also castigates him for sending a disproportionate punishment.
Enlil blesses Utnapishtim and his wife, and rewards them with eternal life. This account largely matches the flood story that concludes the Epic of Atra-Hasis.
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