The Food Of Civilization : Humanity, The Natural Order, And The Epic Of Gilgamesh

1954 Words Dec 16th, 2015 null Page
The Food of Civilization: Humanity, the Natural Order, and the Epic of Gilgamesh The Epic of Gilgamesh is widely known as an epic about early human civilization and what it means to be human. While these ideas are often researched and discussed in scholarly works, there is one aspect of civilization that is frequently overlooked: food. Food and it’s procuration are one of the three basic needs of a human—as we all known from mister Abraham Maslow and the various forms of Psychology 101 taken at universities across the country. In the Epic of Gilgamesh food plays a symbolic role that shows just how important it is to be human and what happens when humanity is lost. The first appearance of food is in the epic’s opening tablet: the man-beast Enkidu is destroying the hunter’s traps and keeping him from obtaining food. When Shamhat separates Enkidu from his animal kin, he is given bread and beer at a shepherd’s picnic which completes his transformation from beast to man. After Enkidu’s death, Gilgamesh is distraught and travels to the end of the world where he meets Utanapishtim and his wife. In order to prove that Gilgamesh has fallen asleep for an entire week, Utanapishtim and his wife bake one loaf of bread for each day that Gilgamesh is asleep. When Gilgamesh awakes and sees the bread in various states of decay, he acknowledges his weariness with acceptance, accentuating the importance of the bread as a symbol of life and death, humanity (civilization) and the natural,…

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