The Epic of Gilgamesh
He who saw everything
"Out I went, into the world, but there was none
better than me - Gilgamesh!"
The men of
'Gilgamesh, noisy Gilgamesh! Arrogant Gilgamesh!'
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
He is king and should be
Shepherd of the city.
He is wise,
he is handsome, he is firm as a
In heaven the gods heard
lament of the people,
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,
None who can survive him in fighting.
No son left to his
Gilgamesh, he takes them all, and is he
He the king? Shepherd of
No virgin left to her lover, For he lusts strongly!
the wife of the nobleman!'
The Great God heard this, then
Goddess of Creation, Aruru
Cried all the gods:
'You forged this Gilgamesh! Well, create him
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
So the Goddess of
Creation took and formed
an image in her mind
There conceived in her mind,
it was made material
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.
the noble Enkidu was made.
Given the strength of
Ninurta, the God of War
hair waved like millet filaments,
of the grain goddess Nisaba.
hair was all over his body, like the skins of the cattle,
of the cattle god
This Enkidu was innocent of man's ways.
He knew not the
Enkidu was in the hills
With the gazelles
with each other
With all the herds
He too loved the water hole.
one day by a water hole
A trapper met him face to face,
herds of wild game
Had strayed into his territory.
On three days
face to face
Each day the trapper was terrified,
Frozen stiff with fear.
With his game he went home,
Unable to speak, numb with fright.
trapper's face altered, reborn
A long journey does that to one,
new visage upon returning.
The trapper, his
heart all awe, told his father:
'Father, what a man! No other like him!
He comes from the hills,
in heaven his strength,
The star essence of An, the Sky Father
hills with the beasts
Ranges across all your land,
to the wells.
I fear him, stay far away.
He fills in my pits
up my game traps
Now all the game slips away
father opened his mouth,
Told the son, the trapper:
'My son, in
Uruk lives Gilgamesh.
None can withstand him,
None has surpassed him,
As a star in heaven is his strength
Of the star-essence of An,
the Sky Father.
Go to Uruk, find Gilgamesh
Praise the wild man's
'Ask for a
temple hierodule from the Temple of Love,
Such a child
Bring her and let her power of woman
Subdue this wild man.
When he goes to the wells,
He will embrace the priestess
wild beasts will reject him.'
To Uruk the trapper went
'Like no other, a savage,
Roaming in the pastures,
A star in heaven his strength
Of the star-essence of An, the Sky Father.
I am afraid, stay far away; he helps the beasts escape
Fills in my
Tears up my game traps.'
Take a priestess, child of pleasure
When he goes to the
He will embrace the priestess
And the wild beasts will reject
The trapper returned with the
And three days
to the drinking hole,
There they sat down
hierodule facing the
Waiting for the game.
First day, nothing.
Third day, bonanza !
The herds came to drink, and Enkidu
Glad for the water were
the small wild beasts,
And Enkidu was glad for the water
He of the
gazelles and wild grass,
Born in the hills.
The priestess saw this
Wild from the hills.
'There woman', points the trapper,
'Bare your breasts now;
This is he,
shame, delay not,
Let him see you
Let him possess your body.
As he approaches, take off your
Lie with him, teach him,
The savage, your art of woman,
For as he loves you, then
The wild beasts, his companions,
She had no shame for
Made herself naked
Incited him to copulation,
Taught the woman's art.
That time lying together,
Enkidu had forgotten his
Had forgotten the hills
After that time he was satisfied.
went back to the wild beasts
But the gazelles saw him and ran,
beasts saw him and ran.
Enkidu would follow, but weak,
His strength gone
into the woman;
Wisdom came to him,
A man's thoughts in his head.
So he returned to the priestess.
At her feet he listened
'You have wisdom, Enkidu.
Now you are
as a god.
Why the beasts? Why the hills?
Come to Uruk of the strong
To Inanna's Temple of Love,
And to the
Where the Sky God Anu can be found.
Gilgamesh is there, strong,
Raging like a wild bull, over the
Is his strength.'
Favorably as she speaks, he hears her
He comes to know his
And his desire to have a companion.
He tells the
'Take me, girl, to the sacred perfect
Dwelling of Love
and Sky God's house
Where lives Gilgamesh of perfect strength,
rages like a bull over all,
And I will summon him forth and challenge
And I will shout in Uruk:
I am the mightiest!
Yes, I can
change the order of what is!
Anyone born on the steppe is mighty and has
'Then let us go that
Gilgamesh may see your face
And I will show you Gilgamesh, for I know well
where he is.
Come Enkidu, to Uruk of ramparts,
Where all are dressed
Where each day is a festival,
Where there are boys,
Where there are girls,
Deliciously ripe and perfumed,
Who drive the
great ones from their fretted couches
To you, Enkidu, of joy in life
will show the joy in life of Gilgamesh
See him, see his face
his manhood, of full-bodied vigor
His body ripe with beauty in every part.
So exceeding you in strength,
Needing no sleep by day or by night.
Restrain your folly, Enkidu.
Shamash the Sun, is proud,
An, the God of Firmament,
Also valiant Enlil, his son,
Enki, his son also
Before you come from the open plains
Gilgamesh will have
dreamed of it.'
And so Gilgamesh rose from his bed
And to his
mother, in revealing dreams, said:
'Mother, I saw in
a dream last night
there were stars in heaven
And a star descended upon me like unto
essence of An, the Sky God.
I tried to lift it up, but it was too heavy for
I tried to move it, but it would not be moved.
The land of Uruk was
All the people were pressing towards it.
All the nobles also
came round it,
And all my friends kissed its feet.
I was drawn towards
it as to a woman
And I laid it at its feet
And you said it was my
She, Ninsun, Wise Custodian of Knowledge,
'Your equal was a star of heaven
Which descended upon you
The essence of An who is the God of the Firmament
You tried to
lift it but it would not be moved
And I called it your equal, comparing it
You were drawn to it as to a woman.
The meaning of this
of a strong friend who saves his companion
He is the strongest of the land;
he has strength.
As a star in heaven his strength,
The strength of An
of the Firmament and his host.
So that you are drawn to him overwhelmingly.
And this means he will never forsake you.
Such is your
Gilgamesh says again to his mother:
In Uruk of the ramparts lay an axe
All were gathered around it,
Uruk-land was standing round about it.
The people pressed towards it;
I laid it at your feet.
I was drawn to it as to a woman.
called it my equal.'
She, the Wise Custodian of Knowledge, says to
'The axe is a man
You were drawn to it as to a woman
I called it your equal
And it was to rival you.
This means a strong
friend standing by his friend
He is the strongest of the land; he has
The essence of An of the Firmament, is his arms
So strong is
Gilgamesh then spoke to his mother:
'Now according to
the word of Enlil
Let a counsellor and friend come to me
That I may
acquire a companion
And to him I shall be friend and counsellor
And as Gilgamesh revealed his dream
The girl was speaking
As they sat together.
was the Sumerian goddess of compassion and fertility centered in the Eanna
temple at the city of Uruk.
Eanna - From the old
Irish 'Eidhne' pronounced 'Ay-nah'. A term from the west of Ireland meaning one
of unscrupulous intentions towards one of the opposite sex.
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