The Epic of Gilgamesh
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|Author||: Maureen Gallery Kovacs|
|Editor||: Stanford University Press|
Since the discovery over one hundred years ago of a body of Mesopotamian poetry preserved on clay tablets, what has come to be known as the Epic of Gilgamesh has been considered a masterpiece of ancient literature. It recounts the deeds of a hero-king of ancient Mesopotamia, following him through adventures and encounters with men and gods alike. Yet the central concerns of the Epic lie deeper than the lively and exotic story line: they revolve around a man’s eternal struggle with the limitations of human nature, and encompass the basic human feelings of lonliness, friendship, love, loss, revenge, and the fear of oblivion of death. These themes are developed in a distinctly Mesopotamian idiom, to be sure, but with a sensitivity and intensity that touch the modern reader across the chasm of three thousand years. This translation presents the Epic to the general reader in a clear narrative.
|Author||: Danny P. Jackson|
|Editor||: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers|
-- 15 original woodcut illustrations -- 18 photographs of ancient artifacts This edition aims to reanimate the story of Gilgamesh and Enkidu for modern readers. The poetic rendition brings words to life through indelible images. A learned and lucid historical and cultural introduction fills in background for the narrative. An interpretative essay reviews the themes of Gilgamesh and their echoes in other literature. The total is a new edition that delights, informs, and stimulates readers to a new appreciation of this age-old tale.
|Author||: Morris Jastrow,Albert T. Clay|
|Editor||: Book Tree|
This epic poem is the oldest known to exist in history, predating Homer's Iliad by about 1500 years. Gilgamesh, the hero, discovers he has godly blood, so sets out on a journey to the land of the gods in an attempt to gain entry. It is of ancient Sumerian origin, from the land called Mesopotamia. It is an important work for those studying ancient literature, history and mythology. This Babylonian version is one of the oldest known, if not the oldest. Later renditions are more common and seem to embellish the story, so this work is important for serious researchers. From the standpoint of literature alone, it is also an interesting tale that is enjoyable to read.
|Author||: Stephen Langdon|
|Editor||: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform|
The Epic of Gilgamish A Fragment of the Gilgamish Legend in Old-Babylonian Cuneiform by Stephen Langdon In the year 1914 the University Museum secured by purchase a large six column tablet nearly complete, carrying originally, according to the scribal note, 240 lines of text. The contents supply the South Babylonian version of the second book of the epic sa nagba imuru, "He who has seen all things," commonly referred to as the Epic of Gilgamish. The tablet is said to have been found at Senkere, ancient Larsa near Warka, modern Arabic name for and vulgar descendant of the ancient name Uruk, the Biblical Erech mentioned in Genesis X. 10. We are delighted to publish this classic book as part of our extensive Classic Library collection. Many of the books in our collection have been out of print for decades, and therefore have not been accessible to the general public. The aim of our publishing program is to facilitate rapid access to this vast reservoir of literature, and our view is that this is a significant literary work, which deserves to be brought back into print after many decades. The contents of the vast majority of titles in the Classic Library have been scanned from the original works. To ensure a high quality product, each title has been meticulously hand curated by our staff. Our philosophy has been guided by a desire to provide the reader with a book that is as close as possible to ownership of the original work. We hope that you will enjoy this wonderful classic work, and that for you it becomes an enriching experience.
|Author||: Tzvi Abusch|
|Editor||: Penn State Press|
The deeds and struggles of Gilgamesh, legendary king of the city-state Uruk in the land of Sumer, have fascinated readers for millennia. They are preserved primarily in the Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the most well-known pieces of Mesopotamian literature. Studying the text draws us into an orbit that is engaging and thrilling, for it is a work of fantasy and legend that addresses some of the very existential issues with which contemporary readers still grapple. We experience the excitement of trying to penetrate the mind-set of another civilization, an ancient one—in this instance, a civilization that ultimately gave rise to our own. The studies gathered here all demonstrate Tzvi Abusch’s approach to ancient literature: to make use of the tools of literary, structural, and critical analysis in service of exploring the personal and psychological dimensions of the narration. The author focuses especially on the encounters between males and females in the story. The essays are not only instructive for understanding the Epic of Gilgamesh, they also serve as exemplary studies of ancient literature with a view to investigating streams of commonality between ancient times and ours
|Author||: Eren Sarı|
Gilgamesh is the semi-mythic King of Uruk best known from The Epic of Gilgamesh (written c. 2150-1400 BCE) the great Sumerian/Babylonian poetic work which pre-dates Homer’s writing by 1500 years and, therefore, stands as the oldest piece of epic western literature. Gilgamesh’s father was the Priest-King Lugalbanda (who is featured in two poems concerning his magical abilities which pre-date Gilgamesh) and his mother the goddess Ninsun (the Holy Mother and Great Queen) and, accordingly, Gilgamesh was a demi-god who was said to have lived an exceptionally long life (The Sumerian King List records his reign as 126 years) and to be possessed of super-human strength. Known as 'Bilgames’ in the Sumerian, 'Gilgamos’ in Greek, and associated closely with the figure of Dumuzi from the Sumerian poem The Descent of Inanna, Gilgamesh is widely accepted as the historical 5th king of Uruk whose influence was so profound that myths of his divine status grew up around his deeds and finally culminated in the tales found in The Epic of Gilgamesh. In the Sumerian tale of Inanna and the Huluppu Tree, in which the goddess Inanna plants a troublesome tree in her garden and appeals to her family for help with it, Gilgamesh appears as her loyal brother who comes to her aid. In this story, Inanna (the goddess of love and war and one of the most powerful and popular of Mesopotamian deities) plants a tree in her garden with the hope of one day making a chair and bed from it. The tree becomes infested, however, by a snake at its roots, a female demon (lilitu) in its center, and an Anzu bird in its branches. No matter what, Inanna cannot rid herself of the pests and so appeals to her brother, Utu, god of the sun, for help. Utu refuses but her plea is heard by Gilgamesh who comes, heavily armed, and kills the snake. The demon and Anzu bird then flee and Gilgamesh, after taking the branches for himself, presents the trunk to Inanna to build her bed and chair from. This is thought to be the first appearance of Gilgamesh in heroic poetry and the fact that he rescues a powerful and potent goddess from a difficult situation shows the high regard in which he was held even early on.The historical king was eventually accorded completely divine status as a god. He was seen as the brother of Inanna, one of the most popular goddesses, if not the most popular, in all of Mesopotamia. Prayers found inscribed on clay tablets address Gilgamesh in the afterlife as a judge in the Underworld comparable in wisdom to the famous Greek judges of the Underworld, Rhadamanthus, Minos, and Aeacus. GILGAMESH IS WIDELY ACCEPTED AS THE HISTORICAL 5TH KING OF URUK WHOSE INFLUENCE WAS SO PROFOUND THAT MYTHS DEVELOPED OF HIS DIVINE STATUS. In The Epic of Gilgamesh, the great king is thought to be too proud and arrogant by the gods and so they decide to teach him a lesson by sending the wild man, Enkidu, to humble him. Enkidu and Gilgamesh, after a fierce battle in which neither are bested, become friends and embark on adventures together. When Enkidu is struck with death, Gilgamesh falls into a deep grief and, recognizing his own mortality through the death of his friend, questions the meaning of life and the value of human accomplishment in the face of ultimate extinction. Casting away all of his old vanity and pride, Gilgamesh sets out on a quest to find the meaning of life and, finally, some way of defeating death. In doing so, he becomes the first epic hero in world literature. The grief of Gilgamesh, and the questions his friend's death evoke, resonate with every human being who has wrestled with the meaning of life in the face of death. Although Gilgamesh ultimately fails to win immortality in the story, his deeds live on through the written word and, so, does he. Part of Tablet V, the Epic of Gilgamesh Since The Epic of Gilgamesh existed in oral form long before it was written down, there has been much debate over whether the extant tale is more early Sumerian or later Babylonian in cultural influence. The best preserved version of the story comes from the Babylonian writer Shin-Leqi-Unninni (wrote 1300-1000 BCE) who translated, edited, and may have embellised upon, the original story. Regarding this, the Sumerian scholar Samuel Noah Kramer writes: Of the various episodes comprising The Epic of Gilgamesh, several go back to Sumerian prototypes actually involving the hero Gilgamesh. Even in those episodes which lack Sumerian counterparts, most of the individual motifs reflect Sumerian mythic and epic sources. In no case, however, did the Babylonian poets slavishly copy the Sumerian material. They so modified its content and molded its form, in accordance with their own temper and heritage, that only the bare nucleus of the Sumerian original remains recognizable. As for the plot structure of the epic as a whole - the forceful and fateful episodic drama of the restless, adventurous hero and his inevitable disillusionment - it is definitely a Babylonian, rather than a Sumerian, development and achievement. (History Begins at Sumer, 270). Historical evidence for Gilgamesh’s existence is found in inscriptions crediting him with the building of the great walls of Uruk (modern day Warka, Iraq) which, in the story, are the tablets upon which he first records his great deeds and his quest for the meaning of life. There are other references to him by known historical figures of his time (26th century BCE) such as King Enmebaragesi of Kish and, of course, the Sumerian King List and the legends which grew up around his reign. In the present day, Gilgamesh is still spoken of and written about. A German team of Archaeologists claim to have discovered the Tomb of Gilgamesh in April of 2003 CE. Archaeological excavations, conducted through modern technology involving magnetization in and around the old riverbed of the Euphrates, have revealed garden enclosures, specific bulidings, and structures described in The Epic of Gilgamesh including the great king’s tomb. According to legend, Gilgmesh was buried at the bottom of the Euphrates when the waters parted upon his death.
|Author||: John Harris|
The Epic of Gilgamesh is the oldest written chronicle in the world, composed two to three thousand years before Christ. It tells events in the life of a king in an ancient Sumerian city of Mesopotamia.In the tradition of the Greek Iliad or the medieval Beowulf, the heroic central figure is admired for his prowess and power; he is a warrior, whose greatest adventures are here recounted, sometimes fantastic and ultimately magical, as he ventures beyond the bounds of the world. The Epic of Gilgamesh is an artifact of the first civilization, that which is the father and mother of our own civilization. It is like the great-great-great-grandparent whose name you do not know but without whom you would not exist. There are many matters that are not believable to us—monsters, deities, and places that we do not think exist, nor ever existed. Yet we can perceive in Gilgamesh a person like ourselves. This is the story of a man, not a god. We understand him, even if we do not understand or believe all that he does. Gilgamesh is the first literature of mankind to express the human condition.
|Author||: Alexander Heidel|
|Editor||: University of Chicago Press|
Cuneiform records made some three thousand years ago are the basis for this essay on the ideas of death and the afterlife and the story of the flood which were current among the ancient peoples of the Tigro-Euphrates Valley. With the same careful scholarship shown in his previous volume, The Babylonian Genesis, Heidel interprets the famous Gilgamesh Epic and other related Babylonian and Assyrian documents. He compares them with corresponding portions of the Old Testament in order to determine the inherent historical relationship of Hebrew and Mesopotamian ideas.
|Author||: Stephen Mitchell|
|Editor||: Free Press|
An English-language rendering of the world's oldest epic follows the journey of conquest and self-discovery by the king of Uruk, in an edition that includes an introduction that places the story in its historical and cultural context.
|Author||: Jeffrey H. Tigay|
|Editor||: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers|
Special Features- Aims to show how The Gilgamesh Epic developed from its earliest to its latest form- Systematic, step-by-step tracking of the stylistic, thematic, structural, and theological changes in The Gilgamesh Epic- Relation of changes to factors (geographical, political, religious, literary) that may have prompted them- Attempts to identify the sources (biographical, historical, literary, folkloric) of the epic's themes, and to suggest what may have been intended by use of these themes- Extensive bibliography- Indices
|Author||: Michael Schmidt|
|Editor||: Princeton University Press|
Reflections on a lost poem and its rediscovery by contemporary poets Gilgamesh is the most ancient long poem known to exist. It is also the newest classic in the canon of world literature. Lost for centuries to the sands of the Middle East but found again in the 1850s, it is a story of monsters, gods, and cataclysms, and of intimate friendship and love. Acclaimed literary historian Michael Schmidt provides a unique meditation on the rediscovery of Gilgamesh, showing how part of its special fascination is its captivating otherness. He reflects on the work of leading poets such as Charles Olson, Louis Zukofsky, and Yusef Komunyakaa, whose own encounters with the poem are revelatory, and he reads its many translations and editions to bring it vividly to life for today's readers.
|Author||: Benjamin R. Foster|
|Editor||: W. W. Norton|
This Norton Critical Edition includes:An expanded translation from the Akkadian by Benjamin R. Foster based on new discoveries, adding lines throughout the world's oldest epic masterpiece.Benjamin R. Foster's full introduction and expanded explanatory annotations.Eleven illustrations.Analogues from the Sumerian and Hittite narrative traditions along with "The Gilgamesh Letter," a parody of the epic enjoyed by Mesopotamian schoolchildren during the first millennium BCE.Essays by Thorkild Jacobsen, William L. Moran, Susan Ackerman, and Andrew R. George, and a poem by Hillary Major.A Glossary of Proper Names and a Selected Bibliography.
The Epic of Gilgamesh the Babylonian Epic Poem and Other Texts in Akkadian and Sumerian Translated and with an Introduction by Andrew George
Originally the work of an anonymous Babylonian poet who lived more than 3,700 years ago, The Epic of Gilgamesh tells of the heroic exploits of the ruler of the walled city of Uruk. Not content with the immortality conveyed by the renown of his great deeds, Gilgamesh journeys to the ends of the earth and beyond in his search for eternal life, encountering the wise man Utanapishti, who relates the story of a great flood that swept the earth. This episode and several others in the epic anticipate stories in the Bible and in Homer, to the great interest of biblical and classical scholars. Told with intense feeling and imagination, this masterful tale of love and friendship, duty and death, is more than an object of scholarly concern; it is a vital rendering of universal themes that resonate across the ages and is considered the world's first truly great work of literature.
|Author||: Morris Jastrow,Albert T. Clay|
The Epic of Gilgamesh - An Old Babylonian Version - With Yale Tablet Illustrations. Complete Translated Edition. The Gilgamesh Epic is the most notable literary product of Babylonia as yet discovered in the mounds of Mesopotamia. It recounts the exploits and adventures of a favorite hero, and in its final form covers twelve tablets, each tablet consisting of six columns (three on the obverse and three on the reverse) of about 50 lines for each column, or a total of about 3600 lines. Of this total, however, barely more than one-half has been found among the remains of the great collection of cuneiform tablets gathered by King Ashurbanapal (668–626 B.C.) in his palace at Nineveh, and discovered by Layard in 18541 in the course of his excavations of the mound Kouyunjik (opposite Mosul). The fragments of the epic painfully gathered—chiefly by George Smith—from the circa 30,000 tablets and bits of tablets brought to the British Museum were published in model form by Professor Paul Haupt;2 and that edition still remains the primary source for our study of the Epic.
|Author||: Theodore Ziolkowski|
|Editor||: Cornell University Press|
The world's oldest work of literature, the Epic of Gilgamesh recounts the adventures of the semimythical Sumerian king of Uruk and his ultimately futile quest for immortality after the death of his friend and companion, Enkidu, a wildman sent by the gods. Gilgamesh was deified by the Sumerians around 2500 BCE, and his tale as we know it today was codified in cuneiform tablets around 1750 BCE and continued to influence ancient cultures—whether in specific incidents like a world-consuming flood or in its quest structure—into Roman times. The epic was, however, largely forgotten, until the cuneiform tablets were rediscovered in 1872 in the British Museum's collection of recently unearthed Mesopotamian artifacts. In the decades that followed its translation into modern languages, the Epic of Gilgamesh has become a point of reference throughout Western culture. In Gilgamesh among Us, Theodore Ziolkowski explores the surprising legacy of the poem and its hero, as well as the epic’s continuing influence in modern letters and arts. This influence extends from Carl Gustav Jung and Rainer Maria Rilke's early embrace of the epic's significance—"Gilgamesh is tremendous!" Rilke wrote to his publisher's wife after reading it—to its appropriation since World War II in contexts as disparate as operas and paintings, the poetry of Charles Olson and Louis Zukofsky, novels by John Gardner and Philip Roth, and episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Xena: Warrior Princess. Ziolkowski sees fascination with Gilgamesh as a reflection of eternal spiritual values—love, friendship, courage, and the fear and acceptance of death. Noted writers, musicians, and artists from Sweden to Spain, from the United States to Australia, have adapted the story in ways that meet the social and artistic trends of the times. The spirit of this capacious hero has absorbed the losses felt in the immediate postwar period and been infused with the excitement and optimism of movements for gay rights, feminism, and environmental consciousness. Gilgamesh is at once a seismograph of shifts in Western history and culture and a testament to the verities and values of the ancient epic.
|Author||: Herbert Mason|
|Editor||: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt|
Presents a verse narrative of the ancient Babylonian epic about love, death, loss, heroes, and friendship, including an historical essay on the original poem.