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
On what was it recorded?
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?
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
(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
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)
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.
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?
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
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
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
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
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
Leather bag to hold water
Gilgamesh’s third dream/ explination of it
Earth was thundering
Lightning and fire shot up
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