Monday, January 31, 2022

The Epic of Gilgamesh

THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH (Mesopotamian, c. 2100 or 700 BCE)

The earliest epic known to literature is also a cracking good "buddy movie": Mesopotamian gods pair up arrogant King Gilgamesh with a "wild man" named Enkidu. Together they slay monsters--and offend the gods, leading to Enkidu's untimely death. This sends grieving Gil off on a search for immortality, which he finds--and loses again. In the end, he learns the importance of the best of human values.

  • Gilgamesh was likely a real king who ruled a Mesopotamian city in the 3rd millennium BCE.
  • His city was named "Uruk," from which we get the name of the modern country: Iraq.
  • The legends began shaping up around 2100 BCE, but weren't written down until around 1400 years later.


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