Analysis: The Epic Of Gilgamesh

Good Essays
Jace Gyles
Justin Guidry
History 1040
4 December 2015
The Epic of Gilgamesh and Its Place in World History The Epic of Gilgamesh is an epic tale that has made itself a place in history. It dates back to the third millennium BC. It rose to fame out of Mesopotamia in the nineteenth century. It is believed that the epic existed for a period of time as an oral poem. Later it was recorded by the Babylonian writer Shin-Leqi-Unninni who recorded it around 1300-1000 BC. This Babylonian writer translated, edited, and may have embellished upon the original oral story. The Epic of Gilgamesh centers on the character King Gilgamesh. Its main plot line is Gilgamesh’s relentless, although futile, search for immortality. This epic includes a journey
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To begin with the main character of the epic, Gilgamesh, is a real figure in history. He was a king who ruled over the ancient Sumerian city Uruk around 2700 B.C. The city of Uruk is called Erech in the Bible, and it was once one of the greatest cities in Mesopotamia. The historical King Gilgamesh probably constructed the walls around the city. There are many ancient versions of the story of Gilgamesh. The story of Gilgamesh also appears in multiple Middle Eastern languages. The wide-spreading of the epic suggests that King Gilgamesh had a wide influence on ancient Mesopotamia. The fact that the epic portrays King Gilgamesh as part god speaks to how highly he was viewed by the people of his time. He was a legendary builder and warrior. Perhaps his fame as a great warrior is portrayed in the Epic of Gilgamesh by showing him battling with and defeating gods. The most complete version of this epic poem was found in Nineveh. The original version of this epic poem was written in Akkadian, which is the language of the Babylonians. The epic was originally written on eleven clay tablets with an incomplete appendix on a twelfth tablet. The original tablets do historians a great service by naming its writer, Shin-Leqi-Unninni. However, it would be misguided to call Shin-Leqi-Unninni the author. His importance in recording the Epic of Gilgamesh is obvious, but it is also important to note that he is a writer of the oral tradition. The epic of Gilgamesh is also important because it helps modern day historians a look at ancient Mesopotamian culture. The epic includes and describes many of the major gods worshiped by ancient Mesopotamians. The Epic of Gilgamesh also shows how as a society the Mesopotamians dealt with power. The epic could be looked at as a guide to being a good member of society. The epic does this by using Gilgamesh as an example of what to do and what not

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