Epic Of Gilgamesh Mesopotamian Civilization Essay

Stories describing creation are prominent in many cultures of the world. In Mesopotamia, the surviving evidence from the third millennium to the end of the first millennium B.C. indicates that although many of the gods were associated with natural forces, no single myth addressed issues of initial creation. It was simply assumed that the gods existed before the world was formed. Unfortunately, very little survives of Sumerian literature from the third millennium B.C. Several fragmentary tablets contain references to a time before the pantheon of the gods, when only the Earth (Sumerian: ki) and Heavens (Sumerian: an) existed. All was dark, there existed neither sunlight nor moonlight; however, the earth was green and water was in the ground, although there was no vegetation. More is known from Sumerian poems that date to the beginning centuries of the second millennium B.C.

A Sumerian myth known today as “Gilgamesh and the Netherworld” opens with a mythological prologue. It assumes that the gods and the universe already exist and that once a long time ago the heavens and earth were united, only later to be split apart. Later, humankind was created and the great gods divided up the job of managing and keeping control over heavens, earth, and the Netherworld.

The origins of humans are described in another early second-millennium Sumerian poem, “The Song of the Hoe.” In this myth, as in many other Sumerian stories, the god Enlil is described as the deity who separates heavens and earth and creates humankind. Humanity is formed to provide for the gods, a common theme in Mesopotamian literature.

In the Sumerian poem “The Debate between Grain and Sheep,” the earth first appeared barren, without grain, sheep, or goats. People went naked. They ate grass for nourishment and drank water from ditches. Later, the gods created sheep and grain and gave them to humankind as sustenance. According to “The Debate between Bird and Fish,” water for human consumption did not exist until Enki, lord of wisdom, created the Tigris and Euphrates and caused water to flow into them from the mountains. He also created the smaller streams and watercourses, established sheepfolds, marshes, and reedbeds, and filled them with fish and birds. He founded cities and established kingship and rule over foreign countries. In “The Debate between Winter and Summer,” an unknown Sumerian author explains that summer and winter, abundance, spring floods, and fertility are the result of Enlil’s copulation with the hills of the earth.

Another early second-millennium Sumerian myth, “Enki and the World Order,” provides an explanation as to why the world appears organized. Enki decided that the world had to be well managed to avoid chaos. Various gods were thus assigned management responsibilities that included overseeing the waters, crops, building activities, control of wildlife, and herding of domestic animals, as well as oversight of the heavens and earth and the activities of women.

According to the Sumerian story “Enki and Ninmah,” the lesser gods, burdened with the toil of creating the earth, complained to Namma, the primeval mother, about their hard work. She in turn roused her son Enki, the god of wisdom, and urged him to create a substitute to free the gods from their toil. Namma then kneaded some clay, placed it in her womb, and gave birth to the first humans.

Babylonian poets, like their Sumerian counterparts, had no single explanation for creation. Diverse stories regarding creation were incorporated into other types of texts. Most prominently, the Babylonian Enuma Elish is a theological legitimization of the rise of Marduk as the supreme god in Babylon, replacing Enlil, the former head of the pantheon. The poem was most likely compiled during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar I in the later twelfth century B.C., or possibly a short time afterward. At this time, Babylon, after many centuries of rule by the foreign Kassite dynasty, achieved political and cultural independence. The poem celebrates the ascendancy of the city and acts as a political tractate explaining how Babylon came to succeed the older city of Nippur as the center of religious festivals.

The poem itself has 1,091 lines written on seven tablets. It opens with a theogony, the descent of the gods, set in a time frame prior to creation of the heavens and earth. At that time, the ocean waters, called Tiamat, and her husband, the freshwater Apsu, mingled, with the result that several gods emerged in pairs. Like boisterous children, the gods produced so much noise that Apsu decided to do away with them. Tiamat, more indulgent than her spouse, urged patience, but Apsu, stirred to action by his vizier, was unmoved. The gods, stunned by the prospect of death, called on the resourceful god Ea to save them. Ea recited a spell that made Apsu sleep. He then killed Apsu and captured Mummu, his vizier. Ea and his wife Damkina then gave birth to the hero Marduk, the tallest and mightiest of the gods. Marduk, given control of the four winds by the sky god Anu, is told to let the winds whirl. Picking up dust, the winds create storms that upset and confound Tiamat. Other gods suddenly appear and complain that they, too, cannot sleep because of the hurricane winds. They urge Tiamat to do battle against Marduk so that they can rest. Tiamat agrees and decides to confront Marduk. She prepares for battle by having the mother goddess create eleven monsters. Tiamat places the monsters in charge of her new spouse, Qingu, who she elevates to rule over all the gods. When Ea hears of the preparations for battle, he seeks advice from his father, Anshar, king of the junior gods. Anshar urges Ea and afterward his brother Anu to appease the goddess with incantations. Both return frightened and demoralized by their failure. The young warrior god Marduk then volunteers his strength in return for a promise that, if victorious, he will become king of the gods. The gods agree, a battle ensues, and Marduk vanquishes Tiamat and Qingu, her host. Marduk then uses Tiamat’s carcass for the purpose of creation. He splits her in half, “like a dried fish,” and places one part on high to become the heavens, the other half to be the earth. As sky is now a watery mass, Marduk stretches her skin to the heavens to prevent the waters from escaping, a motif that explains why there is so little rainfall in southern Iraq. With the sky now in place, Marduk organizes the constellations of the stars. He lays out the calendar by assigning three stars to each month, creates his own planet, makes the moon appear, and establishes the sun, day, and night. From various parts of Tiamat’s body, he creates the clouds, winds, mists, mountains, and earth.

The myth continues as the gods swear allegiance to the mighty king and create Babylon and his temple, the Esagila, a home where the gods can rest during their sojourn upon the earth. The myth conveniently ignores Nippur, the holy city esteemed by both the Sumerians and the rulers of Kassite Babylonia. Babylon has replaced Nippur as the dwelling place of the gods.

Meanwhile, Marduk fulfills an earlier promise to provide provisions for the junior gods if he gains victory as their supreme leader. He then creates humans from the blood of Qingu, the slain and rebellious consort of Tiamat. He does this for two reasons: first, in order to release the gods from their burdensome menial labors, and second, to provide a continuous source of food and drink to temples.

The gods then celebrate and pronounce Marduk’s fifty names, each an aspect of his character and powers. The composition ends by stating that this story and its message (presumably the importance of kingship to the maintenance of order) should be preserved for future generations and pondered by those who are wise and knowledgeable. It should also be used by parents and teachers to instruct so that the land may flourish and its inhabitants prosper.

The short tale “Marduk, Creator of the World” is another Babylonian narrative that opens with the existence of the sea before any act of creation. First to be created are the cities, Eridu and Babylon, and the temple Esagil is founded. Then the earth is created by heaping dirt upon a raft in the primeval waters. Humankind, wild animals, the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the marshlands and canebrake, vegetation, and domesticated animals follow. Finally, palm groves and forests appear. Just before the composition becomes fragmentary and breaks off, Marduk is said to create the city of Nippur and its temple, the Ekur, and the city of Uruk, with its temple Eanna.

“The Creation of Humankind” is a bilingual Sumerian-Akkadian story also referred to in scholarly literature as KAR 4. This account begins after heaven was separated from earth, and features of the earth such as the Tigris, Euphrates, and canals established. At that time, the god Enlil addressed the gods asking what should next be accomplished. The answer was to create humans by killing Alla-gods and creating humans from their blood. Their purpose will be to labor for the gods, maintaining the fields and irrigation works in order to create bountiful harvests, celebrate the gods’ rites, and attain wisdom through study.

Ira Spar
Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

April 2009

 

Introduction

The Epic of Gilgamesh is a poetic epic comprised of numerous redacted Sumerian stories that were eventually patched together in Akkadian to form a coherent epic about a king, who, in antiquity, was believed to have been a historical person.[1]  The antecedent Sumerian stories that went into the production of the Akkadian epic as we know it today, date to sometime prior to 2150 BCE, toward the end of the Akkadian period,[2] although their oral origins probably reach much further back into Sumerian antiquity.[3]  This epic chronicles the fictional quest for immortality of Gilgamesh, king of Uruk.  The significance of this first great epic cannot be overstated. Many of the themes, myths and motifs that appear in this ancient epic were adopted by the authors of the Hebrew Bible and have thus made their way into Western culture via Christianity and into Middle Eastern culture via Islam.  It would be fair to say, that if we could delete from the annals of history the Epic of Gilgamesh and the corpus of redacted Sumerian tales that went into its production, both the Bible and the Qur’an would contain far fewer pages.[4]

There is much we can learn about the ancient Mesopotamian religion from this encyclopaedic epic.  What functions did both the format and contents of this epic serve?  What did the authors and the audience of this epic believe about gods and the supernatural realm?  What role did religion play with regards to kingship and politics? How did religion impact upon the urbanization of early Mesopotamia? How did dreams fit into the expression phenomena of the ancient Mesopotamian religion? How did they view the afterlife? All of these questions can be answered by a careful examination of this comprehensive tale about a divine king’s quest for immortality and his ascension from hubris to humility.

This essay will answer the questions set out above, and in the process it will be argued that the Epic of Gilgamesh was a mnemonic device used to instruct audiences in rudimentary sciences, ethics, politics and religion.  It will also be argued that such epics were a means by which superstitious populations could be kept in line by ruling elites, who used useful yet fictitious notions of divine kingship and other forms of psychological manipulation to maintain oppressive authority over the unwashed masses, and at the same time create social stability in the ancient urban centres of Mesopotamia.

 

The Epic

Epics were the encyclopaedias of the ancient world.[5]  They are vast narrative warehouses which contain large portions of a given society’s knowledge about the world.  This literary genre originated in the preliterate world,[6] and for this reason both the epic’s style and its contents served a highly important didactic function in largely illiterate societies.

Read, remember and recite the process Einstein used to arrive at his theory of general relativity. If that’s too difficult, recite the storyline of one of your favourite movies.  Which is easier?   It would be a steep challenge for anyone not versed in physics to read, remember and recite the method and means by which Einstein arrived at his theory of general relativity, but what if such details were anthropomorphized into interesting characters, or planted within pivotal plot points in an engaging and entertaining poetic epic, an epic that employed emotionally attractive archetypes such as the hero, the rhythm of beautiful poetry, the stimulating quest motif, metaphors, music and a narrative scheme?  Perhaps then it might be much easier to remember such intricate information.  This, as well as general entertainment, was the role of the ancient poetic epic.[7]

Although epics tend to be poetic combinations of myth and legend, they served similar functions to myths proper.

According to Vandiver, myths serve a variety of functions. They explain (explanatory/aetiological myths), warn (warning myths), in­struct (instructive myths), and they justify (justification/charter myths).[8]

The Epic of Gilgamesh fulfills each and every one of these functions. Notwithstanding numerous other examples, this epic explains why snakes shed their skins,[9] it warns the audience not to disrespect the temperamental goddess Ishtar (Inanna),[10] it instructs rulers to be humble, and it justifies the authority of the king,[11] who was believed to have been appointed by the gods.[12]

 

Polytheism and Sickness

The Epic of Gilgamesh clearly betrays the polytheism of ancient Mesopotamia. Many of the primary gods of the Mesopotamian pantheon play important roles in this epic, from Gilgamesh’s mother, the goddess Ninsun;[13] the wise sun god Shamash,[14] who convinces Enkidu to withdraw his curse on the temple prostitute Shamhat [15] – to the chief Mesopotamian sky god Anu,[16] who, after hearing the complaints of the people of Uruk, inspired the goddess Aruru to create Gilgamesh’s wild twin Enkidu.[17]  The various parts played by the gods demonstrates not only the polytheism of the ancient Mesopotamian religion but also, it reveals the roles that the ancient Mesopotamians believed the gods played in everyday life.

The gods of ancient Mesopotamia would intervene in human affairs for a variety of reasons.  When Gilgamesh rejected the advances of Ishtar she appealed to her father Anu to send a bull from heaven to kill him.[18]  Following their slaying of Humbaba and the bull from heaven, and Enkidu’s insulting of Ishtar, the gods intervened to ensure that one of the two heroes would die and subsequently, Enkidu became sick and eventually died.[19] This aspect of the narrative reveals that the people of ancient Mesopotamia believed that sickness was the result of the will of supernatural agents.  In discussing the ancient Mesopotamian’s perception of sickness and disease, Black and Green state:

`…the causes (as we mean the word) of disease were not understood. They were often ascribed to the work of gods or of demons acting as the agents of gods for the punishment of sin. Some diseases were described as, for example, ‘the hand of god’, ‘the hand of a ghost (gidim)’, ‘the hand of Istar (Inana)’, ‘the hand of Samas (Utu)’, indicating the deity or demon thought responsible for them.`[20]

 

The gods afflicting Enkidu with a fatal sickness represents an aspect of the narrative that serves multiple functions.  It warns the audience not to disrespect the gods; it explains why people get sick, and it justifies the role of the priest, particularly with regards to their services provided to the sick, diseased, and the dying.[21]  Given the belief that there were innumerable gods that might be offended, often absent the intent of the offender,[22] such tales would have probably kept the population in strict adherence to the religious rules established by priests and kings.

 

Divine Kingship

Gilgamesh was the king of Uruk.[23] He was, according to the story, two-thirds divine and one-third mortal.[24]  The prologue of the Epic of Gilgamesh paints the following picture of this royal paragon:

 

`He who saw the Deep, the country’s foundation,

[who] knew … , was wise in all matters!

[Gilgamesh, who] saw the Deep, the country’s foundation,

[who] knew … , was wise in all matters!

[He] … everywhere …

and [learnt] of everything the sum of wisdom.

He saw what was secret, discovered what was hidden,

he brought back a tale of before the Deluge.`[25]

This wasn’t merely an epic about a single Mesopotamian king but, in some regards, a standard Mesopotamian king.  They were wise, strong, handsome, heroic, intelligent, brave, and even if they did occasionally oppress their citizens, as was the case in the beginning of this epic,[26] they were guided by the gods toward virtue and valour.  The kings were not only on occasion semi-divine, [27] they were, in every case, divinely appointed.[28]

Regardless of whether kings were perceived of as being divine or not, they were almost certainly seen as having had a close relationship with the gods, who appointed them and from the gods’ heavenly abode descended kingship itself.[29]

Religion and Urbanization

An interesting and revealing theme which runs through the Epic of Gilgamesh is that of the struggle between civilization and savagery, or to put it another way, the dichotomy between urban civilization and rural habitation.[30] Despite being Gilgamesh’s equal in almost every conceivable way,[31] Enkidu was a wild man who lived with the animals, jostled with them at the watering holes, who ate grass and uncultivated foods, [32] who had long, matted and unkempt hair,[33] and who, in the end, was convinced by the wise sun god Shamash that it is better to die within the civilized walls of the city like a man, than to die like an animal in the wild.[34]  Shamhat, the temple prostitute responsible for civilizing Enkidu through temptation, causing him to the leave the steppe/open country (Sum. Eden),[35] represents a kind of proto-Eve, yet her temptation led to the rise rather than the fall of Enkidu, who was in many regards the personification of uncivilized man, and, possibly, of nature itself.[36]

This struggle between civilization and nature, coupled with the central role that the city of Uruk plays in the narrative, exposes the importance that urbanization had on both the daily life of the ancient inhabitants of southern Mesopotamia [37] and their religious worldview, which were both inextricably bound together.[38]

The author of the epic writes:

`He [Gilgamesh] had the wall of Uruk built, the sheepfold Of holiest Eanna, the pure treasury. See its wall, which is like a copper band, Survey its battlements, which nobody else can match, Take the threshold, which is from time immemorial, Approach Eanna, the home of Ishtar, Which no future king nor any man will ever match! Go up on to the wall of Uruk and walk around! Inspect the foundation platform and scrutinize the brickwork!  Testify that its bricks are baked bricks, And that the Seven Counsellors must have laid its foundations! One square mile is city, one square mile is orchards, one square mile is claypits, as well as the open ground of Ishtar’s temple. Three square miles and the open ground comprise Uruk`.[39]

 

This portion of the tablet exposes the emphasis placed on the quality and quantity of urban construction, but most of all, this small excerpt informs us about the jewel of Uruk, the sacred temple of Ishtar.  From this we may deduce that Ishtar was the patron deity of Uruk. In ancient Mesopotamia it was customary to have a patron deity for each city-state,[40] and these deities didn’t merely protect and punish the citizens of each urban centre, they resided within the city walls,[41] they ate the offerings provided by the inhabitants,[42] they were, often in statue form, venerated citizens of the cities,[43] thus displaying the crucial significance that cities themselves had on the religious worldview of the people of ancient Mesopotamia.

A practical reason for the propagation of the belief that powerful patron deities resided in the cities may well be linked with the need of the elites to maintain a loyal, if not fearful, hardworking labour force, a labour force necessary to build the grandiose temples, ziggurats, palaces and the properties of farmers, fortune-telling sa ilu (seer-priests),[44] brick makers, and the ever-expanding urban centres of ancient Mesopotamia.

 

Mantic Dreams

In ancient Mesopotamia dreams were not seen so much as expressions of the sub-conscious mind, but divine portents, messages from supernatural agents which needed to be decoded by those who possessed the highly valued mantic abilities to interpret them, or so the people believed.  A compilation of dream omens has come down to us from ancient Mesopotamian records and it appears that the practice of divining the future from dreams was, at least in part, based on precedent. For example, the list of dream subjects and their meanings include sexual encounters, journeys, visions of certain people and animals.[45]

In the Epic of Gilgamesh, the hero has a number of significant dreams. These dreams are accurately interpreted by both his mother Ninsun and by his best friend Enkidu.  On both occasions, the dreams foretell Gilgamesh’s future. The first two dreams forecast, albeit in typical dreamlike abstraction, the coming of Enkidu, representing him as both an immovable “sky-bolt of Anu”[46] (possibly a meteor) and an axe that both Gilgamesh and his mother doted over.[47]  On the second occasion, Gilgamesh had a series of three dreams about he and Enkidu’s forthcoming showdown with the forest-dwelling monster Humbaba, and later on in the epic, Enkidu has a dream about his own death.  Each and every one of these dreams not only carried important significance for the plot but more importantly, they all came true.  Divining the future from dreams was an aspect of the expression phenomena of the ancient Mesopotamian religion, and this form of manticism later found its way into the Abrahamic religions.

Husser elaborates on the significance of dreams in ancient Mesopotamia, saying:

`As in the science of divination as a whole, it is Samas [Shamash] who presides over dreams and who holds in his possession knowledge of the messages they transmit’.[48]

Shamash’s role as the presider over dreams is betrayed in the narrative of Gilgamesh following Enkidu’s interpretation of Gilgamesh’s dream about Humbaba, exclaiming:

`At the light of dawn we shall hear the favourable word of Shamash‘.[49]

 

Enkidu`s dream offers a particularly valuable contribution to our understanding of how the ancient Mesopotamians organized their conceptions of the afterlife, or `netherworld’. The afterlife, at least the afterlife that Enkidu was bound for, is a miserable place of no return [50] – a place of darkness,[51] where people survive by eating soil and clay [52] – a place ruled over by the queen of the netherworld, the bitter goddess Ereshkigal.[53]  Despite the absence of light, reading and writing seem to be undertaken by the goddess’ scribe [Beret]-Seri.[54]  Among the inmates in this dark `house of dust’ are priests and kings.[55]

  Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the Netherworld is an early Sumerian tale that offers greater detail of the ancient Mesopotamian concept of the afterlife, and part of this tale appears to have been adapted into Tablet XII of the Epic of Gilgamesh.[56]  In this early Sumerian tale, a person’s fate in the netherworld is determined by both how they lived and how they died, but such a concept doesn’t appear to have been adopted in the Epic of Gilgamesh, although there is a lost portion of Enkidu’s dream of the netherworld,[57] so it may have existed in the now lost fragment of the story.

 

Conclusion

The Epic of Gilgamesh was a didactic and entertaining poem.  It was a tale that teaches us a great deal about the religion of its authors and their audience.  We can deduce from the epic’s oral origins that it probably served as a mnemonic device employed for imparting teachings with regards to ancient ethics, the sciences of the day, the role of the king and the divinely ascribed legitimacy of the king. It warns about the grave consequences for disrespecting the gods, consequences that included sickness, disease and death. It informs us about the role that religion played in the urban centres. It reveals the significance that dreams had within the expression phenomena of the ancient Mesopotamian religion and it enlightens our understanding of how the ancient Mesopotamians viewed the afterlife.

Overall, the picture of the ancient Mesopotamian religion painted by this epic is a pessimistic one.  Yet, in spite of its pessimism, it vindicates the values of friendship, love, humility, empathy for the sick and dying, and many of the valuable qualities which make us human.  Aside from the tyranny of the ancient Mesopotamian monarchies and the superstitious and scientific ignorance of the ancient civilization which forms the canvass and the curvatures of this poem, the Epic of Gilgamesh shows (some may say sadly) that modern religion has remained remarkably similar in substance to its archaic antecedents, for, many believers still dangerously prefer prayers over medicine, our largest cities are still adorned with expensive `houses of the gods’; dreams are still believed to be cryptic messages from supernatural agents; many still fear the wrath of their particular deity, and the majority of the inhabitants of our planet still live their lives in the hope of avoiding Enkidu`s netherworld whilst praying to enter into the glorious abode of Anu.

 

 

Notes

 

  1. Lowell Edmunds, Epic and Myth, in: John Miles Foley, A Companion to Ancient Epic, Oxford, Blackwell Publishing, 2005, p. 33; Stephanie Dalley, Myths from Mesopotamia, Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1989, p. 40.
  2. Ibid. p. 41.
  3. Ibid. p. 43.
  4. Timothy Insoll, The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Ritual and Religion, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011, pp. 785-789; Dr Friedrich Delitzsch, Babel and Bible: Three Lectures on the Significance of Assyriological Research for Religion, Chicago: The Open Court Publishing Company, 1906, pp. 39-53; John Barton and John Muddiman, The Oxford Bible Commentary, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001, pp. 46-47; W.G. Lambert, Ancient Near Eastern Studies: Mesopotamia, in: J.W. Rogerson & Judith M. Lieu, The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006, pp. 78-85.
  5. Michael Sugrue, Lecture 1: The Gilgamesh Epic, in: Andrew Ford, Robert Hollander, David Thurn, Michael Sugrue, The Great Courses: The Bible and Western Culture – Parts 1 and 2, The Teaching Company, 1999.
  6. Jeffrey H. Tigay, The Evolution of the Gilgamesh Epic, Wauconda, Illinois: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, Inc., 2002, p. 15.
  7. Stephanie Dalley, Myths from Mesopotamia, Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1989, p. 40; Andrew George, The Epic of Gilgamesh: The Babylonian Epic Poem and Other Texts in Akkadian and Sumerian, London: Penguin Books, 1999, xiii.
  8. Professor Elizabeth Vandiver, Classical Mythology, Lecture 2: What is Myth? The Teaching Company, 2002.
  9. Stephanie Dalley, Myths from Mesopotamia, Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1989, pp. 46, 119.
  10. The Epic of Gilgamesh, Tablet VI, cited in: Andrew George, The Epic of Gilgamesh: The Babylonian Epic Poem and Other Texts in Akkadian and Sumerian, London: Penguin Books, 1999, 47-54.
  11. Gilgamesh, Tablet I, cited in: Ibid. pp. 1-3.
  12. Stephanie Dalley, Myths from Mesopotamia, Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1989, p. 49; Jeremy Black and Anthony Green, Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient MesopotamiaAn Illustrated Dictionary, London: The British Museum Press, 1992, p. 38.
  13. Gilgamesh, Tablets I, II, III, XII, cited in: Stephanie Dalley, Myths from Mesopotamia, Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1989, pp. 51, 58-59, 61, 64-65, 122.
  14. Gilgamesh, Tablets I, III, IV, V, VI, VII, IX, X, XI, cited in: Ibid. pp. 57, 64-69, 72, 74-76, 82-88, 95-96, 98, 102, 112.
  15. Gilgamesh, Tablet VII, cited in: Ibid. pp. 87-88.
  16. Gilgamesh, Tablets I, II, VI, VII, XI, cited in: Ibid. pp. 52-61, 80-84, 89, 109, 113-114.
  17. Gilgamesh, Tablet I, cited in: Andrew George, The Epic of Gilgamesh: The Babylonian Epic Poem and Other Texts in Akkadian and Sumerian, London: Penguin Books, 1999, p. 4.
  18. Gilgamesh, Tablet VI, cited in: Ibid. pp. 47-51.
  19. Gilgamesh, Tablets VI, VII, cited in Ibid. pp. 52-62.
  20. Gilgamesh, Tablet IV, cited in: Stephanie Dalley, Myths from Mesopotamia, Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1989, p. 67.
  21. Jeremy Black and Anthony Green, Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient MesopotamiaAn Illustrated Dictionary, London: The British Museum Press, 1992, p. 67.
  22. Jean Bottero, Mesopotamia: Writing, Reasoning, and the Gods, (trans. Zainab Bahrani and Marc Van De Mieroop), Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1992, 228.
  23. Ibid. p. 40.
  24. Gilgamesh, Tablet I, cited in: Andrew George, The Epic of Gilgamesh: The Babylonian Epic Poem and Other Texts in Akkadian and Sumerian, London: Penguin Books, 1999, 2.
  25. Gilgamesh, Tablet I, cited in: Ibid. p. 1.
  26. Gilgamesh, Tablet I, cited in: Ibid. pp. 3-5.
  27. E.S. Edwards, C.J. Gadd, N.G.L. Hammond, The Cambridge Ancient History, Vol 1.2, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1971, p. 94; Tammi J. Schneider, An Introduction to Ancient Mesopotamian Religion, Cambridge: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2011, pp. 122-125.
  28. Stephanie Dalley, Myths from Mesopotamia, Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1989, p. 49; Geoff Emberling, Mesopotamian Cities and Urban Process, 3500–1600 BCE, in: Norman Yoffee, The Cambridge World History, Vol. 3: Early Cities in Comparative Perspective, 4000 BCE-1200 CE, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015, p. 253.
  29. Henri Frankfort, Kingship and the Gods: A Study of Ancient Near Eastern Religion as the Integration of Society and Nature, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1948, 237.
  30. Gilgamesh, Tablet I, cited in: Stephanie Dalley, Myths from Mesopotamia, Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1989, 55; Andrew George, The Epic of Gilgamesh: The Babylonian Epic Poem and Other Texts in Akkadian and Sumerian, London: Penguin Books, 1999, p. xiv.
  31. Gilgamesh, Tablet XI, cited in: Stephanie Dalley, Myths from Mesopotamia, Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1989, 109.
  32. Gilgamesh, Tablet I, cited in: Andrew George, The Epic of Gilgamesh: The Babylonian Epic Poem and Other Texts in Akkadian and Sumerian, London: Penguin Books, 1999, 7.
  33. Gilgamesh, Tablet I, cited in: Ibid. p. 5.
  34. Gilgamesh, Tablet VII, cited in Ibid. p. 59.
  35. The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature, Faculty of Oriental Studies, Oxford University, Glossary; E, 2006, cited at: http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/edition2/etcsllemma.php?sortbylemma=lemma&letter=e, accessed on 02 Dec. 2015.
  36. Michael Sugrue, Lecture 1: The Gilgamesh Epic, in: Andrew Ford, Robert Hollander, David Thurn, Michael Sugrue, The Great Courses: The Bible and Western Culture – Parts 1 and 2, The Teaching Company, 1999.
  37. Andrew George, The Epic of Gilgamesh: The Babylonian Epic Poem and Other Texts in Akkadian and Sumerian, London: Penguin Books, 1999, xvi.
  38. Barbara A. Somervill, Empires of Ancient Mesopotamia, New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 2010, p. 19.
  39. Gilgamesh, Tablet I cited in: Stephanie Dalley, Myths from Mesopotamia, Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1989, p. 51.
  40. Stephen Bertman, Handbook to Life in Ancient Mesopotamia, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003, pp. 120-121, 130, 173.
  41. Barbara A. Somervill, Empires of Ancient Mesopotamia, New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 2010, p. 105.
  42. Geoff Emberling, Mesopotamian Cities and Urban Process, 3500–1600 BCE, in: Norman Yoffee, The Cambridge World History, Vol. 3: Early Cities in Comparative Perspective, 4000 BCE-1200 CE, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015, p. 266.
  43. Ibid.
  44. Jean-Marie Husser, Dreams and Dream Narratives in the Biblical World, (trans. Jill M. Munro), Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999, 28.
  45. Jeremy Black and Anthony Green, Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient MesopotamiaAn Illustrated Dictionary, London: The British Museum Press, 1992, p. 72.
  46. Gilgamesh, Tablet I, cited in: Stephanie Dalley, Myths from Mesopotamia, Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1989, p. 57.
  47. Gilgamesh, Tablet I, cited in: Ibid. pp. 58-59.
  48. Jean-Marie Husser, Dreams and Dream Narratives in the Biblical World, (trans. Jill M. Munro), Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999, 29.
  49. Gilgamesh, Tablet IV, cited in Stephanie Dalley, Myths from Mesopotamia, Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1989, p. 68.
  50. Gilgamesh, Tablet VII, cited in: Andrew George, The Epic of Gilgamesh: The Babylonian Epic Poem and Other Texts in Akkadian and Sumerian, London: Penguin Books, 1999, p. 61.
  51. Ibid.
  52. Ibid.
  53. Ibid.
  54. Ibid.
  55. Ibid.
  56. Stephanie Dalley, Myths from Mesopotamia, Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1989, p. 42.
  57. Andrew George, The Epic of Gilgamesh: The Babylonian Epic Poem and Other Texts in Akkadian and Sumerian, London: Penguin Books, 1999, p. 62.

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

Primary Sources

The Epic of Gilgamesh, cited in: George, Andrew, The Epic of Gilgamesh: The Babylonian Epic Poem and Other Texts in Akkadian and Sumerian, London: Penguin Books, 1999.

 

The Epic ofGilgamesh, cited in: Stephanie Dalley, Myths from Mesopotamia, Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1989.

 

 

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Bertman, Stephen, Handbook to Life in Ancient Mesopotamia, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

 

Black, Jeremy & Green, Anthony, Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient MesopotamiaAn Illustrated Dictionary, London: The British Museum Press, 1992.

 

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Delitzsch, Friedrich, Babel and Bible: Three Lectures on the Significance of Assyriological Research for Religion, Chicago: The Open Court Publishing Company, 1906.

 

Edmunds, Lowell, Epic and Myth, in: Foley, John Miles, A Companion to Ancient Epic, Oxford, Blackwell Publishing, 2005.

 

Edwards, I.E.S., Gadd, C.J., Hammond, N.G.L, The Cambridge Ancient History, Vol 1.2, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1971.

 

Emberling, Geoff, Mesopotamian Cities and Urban Process, 3500–1600 BCE, in: Yoffee, Norman, The Cambridge World History, Vol. 3: Early Cities in Comparative Perspective, 4000 BCE-1200 CE, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015.

 

Ford, Andrew, Hollander, Robert, Thurn, David, Sugrue, Michael The Great Courses: The Bible and Western Culture – Parts 1 and 2, The Teaching Company, 1999.

 

Frankfort, Henri, Kingship and the Gods: A Study of Ancient Near Eastern Religion as the Integration of Society and Nature, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1948.

 

George, Andrew, The Epic of Gilgamesh: The Babylonian Epic Poem and Other Texts in Akkadian and Sumerian, London: Penguin Books, 1999.

 

Husser, Jean-Marie, Dreams and Dream Narratives in the Biblical World, (trans. Jill M. Munro), Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999.

 

Insoll, Timothy, The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Ritual and Religion, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

 

Lambert, W.G., Ancient Near Eastern Studies: Mesopotamia, in: J.W. Rogerson, J.W.

& Lieu, Judith M., The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

 

Schneider, Tammi J., An Introduction to Ancient Mesopotamian Religion, Cambridge: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2011.

 

Somervill, Barbara, Empires of Ancient Mesopotamia, New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 2010.

 

The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature, Faculty of Oriental Studies, Oxford University, Glossary; E, 2006, cited at: http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/edition2/etcsllemma.php?sortbylemma=lemma&letter=e, accessed on 02 Dec. 2015.

 

Tigay, Jeffrey H., The Evolution of the Gilgamesh Epic, Wauconda, Illinois: Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, Inc., 2002.

 

Vandiver, Elizabeth, Classical Mythology, Lecture 2: What is Myth? The Teaching Company, 2002.

 

 

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