Saturday, 30 April 2011

About the Epic of Gilgamesh Poem
The oldest extant Poem, Very interesting

Anonymous; story was crafted and reworked by various Mesopotamian cultures including the Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians, and Assyrians; original story likely dates back to around the time of King Gilgamesh of Uruk (c. 2,700 BC); 1,600 BC recension by Babylonian priest-exorcist, Sîn-leqi-unninni

Mesopotamian epic poem was originally written down by the Sumerians around 2,000 BC
Language & Form 
Epic poem. Original in the Sumerian language, written down with cuneiform characters on clay tablets found at Nippúr in Mesopotamia and dating back to around 2,000 BC; Synthetic Standard Version based on the 12-tablet Akkadian version of the poem found in the 25,000-tablet library of the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal (668-627 BC) at Niniveh. Recommended English translation: Nancy K. Sandars.

The Epic of Gilgamesh is the story of King Gilgamesh of Uruk who oppresses his people. As punishment, the gods send him a companion, Enkidu, who is his mirror image and becomes his good friend. Together, Gilgamesh and Enkidu defy the gods by killing the giant Humbaba, cutting down the sacred cedar forest which he guards, and killing the Bull of Heaven. Enkidu has ominous dreams of the destiny of tyrants who become slaves in the House of Death. Enkidu finally dies of an illness sent by the gods. Horrified by Enkidu's death and the prospect of his own demise, Gilgamesh undertakes a quest for immortality which brings him to the abode of Utnapishtim, a virtuous man who obeys the gods and was saved by them from the Great Flood. Utnapishtim puts Gilgamesh to various tests which he fails and eventually sends him away, assuring him that he cannot escape death. A humbled Gilgamesh returns to Uruk and orders his story to be inscribed in stone.


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