GILGAMESH STORY

PROLOGUE OF BABYLONIAN GILGAMESH: HE WHO SAW EVERYTHING


Gilgamesh statue at Sydney University

In Prologue of Babylonian Gilgamesh Gilgamesh is described as being two-thirds god and one-third man, and 'like a wild ox.' As the story begins, the nobles of Uruk are complaining to the gods that the mighty Gilgamesh in his restlessness and arrogance is playing havoc with the city.
“He who saw everything in the broad-boned earth, and knew what was to be known
Who had experienced what there was, and had become familiar with all things
He, to whom wisdom clung like cloak, and who dwelt together with Existence in Harmony
He knew the secret of things and laid them bare. And told of those times before the Flood
In his city, Uruk, he made the walls, which formed a rampart stretching on
And the temple called Eanna, which was the house of An, the Sky God
And also of Inanna, Goddess of Love and Battle
Look at it even now: where cornice runs on outer wall shining brilliant copper -see,
There is no inner wall; it has no equal. Touch the threshold - ancient. Approach the palace called Eanna.
There lives Inanna, Goddess of Love and Battle. No king since has accomplished such deeds.
Climb that wall, go in Uruk, walk there, I say, walk there.
See the foundation terrace, touch then the masonry - Is not this of burnt brick, And good? I say;
The seven sages laid its foundation. One third is city; One third is orchards; One third is clay pits- Unbuilt-on land of the Inanna Temple search these three parts, find the copper table-box [Source: Robert Temple translation, verse version of the Epic of Gilgamesh by Robert Temple, Rider, an imprint of Random Century Group Ltda, 1991, Gates of Babylon]

“Open it. Open its secret fastening. Take out the lapis-lazuli tablet. Read aloud from it.
Read how Gilgamesh fared many hardships
Surpassing all kings, great in respect, a lord in his form
He is the hero, He is of Uruk, He, the butting bull
He leads the Way, He, the Foremost, He also marches at the rear, a helper to his brothers
He is the Great Net, protector of his men. He is the furious flood-wave,
Who destroys even stone walls. The offspring of Lugulbanda, Gilgamesh is perfect in strength
The son of the revered Cow, of the woman Rimat-Ninsun. Gilgamesh inspires perfect awe. He opened the mountain passes, he dug the well on the mountain's flank.
He crossed to the far shore, traversed the vast sea to the rising Sun. He explored the rim, sought life without death. By his strength he reached Ziusudra the Faraway
He who restored living things to their places
Those which the Flood had destroyed
Amidst the teeming peoples,
Who is there to compare with him in kingship?
Who like Gilgamesh can say:
'I am king indeed?'

“His name was called Gilgamesh
From the very day of his birth,
He was two-thirds god, one third man,
The Great Goddess Aruru designed him, planned his body, prepared his form
A perfect body the gods gave
For the creation of Gilgamesh
Shamash the Sun gave beauty
Adad the Storm gave courage
And so he surpassed all others.
He was two-thirds god, one third man,
The form of his body no one can match
Eleven cubits high he is, nine spans his chest
As he turns to see the lands all around him.
But he comes to the city of Uruk.
Long was his journey, weary, worn down by his labours
He inscribed upon a stone when he returned
This story.

Gilgamesh and Agga of Kish

Gilgamesh ignores the elders and goes to war against Agga of Kish: Gilgamesh looses: “1-14: Envoys of Aga, the son of En-me-barage-si, came from Kic to Gilgamesh in Unug. Gilgamesh presented the issue before the elders of his city, carefully choosing his words: "There are wells to be finished, many wells of the Land yet to be finished; there are shallow wells of the Land yet to be finished, there are wells to deepen and hoisting gear to be completed. We should not submit to the house of Kic! Should we not smite it with weapons?" In the convened assembly, his city's elders answered Gilgamesh: "There are indeed wells to be finished, many wells of the Land yet to be finished; there are shallow wells of the Land yet to be finished, there are wells to deepen and hoisting gear to be completed. So we should submit to the house of Kic. We should not smite it with weapons!" [Source: J.A. Black, G. Cunningham, E. Robson, and G. Zlyomi 1998, 1999, 2000, Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature, Oxford University, piney.com]


Summerian King List listing both Gilgamesh and Agga of Kish

15-29: “Gilgamesh, the lord of Kulaba, placing his trust in Inana, did not take seriously the advice of his city's elders. Gilgamesh presented the issue again, this time before the able-bodied men of his city, carefully choosing his words: "There are wells to be finished, many wells of the Land yet to be finished; there are shallow wells of the Land yet to be finished, there are wells to deepen and hoisting gear to be completed. Never before have you submitted to the house of Kic. Should you not smite it with weapons?" In the convened assembly, his city's able-bodied men answered Gilgamesh: ""Standing on duty and sitting in attendance, escorting the king's son, and forever grasping the donkey's reins -- who has that much breath?", as the saying goes. You old men should not submit to the house of Kic! Should we young men not smite it with weapons?

30-47: "The great gods created the structure of Unug, the handiwork of the gods, and of E-ana, the house lowered down from heaven. You watch over the great rampart, the rampart which An founded, the majestic residence which An established. You are its king and warrior, an exuberant person, a prince beloved of An. When Aga comes, what terror he will experience! That army is small, and scattered at the rear. Its men will be incapable of confronting us." Then Gilgamesh, the lord of Kulaba, rejoiced at the advice of his city's able-bodied men and his spirit brightened. He addressed his servant Enkidu: "On this account let the weaponry and arms of battle be made ready. Let the battle mace return to your side. May they create a great terror and radiance. When he comes, my great fearsomeness will overwhelm him. His reasoning will become confused and his judgment disarrayed."

48-69: “Not five, not ten days had passed when Aga, the son of En-me-barage-si, laid siege to Unug with his men. Unug's reasoning became confused. Gilgamesh, the lord of Kulaba, addressed its warriors: "My warriors shall have the choice. Let someone with courage volunteer "I shall go to Aga"." Birhur-tura, his royal guard, spoke in admiration to his king: "I shall go to Aga so that his reasoning will become confused and his judgment disarrayed." Birhur-tura went out through the city gate. As soon as Birhur-tura went out through the city gate, they captured him at the gate's entrance, and then beat Birhur-tura's entire length. He came into the presence of Aga and then spoke to Aga. Before he had finished speaking, an officer of Unug climbed up on the rampart and leaned out over the rampart. Aga saw him and then spoke to Birhur-tura: "Slave, is that man your king?"

70-89: "That man is not my king! Were that man my king, were that his angry brow, were those his bison eyes, were that his lapis lazuli beard, were those his elegant fingers, would he not cast down multitudes, would he not raise up multitudes, would multitudes not be smeared with dust, would not all the nations be overwhelmed, would not the land's canal-mouths be filled with silt, would not the barges' prows be broken, and would he not take Aga, the king of Kic, captive in the midst of his army?" They hit him, they struck him. They beat Birhur-tura's entire length. Gilgamesh climbed up on the rampart after the officer of Unug. His radiance overwhelmed Kulaba's young and old. He armed Unug's able-bodied men with battle maces and stationed them on the causeway at the city gate's door. Only Enkidu went out through the city gate. Gilgamesh leaned out over the rampart. Looking up, Aga saw him: "Slave, is that man your king?"

92-115 "That man is indeed my king." It was just as he had said: Gilgamesh cast down multitudes, he raised up multitudes, multitudes were smeared with dust, all the nations were overwhelmed, the land's canal-mouths were filled with silt, the barges' prows were broken, and he took Aga, the king of Kic, captive in the midst of his army. Gilgamesh, the lord of Kulaba, spoke to Aga: "Aga my overseer, Aga my lieutenant, Aga my military commander! Aga gave me breath, Aga gave me life: Aga took a fugitive into his embrace, Aga provided the fleeing bird with grain." (The able-bodied men acclaim Gilgamesh:) "You watch over Unug, the handiwork of the gods, the great rampart, the rampart which An founded, the majestic residence which An established. You are its king and warrior, an exuberant person, a prince beloved of An." (Gilgamesh addresses Aga:) "Before Utu, your former kindness is hereby repaid to you.'" He set Aga free to go to Kic....O Gilgamesh, lord of Kulaba, praising you is sweet.

Tablet 1 of Gilgamesh: Creation of Gilgamesh’s Friend Enkidu


Maybe Enkidu, maybe Gilgamesh

Because Gilgamesh is too energetic for the people of Uruk, the gods decide to create a partner for him: In Tablet 1 of the Babylonian Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh’s mother, the goddess Aruru, creates such a companion: the wild man Enkidu, who runs with the animals on the steppe. Enkidu is first tamed and made human by a temple harlot. Then he is taken to Uruk, where he wrestles with Gilgamesh. The match is a draw and the two become inseparable companions.
Out I went, into the world, but there was none better, none whom he, Gilgamesh, could not best.
And so, with his arms, he returned to Uruk. But in their houses, the men of Uruk muttered:
'Gilgamesh, noisy Gilgamesh! Arrogant Gilgamesh!'
All young men gone - Defeated by Gilgamesh, and no son was left to his father.
All young girls made women by Gilgamesh
His lusts are such, and no virgin left to her lover!
Not the daughter of a warrior,
Nor the wife of a nobleman!
Yet he is king and should be
The people's careful shepherd.
He is king and should be
Shepherd of the city.
He is wise, he is handsome, he is firm as a rock.
In heaven the gods heard
Heard the lament of the people, [Source: Robert Temple translation, verse version of the Epic of Gilgamesh by Robert Temple, Rider, an imprint of Random Century Group Ltda, 1991, Gates of Babylon]

“And the gods cried out to the Great God, higher king of Uruk:
'Strong as a wild bull is this Gilgamesh
So he was made by Aruru, the godess
None there is who can - not one
None who can survivea him in fighting.
No son left to his father.
Gilgamesh, he takes them all, and is he
He the king? Shepherd of the people?
No virgin left to her lover, For he lusts strongly!
No, nor the wife of the nobleman!
The Great God heard this, then
To the Goddess of Creation, Aruru -
Cried all the gods:
'You created this Gilgamesh! Well, create him his equal!
Let him look as into mirrors - Give a second self to him, yes;
Rushing winds meet rushing winds!
Let them flow heart to heart against -
Give them each other to fight,
Leaving Uruk in peace!'

“So the Goddess of Creation took and formed in her mind
This image, and there it was conceived -
in her mind, and it was made of material
That composes the Great God,
He of the Firmament.
She then plunged her hands down into water and pinched off a little clay. She let it drop in the wilderness
Thus the noble Enkidu was made. For this was he the very strength of Ninurta, the God of War, was his form, rough bodied, long hair,

Enkidu, the Wild Man


Enkidu and the Lion

Enkidu’s “hair waved like corn filaments -
Yes, like the hair of that goddess
Who is the corn, she , Nisaba. Matted hair was all over his body, like the skins of the cattle.
Yes, like the body of that god.
Who is the cattle, he, Samugan.
This Enkidu was innocent of mankind.
He knew not the cultivated land.
Enkidu ate grass in the hills with the gazelle
Jostled with wild beasts at the water-holes;
He had joy of the water with the herds of wild game. [Source: S. Dalley, Myths from Mesopotamia (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), pp. 52-56, 138-39, piney.com]

“But there was a trapper who met him one day
Face to face at the drinking-hole,
For the wild game had entered his territory.
On three days he met him face to face, and the trapper was frozen with fear.
He went back to his house with the game he had caught,
He was dumb, frozen with fear.
His face was changed like that of someone who has made a long journey.
With awe in his heart he spoke to his father:
"Father, there is a man, unlike any other, who comes down from the hills.
He is the strongest in the world, he is like an immortal from heaven.
He ranges over the hills with wild beasts and eats grass;
He ranges through your land and comes down to the wells.
I am afraid and dare not go near him.
He fills in the pits which I dig and tears up my traps set for the game;
He helps the beasts escape and now they slip through my fingers."

“The hunter made his voice heard and spoke, he said to his father,
"Father, there was a young man who came from the mountain,
On the land he was strong, he was powerful.
His strength was very hard, like a sky-bolt of Anu.
He walks on the mountain all the time,
All the time he eats vegetation with cattle,
All the time he puts his feet in the water at the watering place.
I am too frightened to approach him.
He kept filling in the pits that I dug,
He kept pulling out the traps that I laid.
He kept helping cattle, wild beasts of open country, to escape my grasp.
He will not allow me to work in open country."

Robert Graves and Raphael Pitai wrote in “Hebrew Myths”: “.Primeval man was held by the Babylonians to have been androgynous. Thus the Gilgamesh Epic gives Enkidu androgynous features: 'the hair of his head like a woman's, with locks that sprout like those of Nisaba, the Grain-goddess.' The Hebrew tradition evidently derives from the Greek sources, because both the terms in a Tannaitic midrash to describe the bisexual Adam are Greek: androgynos, 'man-woman', and diprosopon, 'two-faced'. Philo of Alexandria, the hellenistic philosopher and commentator on the Bible, contemporary with Jesus, held that man was at first bisexual; so did the Gnostics. This belief is clearly borrowed form Plato. Yet the belief of two bodies placed back to back may well have been founded on observaation of Siamese twins, which are sometimes joined in this awkward manner. The two-faced Adam appears to be a fancy derived from coins or statues of Janus, the Roman New Year god. [Source: Robert Graves and Raphael Pitai, “Hebrew Myths,” Greenwich House, 1983]

How to Bring Enkidu Under Control


Syrian relief of two heros fighting, maybe Enkidu and Gilgamesh

The Epic of Gilgamesh continues: “His father spoke to him, to the hunter,
"... Uruk, Gilgamesh.
... his open country.
His strength is very hard, like a sky-bolt of Anu
Go, set your face towards Uruk.
... the strength of a man,
... lead her forth, and
... the strong man.
When he approaches the cattle at the watering place,
She must take off her clothes and reveal her attractions.
He will see her and go close to her.
Then his cattle, who have grown up in open country with him, will become
alien to him."
He listened to the advice of his father.
The hunter went off to see Gilgamesh.
He took the road, set his face towards Uruk,
Entered the presence of Gilgamesh, and said: [Source: S. Dalley, Myths from Mesopotamia (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), pp. 52-56, 138-39, piney.com]

“"There was a young man who came from the mountain,
On the land he was strong, he was powerful.
His strength is very hard, like a sky-bolt of Anu.
He walks on the mountain all the time,
All the time he eats vegetation with cattle,
All the time he puts his feet in the water at the watering place.
I am too frightened to approach him.
He kept filling in the pits that I dug,
He kept pulling out the traps that I laid.
He kept helping cattle, wild beasts of open country, to escape my grasp.
He will not allow me to work in open country."

“Gilgamesh spoke to him, to the hunter,
"Go, hunter, lead forth the harlot Shamhat,
And when he approaches the cattle at the watering place,
She must take off her clothes and reveal her attractions.
He will see her and go close to her.
Then his cattle, who have grown up in open country with him, will become
alien to him."

Endiku Makes Love to the Harlot Shamhat


“The hunter went; he led forth the harlot Shamhat with him,
And they took the road, they made the journey.
In three days they reached the appointed place.
Hunter and harlot sat down in their hiding place.
For one day, then a second, they sat at the watering place.
Then cattle arrived at the watering place; they drank.
Then wild beasts arrived at the water; they satisfied their need. [Source: S. Dalley, Myths from Mesopotamia (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), pp. 52-56, 138-39, piney.com]

“And he, Enkidu, whose origin is the mountain,
Who eats vegetation with gazelles,
Drinks at the watering place with cattle,
Satisfied his need for water with wild beasts.
Shamhat looked at the primitive man,
The murderous youth from the depths of open country.

“"Here he is, Shamhat, bare your bosom,
Open your legs and let him take in your attractions!
Do not pull away, take wind of him!
He will see you and come close to you.
Spread open your garments, and let him lie upon you,
Do for him, the primitive man, as women do.
Then his cattle, who have grown up in open country with him,
will become alien to him.
His love-making he will lavish upon you!"

“Shamhat loosened her undergarments, opened her legs and he took in her attractions.
She did not pull away. She took wind of him,
Spread open her garments, and he lay upon her.
She did for him, the primitive man, as women do.
His love-making he lavished upon her.
For six days and seven nights Enkidu was aroused and poured himself into Shamhat.

Enkidu Becomes Civilized

“When he was sated with her charms,
He set his face towards the open country of his cattle.
The gazelles saw Enkidu and scattered,
The cattle of open country kept away from his body.
For Enkidu had stripped; his body was too clean.
His legs, which used to keep pace with his cattle, were at a standstill.
Enkidu had been diminished, he could not run as before.
Yet he had acquired judgment, had become wiser.
He turned back, he sat at the harlot's feet.
The harlot was looking at his expression,
And he listened attentively to what the harlot said.
The harlot spoke to him, to Enkidu, [Source: S. Dalley, Myths from Mesopotamia (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), pp. 52-56, 138-39, piney.com]

"You have become wise Enkidu, you have become like a god.
Why should you roam open country with wild beasts?
Come, let me take you into Uruk the Sheepfold,
To the pure house, the dwelling of Anu and Ishtar,
Where Gilgamesh is perfect in strength,
And is like a wild bull, more powerful than any of the people."
She spoke to him, and her speech was acceptable.

(The earlier Old Babylonian version continues the narrative.)

“The woman's suggestions
Penetrated his heart.
She took off her garments,
Clothed him in one,
Dressed herself
In a second garment,
Took his hand,
Like a goddess led him
To a shepherd's hut
Where there was a sheep-pen.
The shepherds gathered over him
. . . . . . .
He used to suck the milk
Of wild animals.
They put food in front of him.
He narrowed his eyes, and looked,
Then stared.
Enkidu knew nothing
Of eating bread,
Of drinking beer.
He had never learned.
The harlot made her voice heard
And spoke to Enkidu,

"Eat the food, Enkidu,
The symbol of life.
Drink the beer, destiny of the land."

Enkidu ate the bread
Until he had had enough.
He drank the beer,
Seven whole jars,
Relaxed, felt joyful.
His heart rejoiced,
His face beamed,
He smeared himself with ...
His body was hairy.
He anointed himself with oil
And became like any man,
Put on clothes.
He was like a warrior,
Took his weapon,
Fought with lions.
The shepherds could rest at night;
He beat off wolves,
Drove off lions.
The older herdsmen lay down;
Enkidu was their guard,
A man wake.

Gilgamesh Seeks the Huwawa

Mircea Eliade of the University of Chicago wrote: “One day, Gilgamesh, always looking for adventure, proposes that he and Enkidu travel to the distant cedar forest to kill Huwawa, its evil guardian. Enkidu protests that the journey is very dangerous and Huwawa very fierce, but Gilgamesh is determined and finally they set out. The undertaking is successful and the two are covered with glory. But Enkidu has already had premonitions of disaster. On their return to Uruk, the goddess Ishtar sees the beauty of Gilgamesh and proposes to him. He rejects her, reminding her of the fates of her previous lovers. She is furious and has Anu send the sacred bull of heaven to attack him. When Gilgamesh and Enkidu slay the bull, the gods become very angry-this is too presumptuous.

Gilgamesh and Huwawa, version A: “1-7 Now the lord once decided to set off for the mountain where the man lives; lord Gilgamec decided to set off for the mountain where the man lives. He spoke to his slave Enkidu: "Enkidu, since a man cannot pass beyond the final end of life, I want to set off into the mountains, to establish my renown there. Where renown can be established there, I will establish my renown; and where no renown can be established there, I shall establish the renown of the gods." [The Huwawa is known as as Hubaba; his name may mean 'the wicked one'] [Source: J.A. Black, G. Cunningham, E. Robson, and G. Zlyomi 1998, 1999, 2000, Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature, Oxford University, piney.com]


head of Humbaba (Huwawa)

“8-20 His slave Enkidu answered him: "My lord, if today you want to set off into the mountains, Utu should know about it from us. Utu, youthful Utu, should know about it from us. A decision that concerns the mountains is Utu's business. A decision that concerns the Mountains of Cedar-felling is the business of youthful Utu. Utu should know about it from us." Gilgamec prepared a white kid.He clasped a brown kid, a sacrificial animal, close to his breast. In his hand he held a holy staff before his nose, as he addressed Utu of heaven: "Utu, I want to set off into the mountains! May you be my helper! I want to set off into the Mountains of Cedar-felling! May you be my helper!" From heaven Utu replied to him: "Young man, you are noble already in your own right -- but what would you want with the mountains?"

“21-33 "Utu, I have something to say to you -- a word in your ear! I greet you -- please pay attention! In my city people are dying, and hearts are full of distress. People are lost -- that fills me with dismay. I craned my neck over the city wall: corpses in the water make the river almost overflow. That is what I see. That will happen to me too -- that is the way things go. No one is tall enough to reach heaven; no one can reach wide enough to stretch over the mountains. Since a man cannot pass beyond the final end of life, I want to set off into the mountains, to establish my renown there. Where renown can be established there, I will establish my renown; and where no renown can be established there, I shall establish the renown of the gods."

“34-47 Utu accepted his tears as a fitting gift. As befits a compassionate person, he turned to him full of compassion: "Now there are seven warriors, sons of a single mother. The first, their eldest brother, has lion's paws and eagle's talons. The second is a ...... snake, ....... The third is a dragon snake, ....... The fourth blazes with fire ....... The fifth is a ...... snake, ....... The sixth beats at the flanks of the mountainslike a battering flood The seventh ...... flashes like lightning, and no one can deflect it... They should guide you through the mountain valleys!The warrior, youthful Utu, gave these seven to Gilgamec. The feller of cedars was filled with joy; lord Gilgamec was filled with joy.

“48-60 In his city he had the horn sounded for single men; similarly for two together he made them call out. "Let him who has a household go to his household! Let him who has a mother go to his mother! Let bachelor males, types like me, join me at my side!" Whoever had a household went to his household. Whoever had a mother went to his mother. Bachelor males, types like him -- there were fifty -- joined him at his side. He made his way to the blacksmith's, and had them cast ...... weapons and axes, the strength of warriors. Then he made his way to the deeply shaded plantations, where he had ebony trees felled, and halub trees, apricot trees, and box trees. He ...... to his fellow-citizens who were going with him. The first, their eldest brother, has lion's paws and eagle's claws. They will guide him through the mountain valleys.

“61-75 He crossed the first mountain range,but his intuition did not lead him to find the cedars there. When he had crossed the seventh mountain range, there his intuition led him to find the cedars. He did not need to ask, nor did he have to search any further. Lord Gilgamec began to chop at the cedars, while Enkidu lopped off their branches, ...... to Gilgamec. ...... stacked them in piles. He loosed his terrors against .......Gilgamec ...... was overcome by sleep, and it affected Enkidu ...... as a powerful longing. His fellow-citizens who had come with him flailed around at his feet like puppies. Enkidu awoke from his dream, shuddering from his sleep. He rubbed his eyes; there was eery silence everywhere. He touched Gilgamec, but could not rouse him. He spoke to him, but he did not reply.

“76-89 "You who have gone to sleep, you who have gone to sleep! Gilgamec, young lord of Kulaba, how long will you sleep for? The mountains are becoming indistinct as the shadows fall across them; the evening twilight lies over them. Proud Utu is already on his way to the bosom of his mother Ningal. Gilgamec, how long will you sleep for? The sons of your city who came with you should not have to wait at the foot of the hills. Their own mothers should not have to twine string in the square of your city.” He thrust that into his right ear; he covered him with his aggressive words as if with a cloth in his hand a cloth with thirty shekels of oil on it and smothered it over Gilgamec's chest. Then Gilgamec stood up like a bull on the great earth. Bending his neck downwards, he yelled at him:

“90-106 "By the life of my own mother Ninsun and of my father, holy Lugalbanda! Am I to become again as if I were slumbering still on the lap of my own mother Ninsun?" A second time he spoke to him: "By the life of my own mother Ninsun and of my father, holy Lugalbanda! Until I discover whether that person was a human or a god, I shall not direct back to the city my steps which I have directed to the mountains." The slave, trying to ameliorate the situation, trying to make life appear more attractive, answered his master: "My master, you have not yet really seen that person, he should not vex you. -- But he vexes me -- me, who have seen him before. His pugnacious mouth is a dragon's maw; his face is a lion's grimace. His chest is like a raging flood; no onedare approach his brow, which devours the reed-beds. Travel on, my master, up into the mountains! -- but I shall travel back to the city. If I say to your mother about you "He is alive!", she will laugh. But afterwards I shall say to her about you "He is dead!", and she will certainly weepover you."

“107-120 "Look, Enkidu, two people together will not perish! A grappling-pole does not sink! No one can cut through a three-ply cloth! Water cannot wash someone away from a wall! Fire in a reed house cannot be extinguished! You help me, and I will help you -- what can anyone do against us then? When it sank, when it sank, when the Magan boat sank, when the magilum barge sank, then at least the life-saving grappling-pole of the boatwas rescued! Come on, let's get after him and get a sight of him! "If we go after him, there will be terror! There will be terror. Turn back! Is it advisable? Is it advisable? Turn back!""Whatever you may think -- come on, let's get after him!”

Gilgamesh and Enkidu Defeats the Huwawa

“121-135 Before a man can approach within even sixty times six yards, Huwawa has already reached his house among the cedars. When he looks at someone, it is the look of death. When he shakes his head at someone, it is a gesture full of reproach. "You may still be a young man, but you will never again return to the city of your mother who bore you!" Fear and terror spread through his sinews and his feet. He could not move his feet on the ground; the big toenails of his feet stuck ...... to the path . At his side .......(Huwawa addressed Gilgamec:) "So come on now, you heroic bearer of a sceptre of wide-ranging power! Noble glory of the gods, angry bull standing ready for a fight! Your mother knew well how to bear sons, and your nurse knew well how to nourish children on the breast! Don't be afraid, rest your hand on the ground! [Source: J.A. Black, G. Cunningham, E. Robson, and G. Zlyomi 1998, 1999, 2000, Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature, Oxford University, piney.com]

“136-148 Gilgamec rested his hand on the ground, and addressed Huwawa: "By the life of my own mother Ninsun and of my father, holy Lugalbanda! No one really knows where in the mountains you live; they would like to know where in the mountains you live. Here, I have brought you En-me-barage-si, my big sister, to be your wife in the mountains." And again he addressed him: "By the life of my mother Ninsun and of my father, holy Lugalbanda! No one really knows where in the mountains you live; they would like to know where in the mountains you live. Here, I have brought you Ma-tur, my little sister, to be your concubine in the mountains. Just hand over your terrors to me! I want to become your kinsman!" Then Huwawa handed over to him his first terror. Gilgamec's fellow-citizens who had come with him began to lop off the branches and bundle them together, so as to lay them down at the foot of the hills.

“148A-148K And again he addressed him: "By the life of my mother Ninsun and of my father, holy Lugalbanda! No one really knows where in the mountains you live; they would like to know where in the mountains you live. Here, I have brought to the mountains for you ....... Couldn't I get close to you and your family? Just hand over your terrors to me! I want to become your kinsman! "Then Huwawa handed over to him his second terror. Gilgamec's fellow-citizens who had come with him began to lop off the branches and bundle them together, so as to lay them down at the foot of the hills.

“148L-148V And a third time he addressed him: "By the life of my mother Ninsun and of my father, holy Lugalbanda! No one really knows where in the mountains you live; they would like to know where in the mountains you live. Here, I have brought to the mountains for you some eca flour -- the food of the gods! -- and a waterskin of cool water. Couldn't I get close to you and your family? Just hand over your terrors to me! I want to become your kinsman! "Then Huwawa handed over to him his third terror. Gilgamec's fellow-citizens who had come with him began to lop off the branches and bundle them together, so as to lay them down at the foot of the hills.

“148W-148FF And a fourth time he addressed him: "By the life of my mother Ninsun and of my father, holy Lugalbanda! No one really knows where in the mountains you live; they would like to know where in the mountains you live. Here, I have brought to the mountains for you some big shoes for big feet. Couldn't I get close to you and your family? Just hand over your terrors to me! I want to become your kinsman! " Then Huwawa handed over to him his fourth terror. Gilgamec's fellow-citizens who had come with him began to lop off the branches and bundle them together, so as to lay them down at the foot of the hills.


Humbaba

“148GG-148PP And a fifth time he addressed him: "By the life of my mother Ninsun and of my father, holy Lugalbanda! No one really knows where in the mountains you live; they would like to know where in the mountains you live. Here, I have brought to the mountains for you some tiny shoes for your tiny feet. Couldn't I get close to you and your family? Just hand over your terrors to me! I want to become your kinsman! " Then Huwawa handed over to him his fifth terror. Gilgamec's fellow-citizens who had come with him began to lop off the branches and bundle them together, so as to lay them down at the foot of the hills.

“148QQ-148AAA And a sixth time he addressed him: "By the life of my mother Ninsun and of my father, holy Lugalbanda! No one really knows where in the mountains you live; they would like to know where in the mountains you live. Here, I have brought you rock-crystal, nir stone and lapis lazuli -- from the mountains. Couldn't I get close to you and your family? Just hand over your terrors to me! I want to become your kinsman! " Then Huwawa handed over to him his sixth terror. Gilgamec's fellow-citizens who had come with him began to lop off the branches and bundle them together, so as to lay them down at the foot of the hills.)

“149-162 When Huwawa had finally handed over to him his seventh terror, Gilgamec found himself beside Huwawa. Hewent up to him gradually from behind, as one does with a ...... snake. He made as if to kiss him, but then punched him on the cheek with his fist. Huwawa bared his teeth at him. He threw a halter over him as over a captured wild bull. He tied up his arms like a captured man. He tugged at Gilgamec's hand. "I want to talk to Utu! ""Utu, I never knew a mother who bore me, nor a father who brought me up! I was born in the mountains -- you brought me up! Yet Gilgamec swore to me by heaven, by earth, and by the mountains." Huwawa clutched at Gilgamec's hand, and prostrated himself before him. Then Gilgamec's noble heart took pity on him. Gilgamec addressed Enkidu: "Enkidu, let the captured bird run away home! Let the captured man return to his mother's embrace!

“163-174 Enkidu replied to Gilgamec "Come on now, you heroic bearer of a sceptre of wide-ranging power! Noble glory of the gods, angry bull standing ready for a fight! Young lord Gilgamec, cherished in Unug, your mother knew well how to bear sons, and your nurse knew well how to nourish children! -- One so exalted and yet so lacking in understanding will be devoured by fate without him ever understanding that fate. The very idea that a captured bird should run away home, or a captured man should return to his mother's embrace! -- Then you yourself would never get back to the mother-city that bore you!

“175-192 Huwawa addressed Enkidu: "Enkidu, you speak such hatefulyou speak such hateful words to him." As Huwawa spoke thus to him, Enkidu, full of rage and anger, cut his throat..He put He chucked his head in a leather bag. They entered before Enlil. After they had kissed the ground before Enlil, they threw the leather bag down, tipped out his head, and placed it before Enlil. When Enlil saw the head of Huwawa, he spoke angrily to Gilgamec: "Why did you act in this way?...... did you act ......? He should have eaten the bread that you eat, and should have drunk the water that you drink!He should have been honoured ...... you!

“193-202 He gave Huwawa's first aura to the fields. He gave his second aura to the rivers. He gave his third aura to the reed-beds. He gave his fourth aura to the lions. He gave his fifth aura to the palace. He gave his sixth aura to the forests. He gave his seventh aura to Nungal (the goddess of prisoners) . .... his terror ...... Mighty one, Gilgamec,who is cherished!”

Ishtar Wants Gilgamesh for a Lover, Gilgamesh Refuses


Ishtar

Tablet VI, col. 1 of the “Epic of Gilgamesh” reads: "To Gilgamesh's beauty Great ISHTAR [Astarte-Aphrodite] lifted her eyes. `Come, Gilgamesh, be my lover! Give me the taste of your body. Would that you were my husband, and I were your wife! I'd order harnessed for you a chariot of lapis lazuli and gold, its wheels of gold and its horns of precious amber. You will drive storm demons--powerful mules! Enter our House, into the sweet scent of cedarwood. As you enter our House, the Purification Priests will kiss your feet the way they do in Aratta. Kings, rulers, princes will bend down before you. Mountains and lands will bring their yield to you. Your goats will drop triplets, your ewes twins. Even loaded down, your donkey will overtake the mule. Your horses will win fame for their running. Your ox under its yoke will have no rival!' [Source: CSUN, Powell, Classical Myth, pp. 62; 247-249; 334-336]

“Gilgamesh shaped his mouth to speak, saying to Great Ishtar: `What could I give you if I should take you as a wife? Would I give you oil for the body, and fine wrappings? Would I give you bread and food? You who eat the food of the gods, you who drink the wine fit for royalty! For you they pour out libations. You are clothed with the Great Garment! Ah, the gap between us, if I take you in marriage.

“'You are a cooking fire that goes out in the cold; a back door that keeps out neither wind nor storm; a palace that crushes the brave ones defending it; a well whose lid collapses; pitch that dirties one who is carrying it; a waterskin that soaks the one who lifts it; limestone that crumbles in the stone wall; a battering-ram that shatters in the land of the enemy; a shoe that pinches the owner's foot!

'Which of your lovers have you loved forever? Which of your Little Shepherds has continued to please you? Come, let me name your lovers for you! ... (col. 2:) ... for Tammuz, the lover of your youth. Year after year you set up a wailing for him. You loved the mauve-colored `shepherd bird': but you seized him and broke his wing .... So you would love me in my turn, and, as with them, set my fate...."

Gilgamesh and the Bull of Heaven

In The Epic of Gilgamesh, Inanna (Ishtar) is the prototypical usurping woman who demands to have all religious and secular authority. She usually seduces or gets the authorities drunk or just creates a great fury. In this episode, furious that Gilgamesh rejected her, she goes to An, the god of heaven, and demands the bull of heaven do battle against Gilgamesh.

“I will sing the song of the man of battle, the man of battle. I will sing the song of lord Gilgamec, the man of battle, I will sing the song of him with the well-proportioned limbs, the man of battle. I will sing the song of the mighty ...... lord, the man of battle. I will sing the song of the lord with the very black beard, the man of battle. I will sing the song of ...... athletic strength, the man of battle. ...... the king, the man ......; my king ......, my lord ...... garden ....... ...... courtyard, ...... jipar;[Source: J.A. Black, G. Cunningham, E. Robson, and G. Zlyomi 1998, 1999, 2000, Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature, Oxford University, piney.com]

In the great courtyard, without there being any combat, a man ....... She perceived the canopy, the canopy ......, holy Inana perceived the canopy, from the palace of the abzu, she perceived the canopy ......:"My wild bull, my ...... man, I shall not let you go! Lord Gilgamec, my wild bull, my ...... man, I shall not let you go! I shall not let you go to dispense justice in the E-ana! I shall not let you go to pronounce verdicts in my holy jipar! I shall not let you go to dispense justice in the E-ana beloved by An! Gilgamec, may you be ......, may you be ......!"

(Gilgamec speaks:) "I shall certainly not try to take over the portion of Inana in your jipar. Ninegal will not ...... because of my valorous strength. But Inana, lady, don't you block my way, either! My wish is to catch mountain bulls, to fill the cow-pens. I wish to catch mountain sheep, to fill the sheepfolds. I wish to ...... silver and cornelian." The queen spoke with a snort; Inana spoke with a snort: "...... say to you. ...... say to you. ......, Gilgamec." [7 lines damaged] (An speaks:) "Its entrails ....... Its hide ....... Its blood ......." "Inana, it will muddy the waters; it will ...... cowpats. My one beloved by An, ......." He let her hold the leash. An ....... "My child, who does it belong to?" "It will stir up the waters, it will leave ...... cowpats ......! If the great bull is let loose, ...... Unug! If the great bull is let loose against Gilgamec, ...... Unug! I will not give her that which bears my own name."

Havoc Caused by Inana and the Bull of Heaven


Enkidu and the Bull of Heaven

Everyone is afraid of Inana’s violent disposition so she gets the bull. Unfortunately, he is a real "bull in the china shop" and consumes all of the water and food.

(Inana speaks:) "Maybe it will muddy the waters, and will leave gigantic cowpats -- but let my father give me the Bull of Heaven, so I can kill the lord, so I can kill the lord, so I can kill the lord, lord Gilgamec!" Great An replied to holy Inana: "My child, the Bull of Heaven would not have any pasture, as its pasture is on the horizon. Maiden Inana, the Bull of Heaven can only graze where the sun rises. So I cannot give the Bull of Heaven to you!"

Holy Inana replied to him: "I shall shout, and make my voice reach heaven and earth!" He was frightened, he was frightened. Great An replied to holy Inana: "I shall give her the Bull of Heaven." In masculine fashion, the maiden Inana grasped it by the lapis-lazuli tether. Holy Inana brought the Bull of Heaven out. At Unug, the Bull devoured the pasture, and drank the water of the river in great slurps. With each slurp it used up one mile of the river, but its thirst was not satisfied. It devoured the pasture and stripped the land bare. It broke up the palm trees of Unug, as it bent them to fit them into its mouth. When it was standing, the Bull submerged Unug. The very presence of the Bull of Heaven submerged Kulaba....

Lord Gilgamec ....... Inana ...... the Bull of Heaven. At Unug, the Bull ......, and drank the water of the river in great slurps. With each slurp it used up one mile of the river, but its thirst was not satisfied. It devoured the pasture and stripped the land bare..."They will throw your corpse in the deserted streets, and throw your intestines in the broad square. They will send your carcass to the knacker's, and I shall share out your meat in baskets to the widows' sons who are citizens of my city ....... I shall make flasks of your two horns for pouring fine oil to Inana in E-ana."

Inana watched from the top of the ramparts. The Bull Lugal-gabajal in the dust, and Gilgamec walked at its head as Enkidu climbed up the rope of its ....... Their fellow-citizens came along ....... It covered them with dust, like a young calf unused to the yoke. Enkidu stood behind the Bull and went round ..... He spoke to his master Gilgamec: "Ho! magnificent one, extending your staff of office, born of noble lineage, splendour of the gods, furious bull standing ready for battle, who is respected as the great lord Gilgamec of Unug! Your mother was truly skilled in bearing children, and your nurse was truly skilled in suckling her charges! Do not fear -- the warrior without strength ...... himself . There where the road is straight ....... ...... axe ....... "

Gilgamesh Destroys the Bull of Heaven


A version from Me-Turan: “I will sing the song of the man of battle, the man of battle. I will sing the song of lord Gilgamec, the man of battle, I will sing the song of the lord with the very black beard, the man of battle. I will sing the song of him with the well-proportioned limbs, the man of battle. I will sing the song of him in his prime , the man of battle. I will sing the song of him who batters the wicked, the man of battle. The king, the lord, having ...... as his mother who bore him ......, wishing to wash in the river.

My lord, entering the garden planted with junipers, as you set to work; the lord, coming from the jipar, sheared the wool of the fleecy sheep ......; ...... he sat down ....... The king ...... bending ...... with the oar; the prince covered ...... with the oar, as if it was of flourishing reed. You covered their wicked ones, as if ......, with water. He gave ...... to his mother who bore him. In the wide courtyard ..... Then ...... the canopy ....... Holy Inana perceived the canopy, from the palace of the abzu, she perceived the canopy: "My wild bull, my man, I shall not let you ......! Gilgamec, I shall not let you ......! I shall not let you dispense justice in my E-ana! I shall not let you pronounce verdicts in my holy jipar! I shall not let you dispense justice in the E-ana beloved by An! Gilgamec, may you ......, may I ......."

The king ...... these words, the king ...... to his mother who bore him. Gilgamec ...... to Ninsun ......: "O mother who bore me, how ......! By the door of the great gate ...... From the crenellations of the wall ......: "My wild bull, my man, I shall not let you go ......! Gilgamec, I shall not let you go ......! You dispensed justice in my E-ana -- I shall not let you go! You pronounced verdicts in my holy jipar -- I shall not let you go, in his beloved ...... E-ana!"

"My musician, Lugal-gabajar, perform your song, tune your strings! Give me beer to drink! Fill my bronze jug again! ......"Lugal-gabajar replied to his master, Gilgamec: "My master, you may eat, and you may drink -- but as for me, how does this matter concern me?" To defeat the Bull, ......, Gilgamec, to defeat the Bull, ....... ...... his harness of fifty (text: five-sixths) minas. ...... his sword weighing seven talents and thirty minas. ...... his battle axe. "My mother who bore me ......." His sister ....... His mother who bore him ...... Pectur, his little sister ....... Gilgamec ...... "My mother who bore me, in the house of Enki ....... Pectur, the little sister, ......, will bring back the cattle to their tethering stakes ......, will bring back the sheep to their tethering stakes ......."

"Bull of Heaven, you -- you, ......, yes, you! You crush them ......, and I crush them ....... If you crush them, ...... They shall consign your hide to the streets ....... They shall consign your intestines to the broad square ....... The widows' sons of my city shall each take their share of your meat in baskets. They shall consign your carcass to the knacker's, and I shall turn your two horns into flasks for pouring fine oil to Inana in E-ana."

The Bull ...... in the dust. Gilgamec ...... and Enkidu ....... Their fellow-citizens ....... ...... with dust, like a young calf unused to the yoke. Enkidu stood by the Bull's head and spoke to Gilgamec: "Ho! magnificent one, extending your staff of office, born of noble lineage, splendour of the gods, furious-hearted bull, standing ready for battle, warrior, ...... your hand ....... The people ......, the people ......."

When Enkidu had spoken thus to Gilgamec, Gilgamec himself smote its skull with his axe weighing seven talents. The Bull reared up so high, so high that it overbalanced. It spattered like rain, it spread itself out like the harvested crop. The king took his knife in his hand, just as if he were a master chef. He hit Inana with a haunch, he made her flee away like a pigeon, and demolished those ramparts. Standing by the Bull's head, the king wept bitter tears: "Just as I can destroy you, so shall I do the same to her ."

As he spoke, he consigned its hide to the streets, he consigned its intestines to the broad square, and the widows' sons of his city each took their share of its meat in baskets. He consigned its carcass to the knacker's, and turned its two horns into flasks for pouring fine oil to Inana in E-ana. For the death of the Bull of Heaven: holy Inana, it is sweet to praise you!

Enkidu's Death

When Gilgamesh and Enkidu slay the bull, the gods become very angry-this is too presumptuous. As punishment, Enkidu must die. The “Epic of Gilgamesh” reads: “As Enkidu slept alone in his sickness, in bitterness of spirit he poured out his heart to his friend [Gilgamesh]. 'Listen, my friend, this is the dream I dreamed last night. The heavens roared, and earth rumbled back an answer; between them stood I before an awful being, the somber-faced man-bird; he had directed on me his purpose. His was vampire face, his foot was a lion's foot, his hand was an eagle's talon. He fell on me and his claws were in my hair, he held me fast and I smothered; then he transformed me so that my arms became wings covered with feathers. He turned his stare towards me, and he led me away to the palace of Irkalla, the Queen of Darkness, to the house from which none who enters ever returns, down the road from which there is no coming back. [Source: The Epic of Gilgamesh trans., Nancy Sandars (New York: Penguin Books, 1960): 86-93, [Source: Internet Archive, from CCNY]

“There is the house whose people sit in darkness dust is their food and clay their meat. They are clothed like birds with wings for covering, they see no light, they sit in darkness. I entered the house of dust and I saw the kings of the earth, their crowns put away forever; rulers and princes. all those who once wore kingly crowns and ruled the world in the days of old. They who had stood in the place of the gods like Anu and Enlil. stood now like servants to fetch baked meats in the house of dust, to carry cooked meat and cold water from the water-skin. In the house of dust which I entered were high priests and acolytes, priests of the incantation and of ecstasy; there were servers of the temple, and there was Etana, that king of Kish whom the eagle carried to heaven in the days of old.

“I saw also Samuqan, god of cattle, and there was Eresshkigal the Queen of the Underworld; and Belit-Sheri squatted in front of her, she who recorder of the gods and keeps the book of death. She held a tablet form which she read. She raised her head, she saw me and spoke: 'Who has brought this one here?' Then I awoke like a man drained of blood who wanders alone in a waste of rushes; like one whom the bailiff had seized and his heart pounds with terror.

“This day on which Enkidu dreamed came to an end and he lay stricken with sickness. Ten days he lay and his suffering increased, eleven twelve days he lay on his bed of pain. When Gilgamesh touched his heart it did not beat. So Gilgamesh laid a veil, as one veils the bride, over his friend. He began to rage like a lion, like a lioness robbed of her whelps. This way and that he paced round the bed, he tore out his hair and strewed it around. He dragged off his splendid robes and flung them down as though they were abominations. Seven days and seven nights he wept for Enkidu, until the worm fastened on him. Only then he gave him up to the earth, for the Anunnaki, the judges, had seized him.”

Gilgamesh and Enkidu and the Nether World Planting the Hullupu Tree

Gilgamesh, Enkidu and the Nether World: Version A, from Nibru, Urim, and elsewhere: “1-26 In those days, in those distant days, in those nights, in those remote nights, in those years, in those distant years; in days of yore, when the necessary things had been brought into manifest existence, in days of yore, when the necessary things had been for the first time properly cared for, when bread had been tasted for the first time in the shrines of the Land, when the ovens of the Land had been made to work, when the heavens had been separated from the earth, when the earth had been delimited from the heavens, when the fame of mankind had been established, when An had taken the heavens for himself, when Enlil had taken the earth for himself, when the nether world had been given to Erec-kigala as a gift; when he set sail, when he set sail, when the father set sail for the nether world, when Enki set sail for the nether world -- against the king a storm of small hailstones arose, against Enki a storm of large hailstones arose. The small ones were light hammers, the large ones were like stones from catapults . The keel of Enki's little boat was trembling as if it were being butted by turtles, the waves at the bow of the boat rose to devour the king like wolves and the waves at the stern of the boat were attacking Enki like a lion.

27-35 At that time, there was a single tree, a single halub tree,( Hullupu Tree) a single tree, growing on the bank of the pure Euphrates, being watered by the Euphrates. The force of the south wind uprooted it and stripped its branches, and the Euphrates picked it up and carried it away. A woman, respectful of An's words, was walking along; a woman, respectful of Enlil's words, was walking along, and took the tree and brought it into Unug, into Inana's luxuriant garden.

36-46 The woman planted the tree with her feet, but not with her hands. The woman watered it using her feet but not her hands. She said: "When will this be a luxuriant chair on which I can take a seat?" She said: "When this will be a luxuriant bed on which I can lie down?" Five years, ten years went by, the tree grew massive; its bark, however, did not split. At its roots, a snake immune to incantations made itself a nest. In its branches, the Anzud bird settled its young. In its trunk, the phantom maid built herself a dwelling, the maid who laughs with a joyful heart. But holy Inana cried!

47-69 When dawn was breaking, when the horizon became bright, when the little birds, at the break of dawn, began to clamour, when Utu had left his bedchamber, his sister holy Inana said to the young warrior Utu: "My brother, in those days when destiny was determined, when abundance overflowed in the Land, when An had taken the heavens for himself, when Enlil had taken the earth for himself, when the nether world had been given to Erec-kigala as a gift; when he set sail, when he set sail, when the father set sail for the nether world, when Enki set sail for the nether world -- against the lord a storm of small hailstones arose, against Enki a storm of large hailstones arose. The small ones were light hammers, the large ones were like stones from catapults . The keel of Enki's little boat was trembling as if it were being butted by turtles, the waves at the bow of the boat rose to devour the lord like wolves and the waves at the stern of the boat were attacking Enki like a lion.

70-78 "At that time, there was a single tree, a single halub tree, a single tree , growing on the bank of the pure Euphrates, being watered by the Euphrates. The force of the south wind uprooted it and stripped its branches, and the Euphrates picked it up and carried it away. I, a woman, respectful of An's words, was walking along; I, a woman, respectful of Enlil's words, was walking along, and took the tree and brought it into Unug, into holy Inana's luxuriant garden.

79-90 "I, the woman, planted the tree with my feet, but not with my hands. I, Inana, watered it using my feet but not my hands. She said: "When will this be a luxuriant chair on which I can take a seat?" She said: "When will this be a luxuriant bed on which I can lie down?" Five years, ten years had gone by, the tree had grown massive; its bark, however, did not split. At its roots, a snake immune to incantations made itself a nest. In its branches, the Anzud bird settled its young. In its trunk, the phantom maid built herself a dwelling, the maid who laughs with a joyful heart. But holy Inana cried!" Her brother, the young warrior Utu, however, did not stand by her in the matter.

91-113 When dawn was breaking, when the horizon became bright, when the little birds, at the break of dawn, began to clamour, when Utu had left his bedchamber, his sister holy Inana said to the warrior Gilgamesh: "My brother, in those days when destiny was determined, when abundance overflowed in the Land, when An had taken the heavens for himself, when Enlil had taken the earth for himself, when the nether world had been given to Erec-kigala as a gift; when he set sail, when he set sail, when the father set sail for the nether world, when Enki set sail for the nether world -- against the lord a storm of small hailstones arose, against Enki a storm of large hailstones arose. The small ones were light hammers, the large ones were like stones from catapults . The keel of Enki's little boat was trembling as if it were being butted by turtles, the waves at the bow of the boat rose to devour the lord like wolves and the waves at the stern of the boat were attacking Enki like a lion.

114-122"At that time, there was a single tree, a single halub tree, a single tree , growing on the bank of the pure Euphrates, being watered by the Euphrates. The force of the south wind uprooted it and stripped its branches, and the Euphrates picked it up and carried it away. I, a woman, respectful of An's words, was walking along; I, a woman, respectful of Enlil's words, was walking along, and took the tree and brought it into Unug, into Inana's luxuriant garden.


Huluppu Tree


Hullupu Tree Grows and Gilgamesh Kills the Snake in it

123-135 "The woman planted the tree with her feet, but not with her hands. Inana watered it using her feet but not her hands. She said: "When will this be a luxuriant chair on which I can take a seat?" She said: "When will this be a luxuriant bed on which I can lie down?" Five years, ten years had gone by, the tree had grown massive; its bark, however, did not split. At its roots, a snake immune to incantations made itself a nest. In its branches, the Anzud bird settled its young. In its trunk, the phantom maid built herself a dwelling, the maid who laughs with a joyful heart. But holy Inana cried!" In the matter which his sister had told him about, her brother, the warrior Gilgamesh, stood by her.

136-150 He strapped his ...... belt of 50 minas weight to his waist -- 50 minas were to him as 30 shekels. He took his bronze axe used for expeditions, which weighs seven talents and seven minas, in his hand. He killed the snake immune to incantations living at its roots. The Anzud bird living in its branches took up its young and went into the mountains. The phantom maid living in its trunk left her dwelling and sought refuge in the wilderness. As for the tree, he uprooted it and stripped its branches, and the sons of his city, who went with him, cut up its branches and bundled them. He gave it to his sister holy Inana for her chair. He gave it to her for her bed. As for himself, from its roots, he manufactured his ellag and, from its branches, he manufactured his ekidma (the correct pronunciation of this word is unknown) .

151-165 He played ellag in the broad square, never wanting to stop playing it, and he praised himself in the broad square, never wanting to stop praising himself. For him who made the team of the widows' children ......, they lamented: "O my neck! O my hips!" For those that had a mother, the mother brought bread for her son; for those that had a sister, the sister poured water for her brother. As the evening came, he marked the spot where the ellag had been placed, and he picked up his ellag from in front of him and took it home. But early in the morning as he ...... the place marked, the widows' accusation and the young girls' complaint caused his ellag and his ekidma to fall down to the bottom of the nether world. He tried with his hand but could not reach them, tried with his foot but could not reach them.

Gilgamesh Seeks Enkidu in the Nether World

166-175 At the gate of Ganzer, in front of the nether world, he sat down. Gilgamesh wept, crying bitterly: "O my ellag! O my ekidma! O my ellag, I am still not satiated with its charms, the game with it has not yet palled for me! If only my ellag waited still in the carpenter's house for me! I would treat the carpenter's wife like my own mother -- if only it waited still there for me! I would treat the carpenter's child like my little sister -- if only it waited still there for me! My ellag has fallen down to the nether world -- who will retrieve it for me? My ekidma has fallen down to Ganzer -- who will retrieve it for me?"

176-183 His servant Enkidu answered him: "My king, you weep; why does your heart worry? Today I shall retrieve your ellag from the nether world, I shall retrieve your ekidma from Ganzer." Gilgamesh answered Enkidu: "If today you are going to go down to the nether world, let me advise you! My instructions should be followed. Let me talk to you! Pay attention to my words!

184-204 "You should not put on your clean garments: they would recognise immediately that you are alien. You should not anoint yourself with fine oil from a bowl: they would surround you at its scent. You should not hurl throw-sticks in the nether world: those struck down by the throw-sticks would surround you. You should not not hold a cornel-wood stick in your hand: the spirits would feel insulted by you. You should not put sandals on your feet. You should not shout in the nether world. You should not kiss your beloved wife. You should not hit your wife even if you are annoyed with her. You should not kiss your beloved child. You should not hit your son even if you are annoyed with him. The outcry aroused would detain you in the nether world." "She who lies there, she who lies there, Ninazu's mother who lies there -- her pure shoulders are not covered with a garment, and no linen is spread over her pure breast. She has fingers like a pickaxe, she plucks her hair out like leeks."

205-220 Enkidu, however, did not heed not his master's words. He put on his clean garments and they recognised that he was alien. He anointed himself with fine oil from a bowl and they surrounded him at its scent. He hurled throw-sticks in the nether world and those struck down by the throw-sticks surrounded him. He held a cornel-wood stick in his hand and the spirits felt insulted by him. He put sandals on his feet. He caused irritation in the nether world. He kissed his beloved wife and hit his wife when he was annoyed with her. He kissed his beloved child and hit his son when he was annoyed with him. He aroused an outcry and was detained in the nether world.

221-229 Warrior Gilgamesh, son of Ninsumun, directed his steps on his own to E-kur, the temple of Enlil. He cried before Enlil: "Father Enlil, my ellag fell down into the nether world, my ekidma fell down into Ganzer. Enkidu went down to retrieve them but the nether world has `seized him. Namtar did not seize him, the Asag did not seize him; but the nether world has seized him. The udug demon of Nergal, who spares nobody, did not seize him, but the nether world has seized him. He did not fall in battle on the field of manhood, but the nether world has seized him." Father Enlil did not stand by him in the matter, so he went to Eridug.

230-237 In Eridu he directed his steps on his own to the temple of Enki. He cried before Enki: "Father Enki, my ellag fell down into the nether world, my ekidma fell down into Ganzer. Enkidu went down to retrieve them but the nether world has seized him. Namtar did not seize him, the Asag did not seize him; but the nether world has seized him. The udug demon of Nergal, who spares nobody, did not seize him, but the nether world has seized him. He did not fall in battle on the field of manhood, but the nether world has seized him." Father Enki stood by him in this matter.

238-242 He said to the young warrior Utu, the son born by Ningal: "Open a hole in the nether world immediately, and then bring up his servant from the nether world!" He opened a hole in the nether world and brought up his servant with his breeze from the nether world.

243-253 They hugged and kissed. They wearied each other with questions: "Did you see the order of the nether world? -- If only you would tell me, my friend, if only you would tell me!" "If I tell you the order of the nether world, sit down and weep! I shall sit down and weep! ......, which your heart rejoiced to touch, is ......, worms infest it like an old garment ; like ...... of a crevice, it is full of dust." "Alas!" he said and sat down in the dust.



Inhabitants of the Nether World

254-267 "Did you see him who had one son?" "I saw him." "How does he fare?" "He weeps bitterly at the wooden peg which was driven into his wall." "Did you see him who had two sons?" "I saw him." "How does he fare?" "He sits on a couple of bricks, eating bread." "Did you see him who had three sons?" "I saw him." "How does he fare?" "He drinks water from a saddle waterskin." "Did you see him who had four sons?" "I saw him." "How does he fare?" "His heart rejoices like a man who has four asses to yoke." "Did you see him who had five sons?" "I saw him." "How does he fare?" "Like a good scribe he is indefatigable, he enters the palace easily." "Did you see him who had six sons?" "I saw him." "How does he fare?" "He is a cheerful as a ploughman." "Did you see him who had seven sons?" "I saw him." "How does he fare?" "As a companion of the gods, he sits on a throne and listens to judgments."

268-285 "Did you see the palace eunuch?" "I saw him." "How does he fare?" "Like a useless alala stick he is propped in a corner." "Did you see the woman who never gave birth?" "I saw her." "How does she fare?" "Like a ...... pot, she is thrown away violently, she gives no man joy." "Did you see the young man who never undressed his wife?" "I saw him." "How does he fare?" "You finish a rope, and he weeps over the rope." "Did you see the young woman who never undressed her husband?" "I saw her." "How does she fare?" "You finish a reed mat, and she weeps over the reed mat." "Did you see him who had no heir?" "I saw him." "How does he fare?" "Like him who ...... bricks , he eats bread." "......?" "I saw him." "How does he fare?" [7 lines fragmentary or missing

286-303 "Did you see ......?" "His food is set apart, his water is set apart, he eats the food offered to him, he drinks the water offered to him." "Did you see the leprous man?" "He twitches like an ox as the worms eat at him." "Did you see him who fell in battle?" "I saw him." "How does he fare?" "His father and mother are not there to hold his head, and his wife weeps." "Did you see the spirit of him who has no funerary offerings?" "I saw him." "How does he fare?" "He eats the scraps and the crumbs ...... tossed out in the street." "Did you see him hit by a ship's board? How does he fare?" ""Alas, my mother!" the man cries to her, as he pulls out the ship's board ......, he ...... cross beam ...... crumbs." "Did you see my little stillborn children who never knew existence?" "I saw them." "How do they fare?" "They play at a table of gold and silver, laden with honey and ghee." "Did you see him who died ......?" "I saw him." "How does he fare?" "He lies on a bed of the gods." "Did you see him who was set on fire?" "I did not see him. His spirit is not about. His smoke went up to the sky."

A version from Urim (UET 6 58): “1-19 "Did you see him who fell down from the roof?" "I saw him." "How does he fare?" "They cannot ...... his bones." "Did you see him who was struck in a flood-storm of Ickur?" "I saw him." "How does he fare?" "He twitches like an ox as the worms eat at him." "Did you see the leprous man?" "I saw him." "How does he fare?" "His food is set apart, his water is set apart, he eats the food offered to him, he drinks the water offered to him. He lives outside the city." "Did you see him who had no respect for the word of his mother and father?" "I saw him." "How does he fare?" ""O my body! O my limbs!" he never ceases to cry." "Did you see him who was reached by the curse of his mother and father?" "I saw him." "How does he fare?" "He is deprived of an heir. His spirit roams about." "Did you see him who ...... the name of his god?" "I saw him." "How does he fare?" "His spirit ......." "Did you see the spirit of him who has no funerary offerings?" "I saw him." "How does he fare?" "He eats the scraps and the crumbs ...... tossed out in the street." "Did you see my little stillborn children who never knew existence?""I saw them." "How do they fare?" "They play at a table of gold and silver, laden with honey and ghee." "Did you see him who was set on fire?" "I did not see him. His smoke went up to the sky. His spirit does not live in the underworld."

20-28 "Did you see him who lied to the gods while swearing an oath?" "I saw him." "How does he fare?" "He drinks ...... which has been drunk ...... the libation place at the entrance to the nether world." "Did you see the citizen of Jirsu who refused water to his father and his mother?" "I saw him." "How does he fare?" "In front of each of them are a thousand Amorites, and his spirit can neither ...... nor ....... The Amorites at the libation place at the entrance to the nether world ......." "Did you see the citizens of Sumer and Akkad?" "I saw them." "How do they fare?" "They drink the water of the ...... place, muddy water." "Did you see where my father and my mother live?" "I saw them." "How do they fare?" "Both of them drink the water of the ...... place, muddy water."

Another version from Urim (UET 6 59): Segment A: 1-9 "Did you see him hit by a ship's board? How does he fare?" ""Alas, my mother!" the man cries to her, as he pulls out ......, he ...... crossbeam ...... crumbs." "Did you see him who fell down from the roof? How does he fare?" "He twitches like an ox as the worms eat at him." "Did you see him who was reached by the curse of his mother? How does he fare?" "He is deprived of an heir. His spirit roams about." "Did you see him who had no respect for the word of his father and his mother? How does he fare?" [1 line fragmentary, unknown no. of lines missing.

Gilgamesh’s Return After Visiting the Nether World


Three fragments of the Epic of Gilgamesh

Segment B: 1-11 "His food is set apart, his water is set apart, he eats the food offered to him, he drinks the water offered to him." "Did you see him who fell in battle? How does he fare?" "His father and mother are not there to hold his head, and his wife weeps." "Did you see him who ......? How does he fare?" "...... from his hand ......." "Did you see the spirit of him who has no funerary offerings? How does he fare?" "He eats the scraps and the crumbs tossed out in the street." "Did you see my little stillborn children who never knew existence? How do they fare?" "They play with a bucket of gold and silver, full of honey and ghee." "Did you see him who was set on fire?" "I did not see him. His spirit is not there. His smoke went up to the sky."

A third version from Urim (UET 6 60): 1-10 They returned to Unug, they returned to their city. He entered outfitted with tools and armaments, with an axe and a spear, and deposited them in his palace happily. Looking at the statue, the young men and women of Unug and the old men and women of Kulaba rejoiced. As Utu came forth from his bedchamber, Gilgamesh raised his head and told them : "My father and my mother, drink clean water!" Midday had hardly passed when they touched the statue's crown.

11 Gilgamesh threw himself down at the place of mourning, he threw himself down for nine days at the place of mourning. The young men and women of Unug and the old men and women of Kulaba wept. As soon as he had said that, he repulsed the citizen of Girsu. "My father and my mother, drink clean water!"...17 Warrior Gilgamesh, son of Ninsumun, sweet is your praise!

A version from Me-Turan: Segment A: 1-9...... surrounded him. He carried ...... and the spirits felt insulted by him. He caused...[1 line fragmentary]. He kissed his beloved wife, and hit his wife when he was angry with her. He kissed his beloved child, and hit his son when he was angry with him. He aroused an outcry and was detained in the nether world.

10-16 From that fateful day and for seven days his servant, Enkidu, did not come out from the nether world. The king was lamenting, crying bitterly: "My beloved servant, my faithful companion, my counsellor, has been seized in the nether world! Namtar did not seize him, the Asag did not seize him; but he was seized in the nether world. The udug of Nergal who ...... did not seize him, but he was seized in the nether world. He did not fall in battle on the field of ......, but he was seized in the nether world."

17-24 He directed his steps on his own to E-kur, the temple of Enlil. Before Enlil, he ......: "My ellag fell down into the nether world, my ekidma fell down into Ganzer. But Enkidu, going down to retrieve them, my beloved servant, my faithful companion, my counsellor, was seized in the nether world. Namtar did not seize him, the Asag did not seize him, but he was seized in the nether world. ...... did not seize him, but he was seized in the nether world."

Gilgamesh’s Search of Immortality

Mircea Eliade of the University of Chicago wrote: “Enkidu's death is the occasion for the section which we have included here, the climax and culmination of the Epic. For the first time Gilgamesh has had to face the fact of death, and it bewilders and terrifies him. Hoping to learn the secret of immortality, he makes a long and difficult journey in search of Utnapishtim, the one human being who has acquired it.


newly discovered Tablet V of the Epic of Gilgamesh

“For Enkidu, his friend, Gilgamesh
Weeps bitterly, as he ranges over the steppe:
'When I die, shall I not be like Enkidu?
Woe has entered my belly.
Facing death, I roam over the steppe.
To Utnapishtim [Babylonian hero of the Flood], Ubar-Tutu's son,
I have taken the road to proceed in all haste.
When arriving by night at mountain passes,
I saw lions and grew afraid.
I lifted my head to Sin [Moon God] to pray.
[The remainder of the column is fragmentary or broken away. When Gilgamesh next appears, he has arrived before a mountain.]
[Source: translation by E. A. Speiser, “Ancient Near East Texts” (Princeton, 1950), pp. 72-99, reprinted in Isaac Mendelsohn (ed.), “Religions of the Ancient Near East Library of Religion” paperbook series (New York, 1955) pp. 47-115; Eliade Site]

“The name of the mountain is Mashu.
When he arrived at the mountain range of Mashu,
Which daily keeps watch over sunrise and sunset-
Whose peaks reach to the vault of heaven
(And) whose breasts reach to the nether world below-
Scorpion-men guard its gate,
Whose terror is awesome and whose glance was death.
Their shimmering halo sweeps the mountains
That at sunrise and sunset keep watch over the sun.
When Gilgamesh beheld them, with fear
And terror was darkened his face.
He took hold of his senses and bowed before them.
A scorpion-man calls to his wife:
'He who has come to us-his body is the flesh of the gods!'
His wife answers the scorpion-man:
'Two-thirds of him is god, one-third of him is human.'
The scorpion-man calls to the fellow,
Addressing (these) words to the offspring of the gods:
'Why hast thou come on this far journey?
Why hast thou arrived before me,
Traversing seas whose crossings are difficult?
The purpose of thy coming I would learn.'

[The remainder of the column is broken away. In the next part that we have, Gilgamesh replies:]
“'On account of Utnapishtim, my father, have I come,
Who joined the Assembly of the gods, in search of life.
About death and life I wish to ask him.'
The scorpion-man opened his mouth to speak,
Saying to Gilgamesh:
'Never was there, Gilgamesh, a mortal who could achieve that.
The mountain's trail no one has travelled.
For twelve leagues extends its inside.
Dense is the darkness and light there is none. [The remainder is fragmentary or broken. Gilgamesh persists, and eventually the scorpion-man opens the mountain to him.]

“When Gilgamesh heard this,
To the word of the scorpion-man he gave heed.
Along the road of the sun he went
When one league he had attained,
Dense is the darkness and light there is none;
He can see nothing ahead or behind.
[Source: Gilgamesh travels for eight leagues in total blackness. Beginning the ninth league, he feels the north wind fanning his face. He gradually emerges from the cave.]

“'When eleven leagues he had attained, the dawn breaks.
And when he had attained twelve leagues, it had grown bright.
On seeing the grove of stories, he heads for.....
The carnelian bears its fruit;
It is hung with vines good to look at.
The lapis bears foliage;
It, too, bears fruit lush to behold. [The remainder of the tablet is mutilated or lost. There are two fairly complete versions of the episodes in the following tablet-the Old Babylonian and Assyrian recensions-as well as two, more fragmentary, versions. We shall begin with the Old Babylonian version. The top of the tablet is broken.]

“Shamash was distraught, as he betook himself to him;
He says to Gilgamesh:
'Gilgamesh, whither rovest thou?
The life thou pursuest thou shalt not find.'
Gilgamesh says to him, to valiant Shamash:
'After marching (and) roving over the steppe,
Must I lay my head in the heart of the earth
That I may sleep through all the years?
Let mine eyes behold the sun
That I may have my fill of the light!
Darkness withdraws when there is enough light.
May he who has died a death behold the radiance of the sun!'
[Again there is a break in the text. Gilgamesh is addressing Siduri [divine barmaid], the ale-wife, who, according to the Assyrian text, 'dwells by the deep sea.']

” 'He who with me underwent all hardships Enkidu, whom I loved dearly,
Who with me underwent all hardships has now gone to the fate of mankind!
Day and night I have wept over him.
I would not give him up for burial-
In case my friend should rise at my plaint
Seven days and seven nights,
Until a worm fell out of his nose.
Since his passing I have not found life,
I have roamed like a hunter in the midst of the steppe.
O ale-wife, now that I have seen thy face,
Let me not see the death which I ever dread.'
The ale-wife said to him, to Gilgamesh:
'Gilgamesh, whither rovest thou?
The life thou pursuest thou shalt not find.
When the gods created mankind,
Death for mankind they set aside,
Life in their own hands retaining.
Thou, Gilgamesh, let full be thy belly,
Make thou merry by day and by night.
Of each day make thou a feast of rejoicing,
Day and night dance thou and play!
Let thy garments be sparkling fresh,
Thy head be washed; bathe thou in water.
Pay heed to the little one that holds on to thy hand,
Let thy spouse delight in thy bosom!
For this is the task of mankind!'
[The remainder of the conversation is lost. The Assyrian text gives a different version of Sidura's response.]

Gilgamesh’s Search for Utnapishtim, the Only Person to Acquire Immortality

“Gilgamesh also says to her, to the ale-wife:
'Now ale-wife, which is the way to Utnapishtim?
What are its markers? Give me, 0 give me, its markers!
If it be possible, the sea I will cross,
If it not be possible, over the steppe I will range!'
The ale-wife said to him, to Gilgamesh:
'Never, 0 Gilgamesh, has there been a crossing,
And none who came since the beginning of days could cross the sea.
Only valiant Shamash crosses the sea;
Other than Shamash who can cross (it)?
Toilsome is the place of crossing
Very toilsome the way thereto,
And deep are the Waters of Death that bar its approaches!
Where then, 0 Gilgamesh, wouldst thou cross the sea?
[Source: translation by E. A. Speiser, “Ancient Near East Texts” (Princeton, 1950), pp. 72-99, reprinted in Isaac Mendelsohn (ed.), “Religions of the Ancient Near East Library of Religion” paperbook series (New York, 1955) pp. 47-115; Eliade Site]

“On reaching the Waters of Death, what wouldst thou do?
Gilgamesh, there is Urshanabi, boatman to Utnapishtim.
With him are the Stone Things. In the woods he picks 'urnu'-snakes. [Stone Things are apparently stone figures of unusual properties; urnu'-snakes are perhaps creatures with properties on par with those of the Stone Things]
Him let thy face behold.
If it be suitable, cross thou with him.
If it be not suitable, draw thou back.'
When Gilgamesh heard this,
He raised the axe in his hand,
Drew the dirk from his belt, slipped into (the forest),
And went down to them. 7
Like an arrow he descended among them.
[The text is too fragmentary for translation. When it resumes, Gilgamesh is responding to Urshanabi's questions. He again tells of Enkidu's death and his own search and asks how he can find Utnapishtim. Urshanabi warns him that, by breaking the 'Stone Things,' he has hindered his own crossing. But he agrees to guide Gilgamesh, and sends him off to cut poles. They set sail and soon come to the waters of death, where Urshanabi instructs Gilgamesh: 'Press on, Gilgamesh, take a pole, (But) let thy hand not touch the Waters of Death . . . !' Finally they reach Utnapishtim's island. Utnapishtim questions Gilgamesh, who repeats his long story again, concluding it as follows.]

“Gilgamesh also said to him, to Utnapishtim:
'That -now I might come and behold Utnapishtim,
Whom they call the Faraway,
I ranged and wandered over all the lands,
I traversed difficult mountains,
I crossed all the seas!
My face was not sated with sweet sleep,
I fretted myself with wakefulness;
I filled my joints with aches.
I had not reached the ale-wife's house
When my clothing was used up.
I slew bear, hyena, lion, panther,
Tiger, stag, (and) ibex-
The wild beasts and the creeping things of the steppe.
[The remainder of the tablet is fragmentary and broken, except for the conclusion to Utnapishtim's response.]

'Do we build houses for ever?
Do we seal (contracts) for ever?
Do brothers divide shares for ever?
Does hatred persist for ever in the land?
Does the river for ever rise (and) bring on floods?
The dragon-fly leave (its) shell
That its face might (but) glance on the face of the sun?
Since the days of yore there has been no performance;
The resting and the dead, how alike they are!
Do they not compose a picture of death,
The commoner and the noble,
Once they are near to their fate?
The Anunnaki, the great gods, foregather,
Mammetum. maker of fate, with them the fate decrees,
Death and life they determine.
(But) of death its days are not revealed.'
Gilgamesh said to him, to Utnapishtim the Faraway:
'As I look upon thee, Utnapishtim,
Thy features are -not strange; even as I art thou.
My heart had regarded thee as resolved to do battle,
Yet thou liest indolent upon my back!
Tell me, how joinedst thou the Assembly of the gods.
In thy quest of life?'
Utnapishtim said to him, to Gilgamesh:
'I will reveal to thee, Gilgamesh, a hidden matter
And a secret of the gods will I tell thee: . . .' [Source: Utnapishtim's revelation is the flood narrative .He was made immortal, he says, through the intervention of the gods after he managed to survive the great flood which destroyed Shurippak.)

Gilgamesh Falls Asleep During the Flood Story

Utnapishtim tells his story-the famous story of the flood. But Gilgamesh is, after all, human and very tired. He falls asleep. Utnapishtim is about to send him away when his wife intervenes in pity.
“'But now, who will for thy sake call the gods to Assembly
That the life which thou seekest thou mayest find?
Up, lie down to sleep
For six days and seven nights.'
As he sits there on his haunches,
Sleep fans him like a mist.
Utnapishtim says to her, to his spouse:
'Behold this hero who seeks life!
Sleep fans him like a mist.'
His spouse says to him, to Utnapishtim the Faraway:
'Touch him that the man may awake,
That We may return safe on the way back whence he came,
That through the gate he left he may return to his land.'
Utnapishtim says to her, to his spouse:
'Since to deceive is human, he will seek to deceive thee.
[By asserting that he had not slept at all]
[Source: translation by E. A. Speiser, “Ancient Near East Texts” (Princeton, 1950), pp. 72-99, reprinted in Isaac Mendelsohn (ed.), “Religions of the Ancient Near East Library of Religion” paperbook series (New York, 1955) pp. 47-115; Eliade Site]

“Up, bake for him wafers, put (them) at his head,
And mark on the walls the days he sleeps.'
She baked for him wafers, put (them) at his head,
And marked on the wall the days he slept.
His first wafer is dried out,
The second is leathery, the third is soggy;
The crust of the fourth has turned white;
The flfth has a mouldy cast,
The sixth (still) is fresh coloured;

“And just as he touched the seventh, the man awoke.
Gilgamesh says to him, to Utnapishtim the Faraway:
'Scarcely had sleep surged Over me,
When straightway thou dost touch and rouse me'
Utnapishtim says to him, to Gilgamesh:
'Go, Gilgamesh, count thy wafers,
That the days thou hast slept may become known to thee:
Thy ftrst wafer is dried out
The second is leathery, the third is soggy;
The crust of the fourth has turned white; The ftfth has a mouldy cast,
The sixth (still) is fresh coloured.
As for the seventh, at this instant thou hast awakened.'

“Gilgamesh says to him, to Utnapishtim the Faraway:
'What then 'shall I do, Utnapishtim,
Whither shall I go,
Now that the Bereaver has laid hold on my members?
In my bedchamber lurks death,
And wherever I set my foot, there is death!'
Utnapishtim says to him, to Urshanabi, the boatman:
'Urshanabi, may the landing-place not rejoice in thee.
May the place of the crossing despise thee!
To him who wanders on its shore, deny thou its shore!
The man thou hast led (hither), whose body is covered with grime,
The grace of whose members skins have distorted,
Take him, Urshanabi, and bring him to the washing-place.
Let him wash off his grime in water clean as snow,
Let him cast off his skins, let the sea carry (them) away,
That the fairness of his body may be seen.
Let him renew the band round his head,
Let him put on. a cloak to clothe his nakedness,
That he may arrive in his city,
That he may achieve his journey.
Let not (his) cloak have a mouldy cast,
Let it be wholly new.'

“Urshanabi took him and brought him to the washing-place.
He washed off his grime in water clean as snow.
He cast off his skins, the sea carried (them) away,
That the fairness of his body might be seen.
He renewed the band round his head,
He put on a cloak to clothe his nakedness,
That he might arrive in his city,
That he might achieve his journey.
The cloak had not a mouldy cast, but was wholly new.
Gilgamesh and Urshanabi boarded the boat,
They launched the boat on the waves (and) they sailed away.
His spouse says to him, to Utnapishtim the Faraway:
'Gilgamesh has come hither, toiling and straining.
What wilt thou give him that he may return to his land?'
At that he, Gilgamesh, raised up (his) pole,
To bring the boat nigh to the shore.
Utnapishtim says to him, to Gilgatnesh: ,
Gilgatnesh, thou hast come hither, toiling and straining.
What shall I give thee that thou mayest return to thy land?

Gilgamesh Finds the Plant of Immortality

Gilgamesh is told about a wonderful plant of immortality that grows at the bottom of the sea. He obtains it; but as he stops to cool himself in a quiet pool a snake carries off the plant. Gilgamesh, completely unsuccessful, returns to Uruk, and the text concludes as he proudly shows his city to his ferryman.”
“I will disclose, 0 Gilgainesh, a hidden thing,
And . . . about a plant I will tell thee:
This plant, like the buckthorn is its . . .
Its thorns will prick thy hands just as does the rose,
If thy hands obtain the plant, thou wilt attain life.'
No sooner had Gilgamesh heard this,
Than he opened the water-pipe,
He tied heavy stones to his feet.
They pulled him down into the deep and there he saw the plant.
[Source: translation by E. A. Speiser, “Ancient Near East Texts” (Princeton, 1950), pp. 72-99, reprinted in Isaac Mendelsohn (ed.), “Religions of the Ancient Near East Library of Religion” paperbook series (New York, 1955) pp. 47-115; Eliade Site]
“He took the plant, though it pricked his hands.
He cut the heavy stones from his feet.
The sea cast him up upon its shore.
Gilgamesh says to. him, to Urshanabi, the boatman:
'Urshanabi, this plant is a plant apart,
Whereby a man may regain his life's breath.
I will take it to ramparted Uruk,
Will cause . . . to eat the plant !
Its name shall be "Man Becomes Young in Old Age."
I myself shall eat (it)
And thus return to the state of my youth.'
After twenty leagues they broke off a morsel,
After thirty (further) leagues they prepared for the night.

“Gilgamesh saw a well whose water was cool.
He went down into it to bathe in the water.
A serpent snuffed the fragrance of the plant;
It came up from the water and carried off the plant.
Going back it shed its slough.
Thereupon Gilgamesh sits down and weeps,
His tears running down over his face.
He took the hand of Urshanabi, the boatman:
'For whom, Urshanabi, have my hands toiled?
For whom is being spent the blood of any heart?
I have not obtained a boon for myself.
For the earth-lion 9 have I effected a boon!
And now the tide will bear (it) twenty leagues away!
When I opened the water-pipe and spilled the gear,
I found that which had been placed as a sign for me:
I shall withdraw,
And leave the boat on the shore!'
“After twenty leagues they broke off a morsel,
After thirty (further) leagues they prepared. for the night.
When they arrived in ramparted Uruk,
Gilgamesh says to him, to Urshanabi, the boatman:
'Go up, Urshanabi, walk on the ramparts of Uruk.
Inspect the base terrace, examine its brickwork,
If its brickwork is not of burnt brick,
And if the Seven Wise Ones laid not its foundation.
Onc "sar 10 is city, one sar orchards,
One sar margin land; (further) the precinct of the Temple of Ishtar.
Three sar and the precinct comprise Uruk.'”

Death of Gilgamesh

A version from Nibru: Segment A: 1-38...... hero ...... has lain down and is never to rise again. ...... has lain down and is never to rise again. He of well-proportioned limbs ...... has lain down and is never to rise again. ...... has lain down and is never to rise again. He who ...... wickedness has lain down and is never to rise again. The young man ...... has lain down and is never to rise again. He who was perfect in ...... and feats of strength has lain down and is never to rise again. ...... has lain down and is never to rise again. The lord of Kulaba has lain down and is never to rise again. He who spoke most wisely has lain down and is never to rise again. The plunderer of many countries has lain down and is never to rise again. He who climbed the mountains has lain down and is never to rise again. He has lain down on his death-bed and is never to rise again. He has lain down on a couch of sighs and is never to rise again...Unable to stand up, unable to sit down, he laments. Unable to eat, unable to drink, he laments. Held fast by the door-bolt of Namtar, he is unable to rise. Like a fish ......, he ...... ill. Like a gazelle caught in a trap, he ...... couch. [Source: J.A. Black, G. Cunningham, E. Robson, and G. Zlyomi 1998, 1999, 2000, Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature, Oxford University, piney.com]

“Segment E: Sisig (a god of dreams), the son of Utu, will provide light for him in the nether world, the place of darkness. When a funerary statue is made in honour of someone, whoever they may be, for future days, mighty youths and ...... will form a semicircle at the door-jambs and perform wrestling and feats of strength before them . In the month Nenejar, at the festival of the ghosts, no light will be provided before them without him (i.e. Gilgamec)." "Oh Gilgamec! Enlil, the Great Mountain, the father of gods, has made kingship your destiny, but not eternal life -- lord Gilgamec, this is how to interpret ...... the dream. The ...... and ...... of life should not make you feel sad, should not make you despair, should not make you feel depressed. You must have been told that this is what the bane of being human involves. You must have been told that this is what the cutting of your umbilical cord involved. The darkest day of humans awaits you now. The solitary place of humans awaits you now. The unstoppable flood-wave awaits you now. The unavoidable battle awaits you now. The unequal struggle awaits you now. The skirmish from which there is no escape awaits you now. But you should not go to the underworld with heart knotted in anger. May ...... before Utu. ...... palm-fibre .......

“"The birds of the sky ...... cannot escape. The fish of the deep water cannot see ....... Having spread his net, the young fisherman will catch you . Who has ever seen anyone who could ascend ...... from the ...... of the nether world? No king has ever been destined a fate like yours. Who ...... anyone among mankind, whoever they may be, ...... like you? ...... the governorship of the nether world. You ...... your ghost ...... pass judgments ....... "

Segment H: “1-21Kulaba ....... As Unug rose ......, as Kulaba rose ....... Within the first month ......, it was not five or ten days before they ...... the Euphrates. ...... its shells. Then, as in the bed of the Euphrates, the earth cracked dry. ...... was built from stone. ...... was built from stone. ...... were hard diorite. ...... its latches were hard stone. ...... were cast in gold. ...... heavy blocks of stone. ...... heavy blocks of stone. ...... brought in ....... ...... for future days.”

Another Version of the Death of Gilgamesh

Another version from Nibru (probably the final section of another version): “1-28 His beloved wife, his beloved children, his beloved favourite and junior wife, his beloved musician, cup-bearer and ......, his beloved barber, his beloved ......, his beloved palace retainers and servants and his beloved objects were laid down in their places as if ...... in the purified palace in the middle of Unug. Gilgamec, the son of Ninsumun, set out their audience-gifts for Ereckigala. He set out their gifts for Namtar. He set out their surprises for Dimpikug. He set out their presents for Neti. He set out their presents for Ninjiczida and Dumuzid. He ...... the audience-gifts for Enki, Ninki, Enmul, Ninmul, Endulkuga, Nindulkuga, Enindacurima, Nindacurima, Enmu-utula, Enmencara, the maternal and paternal ancestors of Enlil; for Cul-pa-ed, the lord of the table, for Sumugan and Ninhursaja, for the Anuna gods of the Holy Mound, for the Great Princes of the Holy Mound, for the dead en priests, the dead lagar priests, the dead lumah priests. [Source: J.A. Black, G. Cunningham, E. Robson, and G. Zlyomi 1998, 1999, 2000, Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature, Oxford University, piney.com]

Segment A: “1-19: The great wild bull has lain down and is never to rise again. Lord Gilgamec has lain down and is never to rise again. He who was unique in ...... has lain down and is never to rise again. The hero fitted out with a shoulder-belt has lain down and is never to rise again. He who was unique in strength has lain down and is never to rise again. He who diminished wickedness has lain down and is never to rise again. He who spoke most wisely has lain down and is never to rise again. The plunderer of many countries has lain down and is never to rise again. He who knew how to climb the mountains has lain down and is never to rise again. The lord of Kulaba has lain down and is never to rise again. He has lain down on his death-bed and is never to rise again. He has lain down on a couch of sighs and is never to rise again....Unable to stand up, unable to sit down, he laments. Unable to eat, unable to drink, he laments. Held fast by the door-bolt of Namtar, he is unable to rise. Like a ...... fish ...... in a cistern, he ...... ill. Like a captured gazelle buck, he ...... couch....

Segment F: “After lord Gilgamec had arrived at the assembly, the pre-eminent place of the gods, they said to lord Gilgamec concerning him: "As regards your case: after having travelled all the roads that there are, having fetched cedar, the unique tree, from its mountains, having killed Huwawa in his forest, you set up many stelae for future days, for days to come. Having founded many temples of the gods, you reached Zi-ud-sura in his dwelling place. Having brought down to the Land the divine powers of Sumer, which at that time were forgotten forever, the orders, and the rituals, he carried out correctly the rites of hand washing and mouth washing. Enlil's advice was given to Enki. Enki answered An and Enlil: "In those days, in those distant days, in those nights, in those distant nights, in those years, in those distant years, after the assembly had made the Flood sweep over to destroy the seed of mankind, among us I was the only one who was for life , and so he remained alive -- Zi-ud-sura, although a human being, remained alive . Then you made me swear by heaven and by earth, and ...... that no human will be allowed to live forever any more. Now, as we look at Gilgamec, could not he escape because of his mother?"

38-81 “(Another god speaks:) "Let Gilgamec as a ghost, below among the dead, be the governor of the nether world. Let him be pre-eminent among the ghosts, so that he will pass judgments and render verdicts, and what he says will be as weighty as the words of Ninjiczida and Dumuzid."...Then the young lord Gilgamec became depressed because of all mankind. "You should not despair, you should not feel depressed. "Go ahead to the place where the Anuna gods, the great gods, sit at the funerary offerings, to the place where the en priests lie, to where the lagar priests lie, to where the lumah priests and the nindijir priestesses lie, to where the gudu priests lie, to where the linen-clad priests lie, to where the nindijir priestesses lie, to where the ...... lie, to the place where your father, your grandfather, your mother, your sisters, your ......, to where your precious friend, your companion, your friend Enkidu, your young comrade, and the governors appointed by the king to the Great City are, to the place where the sergeants of the army lie. From the house of ......, the ...... will come to meet you. Your jewel will come to meet you, your precious one will come to meet you. The elders of your city will come to meet you. You should not despair, you should not feel depressed."...

82-115: "He will now be counted among the Anuna gods. He will be counted a companion of the gods. ...... the governor of the nether world. He will pass judgments and render verdicts, and what he says will be as weighty as the words of Ninjiczida and Dumuzid."...Lord Nudimmud made him see a dream: After lord Gilgamec had arrived at the assembly, the pre-eminent place of the gods, they said to lord Gilgamec concerning him: "As regards your case: after having travelled all the roads that there are, having fetched cedar, the unique tree, from its mountains, having killed Huwawa in his forest, you set up many stelae for future days ...Having brought down to the Land the divine powers of Sumer, which at that time were forgotten forever, the orders, and the rituals, he carried out correctly the rites of hand washing and mouth washing. ...... the settlements of the countries."

116-130: “...... Gilgamec ....... Enlil's advice was given to Enki. Enki answered An and Enlil: "In those days, in those distant days, in those nights, in those distant nights, in those years, in those distant years, after the assembly had made the Flood sweep over to destroy the seed of mankind ......, among us I was the only one who was for life . He remained alive ; Zi-ud-sura alone, although a human being, remained alive . Then you made me swear by heaven and by earth, and I swore that no human will be allowed to live forever any more. Now, as we look at Gilgamec, could not he escape because of his mother?"

143-153"You must have been told that this is what your being a human involves. You must have been told that this is what the cutting of your umbilical cord involved. The darkest day of humans awaits you now. The solitary place of humans awaits you now. The unstoppable flood-wave awaits you now. The unequal struggle awaits you now. The unavoidable battle awaits you now. The evil from which there is no escape awaits you now. But you should not go to the underworld with heart knotted in anger. May it be ...... before Utu. Let it be unravelled like palm-fibre and peeled like garlic.

154-172: "Go ahead to the place where the Anuna gods, the great gods, sit at the funerary offerings, to the place where the en priests lie, to where the lagar priests lie, to where the lumah priests and the nindijir priestesses lie, to where the gudu priests lie, to where the linen-clad priests lie, to where the nindijir priestesses lie, to where the ...... lie, to the place where your father, your grandfather, your mother, your sisters, your ......, to where your precious friend, your companion, your friend Enkidu, your young comrade, and the governors appointed by the king to the Great City are, to the place where the sergeants of the army lie, to where the captains of the troops lie. ...... the Great City Arali ...."From the house of the sisters, the sisters will come to meet you. From the house of ......, ...... will come to meet you. Your jewel will come to meet you, your precious one will come to met you. The elders of your city will come to meet you. You should not despair, you should not feel depressed." His architect designed his tomb like ....... His god Enki showed him where the solution of the dream lies by ....... No one but the ...... of the king could solve the vision.

10-32The lord imposed a levy on his city. The herald made the horn signal sound in all the lands: "Unug, arise! Open up the Euphrates! Kulaba, arise! Divert the waters of the Euphrates!" Unug's levy was a flood, Kulaba's levy was a clouded sky. Meanwhile not even the first month had passed, it was not five or ten days before they had opened up the Euphrates and diverted its high water. Utu looked at its shells with admiration. Then as soon as the water in the bed of the Euphrates had receded, his tomb was built there from stone. Its walls were built from stone. Its door leaves were installed in the sockets of the entrance. Its bolt and thresholds were hard stone. Its door-pivots were hard stone. They installed its gold beams. Heavy block of stone were moved to ....... ...... was covered with a thick layer of dark soil. ...... for future days.

Segment K: “1-12...... to the city ....... ...... smeared with dust ...... lord Gilgamec despaired and felt depressed. For all the people, whoever they may be, funerary statues are made for future days, and set aside in the temples of the gods. Their names, once uttered, do not sink into oblivion. Aruru, the older sister of Enlil, provides them with offspring for that purpose . Their statues are made for future days and they are mentioned in the Land. Ereckigala, mother of Ninazu, it is sweet to praise you!”

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: Internet Ancient History Sourcebook: Mesopotamia sourcebooks.fordham.edu , National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, especially Merle Severy, National Geographic, May 1991 and Marion Steinmann, Smithsonian, December 1988, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Discover magazine, Times of London, Natural History magazine, Archaeology magazine, The New Yorker, BBC, Encyclopædia Britannica, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Time, Newsweek, Wikipedia, Reuters, Associated Press, The Guardian, AFP, Lonely Planet Guides, World Religions edited by Geoffrey Parrinder (Facts on File Publications, New York); History of Warfare by John Keegan (Vintage Books); History of Art by H.W. Janson Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.), Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Last updated September 2018

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