An analysis of the epic of gilgamesh found in the mid nineteenth century

Historical king[ edit ] Most historians generally agree that Gilgamesh was a historical king of the Sumerian city-state of Uruk[6] [7] [8] [9] who probably ruled sometime during the early part of the Early Dynastic Period c. Epic of Gilgamesh Eventually, according to Kramer, "Gilgamesh became the hero par excellence of the ancient world—an adventurous, brave, but tragic figure symbolizing man's vain but endless drive for fame, glory, and immortality". A scorpion man is among the creatures Gilgamesh encounters on his journey to the homeland of Utnapishtim. Powellan American classical scholar, early Greeks were probably exposed to Mesopotamian oral traditions through their extensive connections to the civilizations of the ancient Near East [9] and this exposure resulted in the similarities that are seen between the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Homeric epics.

An analysis of the epic of gilgamesh found in the mid nineteenth century

Credit went to the eastern parts of the Fertile Crescent for urbanization and farming, but literature belonged to the Greeks and Hebrews. When the tablets bearing Gilgamesh were discovered, the Bible and Homer's verses were already embedded in the foundation of Western consciousness.

British historians of the nineteenth century, with their shovels in the Promised Land and Asia Minor, never suspected such a literary treasure to be culled from the dusts of what is today Iraq. After more than twenty five hundred years of the tablets lying buried and incomprehensible, George Smith decoded the Babylonian flood story and then, in mad excitement, and "to the astonishment of those present, began to undress himself.

But for the scholar, discovery became complicated. When they set out to unearth the rest of the tablets upon which Gilgamesh lives, they had to face the mess that was and still is Middle Eastern politics.

The Assyrian archaeologist was not only an adventurer, but he was also an anomaly, an ambassador, a mistrusted foreigner, a prisoner of dictator-kings, and ultimately, a man set on his own self-destruction. The lives that unearthed the famous epic sacrificed themselves in the name of history with little recognition.

Smith endeavored to uncover the remainder of the story he had begun to translate, with his health failing and little support from his motherland. He died of dysentery in Aleppo, leaving behind a large family in England.

Damrosch has his own mission of recovery, that is, to recount the tragic pioneers who disinterred the library of the Assyrian King Ashurbanipal, where the tablets of the Epic of Gilgamesh were contained.

Most readers walk away from Gilgamesh seeing a simple struggle against mortality, and overlook the era in which the epic was understood. It is hard to imagine that in the capital of the Assyrian Empire, Nineveh--the location where the tablets were produced--the epic was already considered a classic.

As early as 2, BC, an unknown Babylonian poet composed the epic's verses. They were passed down orally for centuries before they were etched in stone. Damrosch details how the Assyrian king who commissioned the tablets might have interpreted them, more than two thousand years after their composition.


Unlike royalty before him, King Ashurbanipal then learned the ancient languages of Akkadian and Sumerian, in order to have access to literature, and give a voice to his reign. His appreciation of the epic was, in part, its utility.

It served as a cautionary tale for proud rulers. King Gilgamesh constantly suffers repercussions for his arrogance, especially when he snubs the goddess of love, Ishtar.

Damrosch's final pages are dedicated to contemporary writers, and the resurrection of the King of Uruk in today's literature. Saddam Hussein's first novel strange but true--with the help of ghostwriters, he purportedly wrote four Zabibah and the King, incorporates the themes of leadership found within the ancient text.

By pointing out the use of the epic by these novelists of very different cultures, Damrosch intends to explain a common heritage. He hopes to leave us pondering an expansion of the boundaries of civilization; the Mesopotamian King's legend is compelling for modern intellects as well as ancients, Eastern as well as Western.

But while George Smith, Saddam Hussein, and Ashurbanipal may share a story carved into the same tablets, the modern treatments are all too apt to claim exclusive inheritance, and to deny a common history in favor of contemporary clashes.English, Science, Economics, Philosophy, and so many others--Hillsdale's majors and minors prepare for a life's pursuit of meaning, depth, and purpose.

The Epic of Gilgamesh |

The epic of Gilgamesh dates back to as early as Bronze Age Mesopotamia, to the people of Sumer that told poems and legends of a great hero-king called Gilgamesh, the demigod ruler of Uruk (around BCE).

The legends and poems were later gathered into a . The epic of Gilgamesh was found in the mid nineteenth century, written on over twenty five thousand clay tablets.

An analysis of the epic of gilgamesh found in the mid nineteenth century

After much studying and deciphering, this ancient Sumerian epic has finally been translated, though many of the tablets have not been found. it appears that all the most importa.

A common published form of biblical exegesis is known as a Bible commentary and typically takes the form of a set of books, each of which is devoted to the exposition of one or two books of the books or those that contain much material either for theological or historical-critical speculation, such as Genesis or Psalms, may be split .

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An analysis of the epic of gilgamesh found in the mid nineteenth century
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