Gilgamesh

Great king. Great man.

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Statue at the Louvre in France

Gilgamesh is the main character in the Epic of Gilgamesh, an Akkadian poem that is considered the first great work of literature, and in earlier Sumerian poems.

Gilgamesh is generally seen by scholars as a historical figure, since inscriptions have been found which confirm the existence of other figures associated with him in the epic.

  • He started out as a ruler of Uruk under the rule of the king of Kish
  • In 2675 BC he rejected to participate in the irrigation works lead by the king of Kish. The army of Uruk defeated the king of Kish thus making Uruk an independent state.
  • Gilgamesh was proclaimed to be a lugal (king) of Uruk and soon all the South Mesopotamia became subject to Uruk.

According to the Epic of Gilgamesh

  • He built a great 5 meters thick wall around Uruk.
  • He made a journey to Lebanon to get the famous sacred cedars.
  • In his persuit for immortality he met Ziusudra, a Sumerian analog of Biblical Noah, learned about the Flood and finally realized immortality is not possible for people.

Gilgamesh was a ruler whose deeds gained such fame that he became a main character of the Sumerian mythology. The Epic of Gilgamesh was recited and copyed not only in Sumerian language but also in many other languages of the Ancient Western Asia. Gilgamesh became a hero for the all Ancient World. He was an adventurer, a brave man but also a tragic figure, a symbol of human vanity and an irresistable thirst for fame, glory and immortality.

To know more about Gilgamesh please visit this Wikipedia page