The Exaltation Of Military Leadership In The Epic Of Gilgamesh

1398 Words 6 Pages
The Epic of Gilgamesh narrates the story of the mighty king Gilgamesh and his military conquests. The aggrandizement of military authority fuels Gilgamesh’s pride and leads him to pursue nearly impossible quests. This story exemplifies the exaltation of military leadership within ancient societies throughout the world. Although the Epic of Gilgamesh represents many other characteristics of this time period such as patriarchy and the anxieties of the agro-urban revolution, this story definitively proves the exaltation of military leadership. Throughout this paper I will use textual evidence and interpretations from the story to explain and prove that military leadership played a great importance within this ancient society. Gilgamesh is the …show more content…
Due to Gilgamesh’s great superiority and intimidation, no man would stand up to him as the author states “he has no equal when his weapons are brandished” The Epic of Gilgamesh I, 80. As a result of the citizen’s helplessness, the people summon Aruru to create the equal of Gilgamesh that is mighty in strength to save the people of Uruk from the tyranny. The Goddess Aruru created the hero Enkidu in the wild that is described by a hunter as the mightiest in the land with the strength as mighty as a rock from the sky. As Enkidu hears of the tyranny caused by Gilgamesh, he asks Shamhat to take him to Uruk stating that “I will challenge him, for my strength is mighty, I will vaunt myself in Uruk, saying “I am the mightiest!” There I will change the way things are ordered” Epic of Gilgamesh, I 220. This further portrays the idea of military leadership and that the mightiest will rule the …show more content…
When it reached the land it dried up the vegetation and lowered the river substantially, which is detrimental to Uruk and all that inhabit the land. The Bull of heaven snorted three times and killed three hundred people while bringing Enkidu down to his waist. Enkidu then sprang up and grabbed the bull by the horns, asking Gilgamesh “how shall we answer the thronging people?” Epic of Gilgamesh, VI 130. After assessing the bulls strength, Enkidu hurried to get behind the bull and seized the bulls tail as he pinned the bulls foot to the ground with his own. Gilgamesh then thrusted his knife skillfully into the bulls head, saving the people of Uruk and further contributing to his military accolades. After killing the bull they elevated the heart in the air and devoted it to the sun god Shamash as a token of appreciation for his immeasurable military superiority. For defeating the bull the craftsmen decorated the horns excessively for Gilgamesh, who gave it to his god

Related Documents