gilgamesh 8-30 - Biblical Tradition 8/29/07 THE EPIC OF...

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Biblical Tradition 8/29/07 THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH Nearly four millennia ago the ancient Mesopotamian city of Uruk was ruled by King Gilgamesh. Part god-part man, Gilgamesh ruled over Uruk during the city’s prime, contributing greatly to the city's prestige by constructing its legendary walls, erecting unparalleled temples and sowing the seeds for its meadows and farms. The Epic of Gilgamesh, which dating as far back as 2700 B.C. is one of the oldest known pieces of literature in the world, describes Gilgamesh's transformation from a tyrannical and unjust ruler into a majestic leader who left behind a legacy of honor, pride and judicious rule. The tale, as most all classics do, includes a variety of themes and communicates an invaluable lesson on life and the human condition. Among those themes, there is one whose prominence and centrality cannot be ignored; the notion of death's inevitability plays a central role in King Gilgamesh's transition from tyrannical despot to adored leader. Of course today we all accept death to be an inevitable end to human life, but this fact was not an easy one for the great Gilgamesh to grasp. At the outset of the story Gilgamesh is full of self-confidence, viewing himself as an unparalleled being. Then, upon the introduction of Gilgamesh's eventual comrade Enkidu, Gilgamesh finally begins to gain a sense of level headedness as he has found someone who is nearly equal to him in greatness. Enkidu and Gilgamesh become best of friends, developing a deep bond. Later in the story, after the two men have returned from their legendary expedition to the forbidden cedar forest, Gilgamesh foolishly spurns Ishtar, the goddess of love, and is subsequently punished. His punishment was sent down
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This note was uploaded on 04/23/2008 for the course GDST 131 taught by Professor Sanders during the Spring '08 term at Trinity College, Hartford.

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gilgamesh 8-30 - Biblical Tradition 8/29/07 THE EPIC OF...

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