The Epic of Gilgamesh

He who saw everything

"Out I go, into the world, there is none better than Gilgamesh!"

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,
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 goddess
None who can survive 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 forged 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 an image in her mind
There conceived in her mind, it was made 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.
Given the strength of Ninurta, the God of War
His hair waved like millet filaments,
of the grain goddess Nisaba.
Matted hair was all over his body, like the skins of the cattle,
of the cattle god Samugan.
This Enkidu was innocent of man's ways.
He knew not the cultivated land.
Enkidu was in the hills
With the gazelles
They ran with each other
With all the herds
He too loved the water hole.
But one day by a water hole
A trapper met him face to face,
Because the 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.
The trapper's face altered, reborn
A long journey does that to one,
Gives a 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, strongly alive!
A star in heaven his strength,
The star essence of An, the Sky Father
Over the hills with the beasts
Eating grass
Ranges across all your land,
Going to the wells.
I fear him, stay far away.
He fills in my pits
Tears up my game traps
Helps the beasts escape
Now all the game slips away
Through my fingers.'

His 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 strength
'Ask for a temple hierodule from the Temple of Love,
Such a child of pleasure;
Bring her and let her power of woman
Subdue this wild man.
When he goes to the wells,
He will embrace the priestess
And the wild beasts will reject him.'

To Uruk the trapper went
And said to Gilgamesh:

'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 pits
Tears up my game traps.'

Gilgamesh said:

'Trapper, return,
Take a priestess, child of pleasure
When he goes to the wells
He will embrace the priestess
And the wild beasts will reject him.'

Wild Thing

The trapper returned with the hierodule
And three days to the drinking hole,
There they sat down
hierodule facing the trapper,
Waiting for the game.
First day, nothing.
Second 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 man
Wild from the hills.

'There woman', points the trapper,
'Bare your breasts now;
This is he,
Have no shame, delay not,
Welcome his desire,
Let him see you naked,
Let him possess your body.
As he approaches, take off your clothes,
Lie with him, teach him,
The savage, your art of woman,
For as he loves you, then
The wild beasts, his companions,
They will reject him.'

She had no shame for this,
Made herself naked
Welcomed his eagerness
Incited him to copulation,
Taught the woman's art.
Six days, seven nights,
That time lying together,
Enkidu had forgotten his home
Had forgotten the hills
After that time he was satisfied.
Then he went back to the wild beasts
But the gazelles saw him and ran,
The wild 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 intently

'You have wisdom, Enkidu.
Now you are as a god.
Why the beasts? Why the hills?
Come to Uruk of the strong walls
To Inanna's Temple of Love,
And to the Eanna,
Where the Sky God Anu can be found.
Gilgamesh is there, strong,
Raging like a wild bull, over the land
Is his strength.'

Favorably as she speaks, he hears her words.
He comes to know his own heart
And his desire to have a companion.

He tells the priestess:

'Take me, girl, to the sacred perfect
Dwelling of Love and Sky God's house
Where lives Gilgamesh of perfect strength,
He who rages like a bull over all,
And I will summon him forth and challenge him
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 strength'


'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 for festival,
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
I will show the joy in life of Gilgamesh
See him, see his face
Radiant is 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.
Gilgamesh, like Shamash the Sun, is proud,
Also An, the God of Firmament,
Also valiant Enlil, his son,
And Enki, his son also
All have given wisdom.
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
That there were stars in heaven
And a star descended upon me like unto
The essence of An, the Sky God.
I tried to lift it up, but it was too heavy for me,
I tried to move it, but it would not be moved.
The land of Uruk was around it,
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 equal.'

She, Ninsun, Wise Custodian of Knowledge,
Says to Gilgamesh:

'Your equal was a star of heaven
Which descended upon you like unto
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 to you.
You were drawn to it as to a woman.
The meaning of this
Is 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 dream.'

Gilgamesh says again to his mother:

'Mother, another dream
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.
For you called it my equal.'

She, the Wise Custodian of Knowledge, says to her son:

'The axe is a man
You were drawn to it as to a woman
For 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 strength.
The essence of An of the Firmament, is his arms
So strong is he.'

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 also.'

And as Gilgamesh revealed his dream
The girl was speaking to Enkidu
As they sat together.

Inanna 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.

Epic Of Gilgamesh In Sumerian

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