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Gilgamesh, King of Uruk

The Epic of Gilgamesh
Gilgamesh Related Links

Epic of Gilgamesh - Gilgamesh Related Links

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The Epic of Gilgamesh

***Notice***

This is a basic summary of Gilgamesh's exploits; the quotes are taken from the original story that was written in 12 clay tablets thousands of years ago. To find out more, or just to read the original text, then look for "The Epic of Gilgamesh" in any library or bookstore near you.

    Circa 2700BC there once ruled a wise and powerful king named Gilgamesh over the ancient Sumerian city of Uruk. Legend has it that he was two thirds man and one third mortal; the gods had made his beauty perfect, and endowed him with terrifying courage, like a great wild bull. He was also known as an unbeatable warrior, and for building the great walls around Uruk.

    Since he was very lustful and would take any woman he wanted whether she was single or married, the people of Uruk asked the gods for Gilgamesh's equal so he would be overpowered and leave the women in peace. The result was Enkidu, a man with long hair like a woman's that roamed with the wild beasts. When Gilgamesh heard of him, he sent a courtesan to entice him and bring him back to Uruk so he could meet this wild man. When the courtesan brought Enkidu to Gilgamesh, they fought to a standstill, and became best friends & brothers at arms.

    Since Gilgamesh wanted to make a name for himself, he set out with Enkidu to the Land of Cedars, an inmense forest guarded by the ferocious giant Humbaba. They planned to vanquish the evil giant and cut the cedars to raise a monument to the gods. Once they got there Gilgamesh challenged Humbaba to combat, but no answer came, so they made a sacrifice to the gods and went to sleep. During the night Gilgamesh dreamed of victory.

    The next morning Humbaba charged at them, and Gilgamesh called on the great God Shamash to help them; Shamash used the winds to stop Humbaba in his tracks: "The eight winds rose up against Humbaba, they beat against his eyes; he was gripped, unable to go forward or back." Then Enkidu decapitated him, they cut all the cedar they needed to build the temple, and went back to Uruk.

    When they got back, the Goddess Ishtar admired Gilgamesh's great beauty, and offered herself as a bride to him. He turned her down harshly, citing the poor fate of her previous lovers, and she left in a bitter rage. She called upon Anu, the chief God, to give her the Bull of Heaven to destroy Gilgamesh and he complied. The Bull of Heaven came into Uruk causing incredible damage and killing many innocent people. Gilgamesh and Enkidu went out to meet it, and while Enkidu held it by the horns, Gilgamesh slew it with his sword.

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Gilgamesh Related Links

 

Myth&Legends: impressive myths & legends of ancient times.
SumerFAQ: Sumerian Mythology & Gilgamesh.
Labyrinth: online medieval studies.

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