Between gods and animals: becoming human in the Gilgamesh epic

To remember

  • The Epic of Gilgamesh = Babylonian poem composed in ancient Iraq, millennia before Homer = tells story of Gilgamesh, king of the city of Uruk.
  • gods create a friend for him > Enkidu, wild man,
  • woman Shamhat seduces Enkidu=> transforming Enkidu from beast to man => strength diminished + intellect expanded =>able to think + speak like a human being.
  • Enkidu goes to Uruk to confront Gilgamesh’s abuse of power > wrestle with one another => form passionate friendship.
  • Gilgamesh’s beginning number of different editions <= began as cycle of stories in  Sumerian language > collected + translated into single epic in Akkadian language. > earliest version of the epic written in dialect Old Babylonian > revised + updated in Standard Babylonian dialect
  • Gilgamesh story comes to us as a tapestry of shards, pieced together by philologists to create a roughly coherent narrative
  • newest discovery = tiny fragment lain overlooked in museum archive of Cornell University in New York, identified by Alexandra Kleinerman & Alhena Gadotti + published by Andrew George in 2018. => tablet seemed to preserve parts of both Old Babylonian + Standard Babylonian version, = two scenes not identical,
  • Gods depicted as opposite of animals = omnipotent + immortal
  • human placed somewhere in the middle = not omnipotent, but capable of

+

Preceding

Stories of the beginnings, and one Main book composed of four major sections

Gilgamesh

++

Additional reading

  1. Genesis Among the Creation Myths
  2. The flood, floods and mythic flood stories 2 Mythic theme 1 God or gods warning
  3. The flood, floods and mythic flood stories 3 Mythic theme 2 Hebrew story of the flood
  4. The flood, floods and mythic flood stories 6 European myths
  5. The flood, floods and mythic flood stories 8 South America

4 thoughts on “Between gods and animals: becoming human in the Gilgamesh epic

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.