Your idea was to have something to console you for our painful separation, and at the same time to acquire some knowledge, even if vague and imperfect, of the works which you had not yet read in our company. We believe that their number is exactly Accordingly, regarding the fulfilment of your request as a sacred obligation, we engaged a secretary, and set down all the summaries we could recollect.
History[ edit ] Ancient Assyrian statue currently in the Louvrepossibly 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 Timesfront page,  The Epic of Gilgamesh was discovered by Austen Henry LayardHormuzd Rassamand W.
The first modern translation was published in the early s by George Smith. The most definitive modern translation is a two-volume critical work by Andrew Georgepublished by Oxford University Press in A book review by the Cambridge scholar, Eleanor Robson, claims that George's is the most significant critical work on Gilgamesh in the last 70 years.
InStephen 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 Akkadian version, others with unrelated stories.
Standard Akkadian version[ edit ] The standard version was discovered by Hormuzd Rassam in the library of Ashurbanipal in Nineveh in It was written in a dialect of Akkadian that was used for literary purposes.
This version was compiled by Sin-liqe-unninni sometime between and BC from earlier texts. The standard Akkadian version has different opening words, or incipitfrom the older version.
The story of Utnapishtim, the hero of the flood mythcan also be found in the Babylonian Epic of Atrahasis. The 12th tablet is a sequel to the original 11, and was probably added at a later date. It bears little relation to the well-crafted tablet epic; the lines at the beginning of the first tablet are quoted at the end of the 11th tablet, giving it circularity and finality.
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.
Content of the standard version tablets[ edit ] This summary is based on Andrew George 's translation. Gilgamesh, two-thirds god and one-third man, is oppressing his people, who cry out to the gods for help. For the young women of Uruk this oppression takes the form of a droit du seigneuror "lord's right", to sleep with brides on their wedding night.
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. The gods respond to the people's pleas by creating an equal to Gilgamesh who will be able to stop his oppression.
This is the primitive man, Enkiduwho 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 Shamhata temple prostitutehis first step towards being tamed.
After six days and seven nights or two weeks, according to more recent scholarship  of lovemaking and teaching Enkidu about the ways of civilization, she takes Enkidu to a shepherd's camp to learn how to be civilized. Gilgamesh, meanwhile, has been having dreams about the imminent arrival of a beloved new companion and asks his mother, Ninsunto help interpret these dreams.
Tablet two[ edit ] Shamhat brings Enkidu to the shepherds' camp, where he is introduced to a human diet and becomes the night watchman. Learning from a passing stranger about Gilgamesh's treatment of new brides, Enkidu is incensed and travels to Uruk to intervene at a wedding.
When Gilgamesh attempts to visit the wedding chamber, Enkidu blocks his way, and they fight. After a fierce battle, Enkidu acknowledges Gilgamesh's superior strength and they become friends.
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 Ninsunwho 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.
Humbabathe 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.Atticus tells Jem and Scout that it is wrong to kill a mockingbird; Miss Maudie explains later that this is because mockingbirds are songbirds which do nothing but give pleasure to people.
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The Epic of Gilgamesh (/ ˈ ɡ ɪ l ɡ ə m ɛ ʃ /) is an epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia that is often regarded as the earliest surviving great work of literature.
The literary history of Gilgamesh begins with five Sumerian poems about Bilgamesh (Sumerian for "Gilgamesh"), king of Uruk, dating from the Third Dynasty of Ur (c. BC).These independent stories were later used as source.