The Epic of Gilgamesh Part 1 (Norton Anthology Of World Literature Volume A 3rd ed.)

King Gilgamesh

What fundamental human question does the epic hit
death, friendship, nature, civilization, power, violence, adventure, homecomming, love, sexuality

Where did the epic spread through?
All over the Near East?

When was it translated?
second century BCE

Most widespread Ancient work across cultures and languages

How long did it vanish
2000 years

On what was it recorded?
clay tablets

What did Gilgamesh build for Uruk
city wall (1o kilometers, 900 towers)

What kind of king was Gilgamesh, from where

Uruk, Southern Mesopotamia

When did Gilgamesh rule?
2700 BCE

Where is Mesopotamia
Land round the Tigris/Euphrates rivers in modern Iraq

What was he the judge of?

How much divine, how much human?
2/3 divine 1/3 human

Gilgamesh’s parentage
(Mother = Ninsun (goddess), (wild cow form
Father =) Lugalbanda (human)

Meaning of the name Gilgamesh
“The offspring is a hero”
“The old man is still a young man”

When was the story of Gilgamesh created?
it was created gradually over time (first stories 2100 BCE)

language of the first written form of Gilgamesh
Sumerian (cuneiform)

How did the 3rd dynasty of Ur contribute to the story’s preservation
They claimed to be descended from Gilgamesh.

Had them written down

In what language did it start and then move to?
Started in Sumerian

First old versions written down in Mesopotamian

What is the original sumerian version called?
The Sumerian Poetry Cycle

Who is responsible for the definitive revision

When did he live?

Sin-leqi-unninni (Babylonian Priest)

1200 BCE

What did Sin-leqi-unninni do to the epic?
selected elements from the older versions, added new plot elements, added preface

How is Sin-leqi-unninni’s version divded?
11 chapters, 11 clay tables

What did his Subjects think of him in the beginning?
He was arrogant, oppressive, brutal.

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Synopsis of how Gilgamesh meet his good friend Enkidu
His subjects compained to the gods of his bad ruling

Gods created Enkidu, part human part wild animal (though godlike). Raised by beasts

Causes trouble for humans (breaks traps)

Gilgamesh sends out prostitute Shamhat to lure him into town for food, bread, beer and tame him

Enkidu talks to the guy that tells him about Gilgamesh having sex with brides and wants to confront him

Gilgamesh and he fight then grow to be friends

Synopsis of Gilgamesh/Enkidu’s first adventure
GO to Cedar Forest and slay giant Humbaba guarding the forest for harsh god Enlil

Has blessing from Sun god Shamash

Took home great trees

Engrages Enlil and Humababa curses them

Synopsis of Gilgamesh/Enkidu’s second adventure
Gilgamesh, cleansed from battle/radiant w/ victory attracts Ishtar

Ishtar = goddess of love and warfare

Gilgamesh chastises her for her fickle passion, bad treatment of lovers.

She unleashes Bull of Heaven against them and wreaks Uruk

They kill the bull but gods convene and decide one of them must die because they’ve gone too far and this must be stopped.

Enkidu is chosen because Gilgamesh is king

How long does Gilgamesh mourn Enkidu?

When does he finally accept Enkidu’s death?

7 days/nights

Worm comes out of the corpse

Who is the one human being that has achieved immortality?
Utanapishtim, survivor of the Great Flood

How does Utanapoishtim resemble Noah and the flood?

Who is the reason Gilgamesh get’s the chance at mortality
Utanapishtim’s wife

Does Gilgamesh get immortality?
No, he is afraid to eat the fruit and a snake steals it for itself (gets immortality)

By the end, as he surveys the wall, He is a profoundly changed man

Etymology of the world epic

Long poem narrating important historical/ cosmic events in elevated language/ involving cast of protagonists who straddle human and divine worlds

What schools used Gilgamesh to teach literature

Ways women helped Gilgamesh
Mother convinces Shamash to allow him to kill Humbaba

Wife of scorpion monster persuades him to let Gilgamesh into the jeweled garden

Siduri helps him find Utanapishtim

Utanapishtim’s wife convinces him to give Gilgamesh the plant of rejuvenation

Gilgamesh was wise in all things

sanctuary for the goddess of love and warfare (Ishtar)

How many masters layed Uruk’s wall foundation

How large is Uruk? How is id divded?
3 1/2 sqr/mi

City – 1 sqr/mi

Gardens 1 sqr/mi

Clay pits 1 sqr/mi

temple .5 sqr/mi

Is Gilgamesh i good militarily/looks/ intelligence?
He’s perfect, uncannily perfect

What did Lady of Birth and God of Wisdom do?
Lady of Birth – drew his body’s image

God of Wisdom – brought his stature to perfection

Sky god. Supreme in the pantheon but remote from human affairs.

Uruk had a temple to Anu and Ishtar

What is Gilgamesh often referred to as?
A wild bull

Goddess of birth

What does Anu command Aruru to do?
Make Gilgamesh a partner so he will stop tormenting Uruk

Many have complained

What does Aruru make Enkidu out of?

God of agriculture and war

father of Ninurta

Characteristics of Enkidu
whole body of hair

lush hair (thick as grainfields)

was wild, lived with animals

With what animals did Enkidu live with?

First sighting of Enkidu
A hunter, a trapping-man, saw him 3 days in a row at a watering hole

What does Enkidu do that catches everyone’s attention when he is still wild?
Breaks the hunters traps so other animals do not get caught

Plan set up by the hunter’s father
Hunter will go to Uruk and get Gilgamesh to give him Shamhat (the prostitute).

Hunter will take her to the watering hole and she will get naked to draw him in. This will cause the other animals to reject him

When did the hunter and Shamhat arrive at the watering hole
3 days

Where is Enkidu from?
The steppe, uplands

How long does Shamhat lay with Enkidu
6 days, 7 nights

What happened when Enkidu tried to go back to his Gazelles?
They shyed away. He tried to follow but he was too tired

What did Enkidu gain from laying with Shamhat
reason and expanded understanding

Why does Enkidu decide to go to with Shamhat
He yearns for a friend

god of sun and oracles

supreme god on earth

god of wisdom and magic

(benefits the human race)

Gilgamesh’s first dream
starts of heaven around him

something kept falling on him, couldn’t move it

People formed around it

Gilgamesh falls in love with it, caresses it like a woman,

His mother will make it his partner.

Giglamesh’s second dream
Ax fell in street in Uruk

Everyone gathered around it

Gilgamesh took it, put it in front of his mother, and fell in love with it

She made it his partner

Gilgamesh, after his dreams, wants this friend

Did Shamhat know about Gilgamesh’s first two dreams?
Yep she told Enkidu the dream as Gilgamesh had them.

The two were drawn to each other by love.

They did the sex for 6 days and 7 nights again while going to Giglamesh

What did Enkidu do when they (presumably) got to town?
He ate bread and beer (with Shamhat’s help)

Put on clothes

Became a man

went hunting. Everyone else slept

What does the man that Enkidu calls over while ****ing Shamhat say about Gilgamesh?
He has the right to have sex with wives on their wedding night before they are given to the husbands

Fullfilling the dream
When Enkidu goes out for the wedding everyone crowds around him and does the jostling and stuff around him.

Why did Enkidu and Gilgamesh fight at the wedding?
Well, Essentially at the beginning of the Epic Gilamesh is opressing his people and they plea to the gods for help. The gods send Enkidu, a being that is equal to Gilgamesh and therefor can stop his oppression

The form of the oppression women have to endure is that Gilgamesh has sex with them before their husbands do on their wedding day.

Hearing of this by the passerby after arriving to Uruk Enkidu becomes enraged and confronts Gilgamesh at the wedding

Enkidu put his foot in front of the door

Who wins the fight at the wedding?

They become friends there.

Why does Enkidu become sad after they become friends
presumably because he has no parents

How does Gilgamesh offer to cure Enkidu’s saddness?
Lets go kill something evil (Hubaba)

divine beings were surrounded by awe-inspiring radiance that could be removed like clothes

9 Glories given to Humbaba by Enlil

Who is commanding Humbaba in the ceder forest? Why?

To protect the ceder forest

How does Gilgamesh convince Enkidu to go with him to defeat Humbaba
Gods live forever, humans don’t. Everything we do is basically nothing. Why not do something risky and great? If you die you’ll be rememberd

What was their plan to defeat Humbaba?
Cut down a tree with axes that could cause a whirlwind

Axes weighed 180 lbs each. Blades 120 lbs. Cross guards 30lbs.

They both bore 600 lbs

How far can Humbaba hear?
60 double leagues

How do the elders of Uruk respond when Giglamesh says they are going to go kill Humbaba
You’re young and dumb. This is suicide

“let him return, to be a grave husband”
If you have to, die to save Gilgamesh

medical plant for clensing/magic

How many ties does Ninsun go to the bath house after Gilgamesh tells her they are going to go kill Humbaba

Goddess of dawn and wife of Shamash

How many winds does Ninsun wish to blot out Humbaba’s face?

Who does Ninsun pray to to help Gilgamesh and Enkidu with the fight against Humbaba
Shamash/ his wife Aya

Another name for Ishtar (local form of the goddess)

A netherworld deity, literally “Lord of the Upright Tree”

What does Ninsun do to Enkidu right before they leave to kill Humbaba?
She adopts him

define waterskin
Leather bag to hold water

Gilgamesh’s third dream/ explination of it
Earth was thundering

Night came

Lightning and fire shot up

Spewing death

the fire went out

burning coals fell and turned to ash

you (Enkidu) were born in the steppe, let us discuss it

That part of the tablet is lost. Perhaps Humbaba is the volcanolike explosion that flairs up and dies

Where is Mount Lebanon
along Mediterranean coast of present da Lebanoa

What was the ritual so Gilgamesh could have a dream as they walked to Hambaba
Pour flour as offering, ask mountain for dream

Enkidu make shelter for receiving dream, Gilgamesh may in circle of flour

Enkidu lay in doorway like a net

Gilgamesh sits chin on knee and sleeps

Gilgamesh’s fourth dream/ explination
Lion-headed monster Anzu in sky

Began descending on them

terrifying, maw was fire, breath was death

Anzu stands for Shamash

Gilgamesh’s fifth dream that is only on certain versions/explanations
Gilgamesh grasping wild bull from steppe

Bull bellowed/split the earth

Dust blotted out sky

It crouches/seizes Gilgamesh’s hand/held them

someone pulled him out/stroked his cheek/gave him water

Bull was Shamash, Person that helped him was Lugalbanda, together Giglamesh/Enkidu will accomplish something unheard of together

After the 5th dream a part is lost. What may have happened there?
Gilgamesh becomes upset. Possibly due to a bad oracle. Shamash then comes to their aid with timely advice

What is Shamash’s advice in regards to the battle against Humbaba
They should attack him now because he is only wearing one of his fearsome glories

Does Enkidu become fearful right before going into the forest?
Yes, Gilgamesh reassures him

Difference between versions in the moments leading up to the fight against Humbaba
Older versions – they begin cutting trees and Humbaba hears

Standard version – They meet Humbaba first

Does Enkidu become scared moments before the fight with Humbaba?
Nope, Gilgamesh does

What is formed during the fight with Humbaba
The rift valley of Lebanon is formed by their circling feet

Who assisted the duo in the fight against Humbaba

Right after the fight against Humbaba Hamababa begs Gilgamesh to spare his life. What happens?

goddess of love and warfare

Cite this page

The Epic of Gilgamesh Part 1 (Norton Anthology Of World Literature Volume A 3rd ed.). (2019, Feb 06). Retrieved from

The Epic of Gilgamesh Part 1 (Norton Anthology Of World Literature Volume A 3rd ed.)
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