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Epic of Gilgamesh
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The Epic of Gilgamesh, Part I

is the oldest literary work that has survived to our day.  It tells the story of Gilgamesh, the legendary king of Uruk who is said to have lived and ruled in the 3rd millennium BCE.
The 11 Tablets that relate the epic, reconstructed and translated from the ancient Akkadian language, come from the first third of the 2nd millennium BCE and are therefore substantially older than the Homeric epics of the Iliad and the Odyssey which were written ca. 750 BCE..
Young Gilgamesh, the King of Uruk, loved by the gods, strong and in likeness divine, is himself two-thirds god.  But he is a cruel leader.  Therefore, the Gods create Enkidu to put an end to the ruthlessness of Gilgamesh.  Gilgamesh and Enkidu become close friends and a deep love develops between them.



Together they kill the demon Humbaba, guardian of the Forest of Cedar. After they return to Uruk, Gilgamesh rejects the advances of Ishtar, the Goddess of Love and War, who thereupon in rage releases the Bull of Heaven against the city and its inhabitants.  Gilgamesh and Enkidu slay the monster and incur the wrath of the Gods who agree that Enkidu must pay for this affront with his life.  After the death of his beloved friend, whom he buries with royal honors, Gilgamesh leaves Uruk in desperation.  He wanders through the wilderness in his quest to find Uta-napishti, the Babylonian Noah, who was the only human granted immortality by the gods. Gilgamesh wants to learn how he too can have eternal life.


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