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The Epic of Gilgamesh

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This revised edition (1972) provides a prose rendering of The Epic of Gilgamesh, the cycle of poems preserved on clay tablets surviving from ancient Mesopotamia of the third millennium B.C. One of the best and most important pieces of epic poetry from human history, predating even Homer's Iliad by roughly 1,500 years, the Gilgamesh epic tells of the various adventures of that hero-king, including his quest for immortality, and an account of a great flood similar in many details to the Old Testament's story of Noah. The translator also provides an interesting and useful introduction explaining much about the historical context of the poem and the archeological discovery of the tablets.

128 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1201

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Books can be attributed to "Anonymous" for several reasons:

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Profile Image for Emily May.
1,990 reviews298k followers
December 29, 2018
“I will reveal to you a mystery, I will tell you a secret of the gods.”

There is something very humbling about reading stories written more than 4,000 years ago. One of the most fascinating things about The Epic of Gilgamesh is how you can easily see the influence it has had on Homer and Judeo-Christian-Islamic mythology. And I get chills just thinking about how this narrative reaches across the millennia and takes us inside the minds of people who lived so long ago.

This is one of those cases where I really wish I could read and understand the original text. The translation is a little wooden, and the rather dramatic series of events reads almost like a textbook. I should point out that, though a little dry, it's not difficult to read at all - at least not in the English translation that I read - and can be read in a single sitting if you have a couple of hours to spare.

My favourite part is, not surprisingly, the relationship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu. I definitely find myself leaning towards agreeing with the homoerotic interpretations of their relationship, and they almost certainly served as an inspiration for pairings such as Achilles and Patroclus, and Jonathan and David.

Whether they were lovers or not - and no one really knows how the Ancient Sumerians would have felt about a gay couple - the intensity of Gilgamesh's love for Enkidu, whom he loves "as a woman", is the driving force of the epic. This love leads him on a long and strange journey in the hope that he can find a way to defy death. An intriguing tale.

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Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews46 followers
August 29, 2021
Shūtur eli sharrī = The Epic of Gilgamesh, Anonymous, N.K. Sandars (Translator)

The literary history of Gilgamesh begins with five Sumerian poems about 'Bilgamesh' (Sumerian for 'Gilgamesh'), king of Uruk.

These independent stories were later used as source material for a combined epic.

The first surviving version of this combined epic, known as the "Old Babylonian" version, dates to the 18th century BC and is titled after its incipit, Shūtur eli sharrī ("Surpassing All Other Kings").

Only a few tablets of it have survived.

The later "Standard" version dates from the 13th to the 10th centuries BC and bears the incipit Sha naqba īmuru ("He who Saw the Deep", in modern terms: "He who Sees the Unknown").

Approximately two thirds of this longer, twelve-tablet version have been recovered.

Some of the best copies were discovered in the library ruins of the 7th-century BC Assyrian king Ashurbanipal.

نخستین خوانش این نسخه با متن انگلیسی اول آگوست سال 2006میلادی

گیلگمش، پادشاهی خودکامه و پهلوان و «زمینی آسمانی» بودند؛ دوسوم وجودش را ایزدی، و یک‌سومش را انسانی بنوشته اند؛ حماسه ی «گیلگمش»، با بیان کارها و پیروزی‌های قهرمان، آغاز می‌شود، به گونه‌ ای که او را مردی بزرگ، در پهنه ی دانش و خرد، معرفی می‌کند؛ او می‌تواند توفان را پیش‌ بینی کند؛ مرگ دوست صمیمی‌ اش «اِنکیدو»، ایشان را بسیار پریشان کرده، برای همین «گیلگمش»، پای در سفری طولانی، برای جستجوی جاودانگی می‌گذارد، سپس خسته و درمانده، به خانه بازمی‌گردد، و شرح رنج‌هایی را که کشیده، بر گِل‌ نوشته‌ ای ثبت می‌کند؛ حماسه ی «گیلگمش» در ایران نیز شهرت دارد؛ نخستین ترجمه ی فارسی آن، توسط دکتر «منشی‌زاده» در سال 1333هجری خورشیدی انجام شد، و پس از آن نیز ترجمه‌ های دیگری منتشر شد؛ حماسه ی «گیلگمش» در دوازده لوح است

عنوان رخدادهای این دوازده لوح، تیتروار به شرح زیر هستند

یک1 - «گیلگمش»، آنکه از هر سختی شادتر می‌شود...؛ آفرینش «انکیدو»، و رفتن وی به «اوروک»، شهری که حصار دارد؛

دو2 - باز یافتن «انکیدو»، «گیلگمش» را، و رای زدن ایشان از برای جنگیدن با «خومبه به، همان هومبا با»، نگهبان جنگل سدر خدایان؛

سه3 - ترک گفتن «انکیدو» شهر را، و بازگشت وی، نخستین رؤیای «انکیدو»؛

چهار4 - برانگیختن «شِمِش» خدای سوزان آفتاب، «گیلگمش» را، به جنگ با «هومبا با»، و کشتن ایشان دروازه‌ بان «هومبا با» را؛

پنج5 - رسیدن ایشان به جنگل‌های سدر مقدس. نخستین رویای گیلگمش؛ دومین رویای گیلگمش؛ جنگ با «خومبه به» و کشتن وی، بازگشتن به اوروک؛

شش6 - گفتگوی «گیلگمش» با «ایشتر»، الهه ی عشق، و برشمردن زشتکاری‌های او؛ جنگ «گیلگمش» و «انکیدو»، با «نر گاو آسمان» و کشتن آن، و جشن و شادی برپا کردن؛

هفت7 - دومین رویای «انکیدو»؛ بیماری «انکیدو»؛

هشت8 - مرگ «انکیدو» و زاری «گیلگامش»؛ شتاب کردن «گیلگمش» به جانب دشت، و گفتگو با نخجیرباز؛

نه9 - سومین رویای «گیلگمش »؛ رو در راه نهادن «گیلگامش»، در جستجوی راز حیات جاویدان، و رسیدن وی به دروازه ی ظلمات، گفتگو با دروازه بانان، و به راه افتادن در دره‌ های تاریکی، راه نمودن «شِمِش» خدای آفتاب گیلگمش را به جانب «سی دوری سابی تو»، فرزانه ی کوهساران، نگهبان درخت زندگی، رسیدن گیلگمش به باغ خدایان؛

ده10 - گفتگوی «گیلگمش»، و «سی دوری سابی تو»؛ و راهنمایی «سی دوری سابی تو»، خاتونی فرزانه، «گیلگمش» را، به جانب زورق «اوتنپیشتیم»؛ دیدار گیلگمش و «اورشه نبی» کشتیبان؛ به کشتی نشستن، و گذشتن از آب‌های مرگ، دیدار «گیلگمش» و ئوت نه پیش تیم دور، «گیلگمش» را؛ و شکست «گیلگمش»؛ آگاهی دادن «اوتنپیشتیم دور»، گیلگمش را، ار راز گیاه اعجازآمیز دریا؛ به دست آوردن «گیلگمش»، گیاه اعجازآمیز را، و خوردن مار گیاه را، و بازگشت «گیلگمش»، به شهر «اوروک»؛

یازده11 - عزیمت «گیلگمش» به جهان زیرین خاک، و گفتگوی او با سایه ی «انکیدو»؛

داوزده12 - پایان کار گیلگمش.؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 21/05/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 06/06/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Ahmad  Ebaid.
283 reviews2,034 followers
March 5, 2018
"لأنه ليس من قدر الإنسان أن يحيا إلى الأبد ولكن لإنجازاته أن تخلد اسمه للأجيال اللاحقة"

"As for human beings, their days are numbered, and only their achievements that could establish their name to the latter generations."


The oldest discovered "truly literature" epic ever in history, the immortal outstanding Odyssey of Iraq.
Gilgamesh, the two-thirds god, symbol of Sumerian myth.
Origin of all stories and tales, which the old ancient civilizations quoted
Source of myths and superstition
You would be surprised by knowing the ancient assets of present, that the men just do developing rather than innovate from nothing
Unmatchable effort from the archaeologist "Taha Baker" to reintroduce the Arabic edition, furthermore the high-quality translation, he made great analysis and imagination to the missed parts of the mud tablets, and wrote margins to match the bible phrases to the one in THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH.
Penguin edition was twice long as the Arabic one, because it offered several texts of Babylonian and Sumerian tablets. so don't worry about any skip in the Arabic translation.

I think the following paintings are able to seduce you to read the EPIC

أقدم ملحمة أدبية "حقيقية" مكتشفة في التاريخ، "أوديسة" العراق الخالدة.
"جلجامش" ثلثي الإله، رمز الأسطورة السومرية،
أصل كل القصص والحكايات، ارتوت جميع الحضارات القديمة منها،
منبع كل الأساطير والخرافات.
لسوف يدهشك معرفة الأصول القديمة للحاضر، فالبشر فقط يطورون ولا يخترعون من العدم..
ومجهود عظيم من العالم "طه باقر" في الكتاب. طه باقر قدم ترجمة عظيمة وتخيلات للنصوص الناقصة من القصة، وهوامش عن الأجزاء التي اقتبستها التوراة منها.

دي صور للملحمة كفيلة بإنها تغري أي حد بقراءتها:

أول 8 لوحات بريشة الفنان العراقي رعد فليح
The first eight paintings by the Iraqi "Raad Felih"

1- "GILGAMESH meets SIDURI the god of beer and wine."

2- "GILGAMESH catches the horns of the holy bull."

3- "The monsters treated ENKIDU as a traitor after a prostitute seduces him."

4- "GILGAMESH and ENKIDU verse HUMBABA, the guardian of the Cedar Forest."

5- "GILGAMESH and ENKIDU on their own journey."

6- "ENKIDU after cutting the head of Holy bull sent by Ishtar's dad."

7- " "GILGAMESH crosses the death sea, to reach the flood hero UTNAPISHTIM.

8- "GILGAMESH sends a prostitute to seduce ENKIDU "

ودي صور تانية لازم ولا بد تشوفها:
Another must seen paintings

"Discovering of two statuses to men with a body of winged Bull - اكتشاف تمثالين على جسد ثور مجنح"

"Comparing to lion body, this is how big is GILGAMESH - حجم جلجامش مقارنة بحجم أسد كبير"

"GILGAMESH with a whip - جلجامش وكرباج"

"GILGAMESH and his friend ENKIDU - جلجامش وصديقه إنكيدو"

"GILGAMESH sorrow after ENKIDU's death - حزن جلجامش بعد موت إنكيدو"

"GILGAMESH after a serpent robbed the eternity fruit - جلجامش بعد أن سلبته الحية ثمرة الخلود"


A short video about story line of the EPIC
ودا فيديو مترجم عربي يوضح ملخص القصة -فيه شوية اختلافات عن نسخه طه باقر-:



A song about the EPIC by KAZIM EL-SAHER, soon.
أغنية لكاظم الساهر بنفس الاسم بردوا.... قريباً



The EPIC as a carol in Arabic. should push you into the mood
ودي القصة مغناة على موسيقى وصوت جهوري ذو نغمة مميزة هيدخلك في المود
The EPIC as a carol - ملحمة جلجامش مغناة

Profile Image for فؤاد.
1,066 reviews1,757 followers
March 4, 2020
گیلگمش در ابتدای حماسه، وقتی همچون کودکی خردسال از جهان و معماهای جهان فارغ است، مردی است تنومند، دو سومش خدا و یک سومش انسان، با نشاط و سرشار از سلامتی و زورمندی، با کمربندهای مرصع و دستبندهای طلا و سهمی ثابت از نخستین شب هر دختری که در شهرش «اوروک» ازدواج می‌کرد. پادشاهی که از فرط استغنا به عشق ایزدبانوی عشق، عشتار، با تحقیر و استخفاف پاسخ رد می‌دهد، و وقتی ایزدبانو از خشم هیولای آسمان را در شهر اوروک رها می‌کند، بی آن که تشویشی به دل راه دهد دو شاخ هیولا را می‌گیرد و او را می‌کشد. مردی به تمام معنا کامروا.

همین گیلگمش را در انتهای حماسه، وقتی با یکی از معماهای جهان رو به رو می‌شود، ببین: موجودی خوار و بی مقدار، با چهره‌ای تکیده، مو و ریشی ژولیده، پوستی آفتاب سوخته، خسته و بی رمق از پیمودن بیابان ا�� پس بیابان، که به التماس از نگهبانان دروازۀ ظلمات می‌خواهد او را راه دهند بلکه بتواند پاسخش را در آن سوی ظلمات بیابد، و نگهبانان فقط از سر رقّت و ترحم در را به رویش می‌گشایند. این همان گیلگمش است که در ساحت زندگی ناسوتی به همه چیز رسیده بود، و حالا در مقابل جهانی کمی وسیع‌تر از اوروک، این گونه سیلی‌خور خاک و باد شده است.

بانو «سابیتو» که باورش نمی‌شود این همان گیلگمش باشد، می‌گوید: «اگر تو گیلگمشی که هیولای آسمان را گرفته بشکستی، و هوم‌ببۀ اهریمن را به خون درکشیدی، و در گذرگاه کوهستان شیر بسیار به خاک افکندی، گونه‌هایت چرا این چنین فروکاسته، رخسارت از این دست چرا فروهشته است؟ تشویش چرا از این سان در قعر جان توست؟»

دست آخر، وقتی آخرین امیدش برای گشودن معمای جهان نیز بر باد می‌رود، زاری‌کنان از سفر ناکامش به جهان ناشناخته‌ها، به زادگاهش باز می‌گردد، و ترجیح می‌دهد در داخل دیوارهای امن اوروک زندگی کند و بمیرد، بی آن که دیگر سرِ پنجه در پنجه افکندن با معماهای هستی را داشته باشد.

نخستین لوحه‌های حماسۀ گیلگمش، کهن ترین حماسۀ یافته شدۀ بشری، نه به ماجرای گیلگمش، بلکه به ماجرای «اِنکیدو» اختصاص دارد که ایزدبانوی آفرینش او را از خاک رُس و بزاق خود می‌آفریند. انکیدو دور از شهرها و آدمیان، در دشت و با حیوانات زندگی می‌کند. با حیوانات غذا می‌خورد و با حیوانات آب می‌نوشد. آهوان را از دام‌های شکارچیان دور می‌کند و نمی‌گذارد صیادان چیزی شکار کنند.

یکی از شکارچیان که از این وضع به تنگ آمده، حیله‌ای هولناک می‌اندیشد و دامی مرگبار برای انکیدو می‌گشاید. به شهر می‌رود و یکی از راهبه‌های ایزدبانوی عشق را همراه خود می‌آورد و به او می‌گوید از تمام جاذبه‌های خود استفاده کند و به هر نحو که شده، انکیدو را به عشق خود گرفتار کند. راهبه، انکیدو را به عشق خود گرفتار می‌کند. انکیدوی وحشی که دیدارش در دل هر بیننده‌ای رعب می‌انگیخت، پس از هفت شبانه‌روز عشق‌ورزی بی وقفه، رام و اهلی می‌شود. به فرمان راهبه لباس می‌پوشد و به شهر می‌رود تا با آدمیان حشر و نشر پیدا کند. گناهان فراوان مرتکب می‌شود و به مقدّسات بسیار بی حرمتی می‌کند. از نخستین گناه، یعنی پوشیدن لباس، تا گناهان عظیم چون کشتن نگهبان جنگل خدایان و طغیان علیه ایزدبانوی عشق، این فاصله را در عرض چند روز طی می‌کند. دیگر هیچ چیز جلودار او نیست. پس شبی در خواب می‌بیند که خدایان مجلسی ترتیب داده‌اند و قصد دارند که او را به خاطر گناهانش به مرگ مجازات کنند.

انکیدو، پریشان و سرگشته شبانه از شهر می‌گریزد و دوباره به زادگاهش، دشت باز می‌گردد. حال به هر سو که می‌رود، حیوانات از او می‌رمند. حال دیگر او «دانا» شده. حال دیگر «متمدن» شده. و این یعنی دیگر چون حیوانات، این دوستان قدیمی‌اش، معصوم نیست. پس با ضجه و زاری عشق نخستینش را نفرین می کند که مسبّب «دانایی» او شده و از زندگی وحشیانه بیرونش آورده.

انکیدو نومید به شهر برمی‌گردد. دوازده روز در بستر بیماری می‌افتد. و بعد، می‌میرد.
Profile Image for Jeffrey Keeten.
Author 3 books248k followers
April 9, 2020
”The one who saw the abyss I will make the land know;
Of him who knew all, let me tell the whole story
...in the same way...

Is there a king like him anywhere?
Who like Gilgamesh can boast, ‘I am the king!’

From the day of his birth Gilgamesh was called by name.”

 photo Gilgamesh_zpsk70l5ptp.jpg

An exorcist priest named Sin-Leqi-Unninni is famous for being the scribe who recorded the best preserved version of the Epic of Gilgamesh. He lived in Mesopotamia between 1300-11oo BC. His name translates roughly as The Moon God is One Who Accepts my Prayers. The poem is thought to have existed as much as a 1000 years before Sin-Leqi-Unninni transcribed this version, which would make this story over 4000 years old.

It is remarkable that we have these clay tablets at all. We have pieces of the story in other forms, and any translator who takes on the task of looking with fresh eyes at these cuneiform shapes relies heavily on the other scattered pieces to fill in the gaps of the missing sections of clay or the parts that have been rubbed into obscurity.

 photo Gilgamesh clay tablet_zpsjezdrp7n.jpg

Here is an example of what is readable out of the severely damaged tablet V column VI:

...a second time…
...threw down…
They cut off the head of Humbaba.”

It makes me think of when I was a kid watching a show, and the TV signal would start going on the fritz. The picture would start flipping and turning to static (probably a passing low flying UFO). I would be banging on the set (because that always helps) and frantically wiggling the ears until the rabbit is squawking. I’d get pieces of sound with distorted dialogue. Finally, the signal would be reacquired just in time for me to hear,

“That was amazing, Magnum.”

Fortunately, John Gardner and John Maier were able to resurrect the missing pieces from other sources, and they share that with us so we can see what we probably missed. It would have been wonderful to read how Sin-Leqi-Unninni would have interpreted that particular dynamic scene of Gilgamesh and Enkidu subduing Humbaba. One can only hope that more Gilgamesh pieces are still out there to be discovered and maybe, even possibly, another copy of this particular translation.

When I think of Gilgamesh, I also think of Beowulf. Both are epic, larger than life heroes whom I frequently, in my youth, mixed up. It wasn’t until I was at college, taking literature courses, that I managed to pry the two apart into two separate beings.

Gilgamesh VS Beowulf

Who would win? Well, Gilgamesh is two thirds celestial being and only one third human. When Enkidu is created as a counter balance to him by the Gods, it really isn’t a contest. Despite Enkidu being a powerful and great warrior, he is no match for Gilgamesh, so I’d have to say my head proclaims Gilgamesh would win against Beowulf, but my heart is always going to be with Beowulf.

Enkidu is raised by wolves, well basically the whole wildlife kingdom, and when it is time for him to give Gilgamesh his comeuppance, they decide the best way to bring Enkidu into the arms of civilization is to tempt him with the charms of a woman.

Here he is, courtesan; get ready to embrace him.
Open your legs, show him your beauty.
Do not hold back, take his wind away.
Seeing you, he will come near.
Strip off your clothes so he can mount you.
Make him know, this-man-as-he-was, what a woman is.
His beasts who grew up in his wilderness will turn from him.
He will press his body over your wildness.”

And man, did it ever work. It is like mainlining the poor bastard with some pure China White. He is hooked. ”Six days and seven nights Enkidu attacked, fucked the priestess.” Though this might resemble a honeymoon, never leave the hotel type situation, I doubt it was quite the same.

Enkido and Gilgamesh, after their property destroying epic battle, became best friends. Inseparable until death parts them. They kill the Bull of Heaven after the beast is sent for by the scorned goddess Ishtar.

You see, Gilgamesh turns her down.

”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,”

which is actually very astute of Gilgamesh, who is really better known as a love them and leave them type. There is, in fact, a lot of grumbling about his Middle Ages type insistence that he has firsties with any new bride in the kingdom. I guess the rat bastard aristocracy of the Medieval period had read a copy of Gilgamesh, or maybe we can assume that men with absolute power have always been the same.

 photo Gilgamesh and Enkidu_zpssumputua.jpg
Enkidu and Gilgamesh

There must be a price paid for killing the Bull of Heaven, and the Gods are not going to strike down their golden boy, Gilgamesh, so that leaves his best friend, Enkido, to be the fall guy. When you are on an away mission with Gilgamesh, you always wear the red shirt.

The grief that Gilgamesh feels is actually poignant.

”Six days and seven nights I wept over him.
until a worm fell out of his nose.
Then I was afraid.”

I really think that maybe Gilgamesh hopes the gods will take pity on him and listen to his lamentations and restore life to Enkidu, but my rule has always been, when a worm falls out of a loved one’s nose, it is time to bury him or run like hell because Uncle Ted has just joined the Walking Dead.

Gilgamesh travels to the underworld looking for his friend. I love this line: ”His face was like that of one who travels a long road.” I can see his mental and physical pain etched into the lines of his face.

There is a long digression in the story while Sin-Leqi-Unninni relates THE FLOOD story, starring Utnapishtim as Noah. The rest of the starring characters, that would be us sinners, are drowned. We are merely bobbing nuisances in the water, as a backdrop to Utnapishtim’s celebratory high 5s with the giraffes, gorillas, and gazelles.

Though nonsensical for Sin-Leqi-Unninni to shove Gilgamesh off center stage, it is actually very interesting to read.

”When he orders bread at night, he (Shamash) will rain down wheat,
enter the boat and close the gate.”

My family raises a lot of wheat, so the whole image of raining down wheat to feed Utnapishtim and his family is something I have never heard of in connection with the Noah version, but I really like the visual of wheat cascading from heaven to fill up the deck of the boat.

On his journey, Gilgamesh finds a weed that will restore his vigor and youthfulness. He wants to take it back to Uruk and share it with others. I’m already thinking to myself, gobble it down man, save some for others, but gobble yours now.

Well, then a snake shows up, and …

This is a blast to read. The notes that Gardner and Maier provide are invaluable to help me better understand the story, so don’t just read Gilgamesh, allow yourself to be immersed in the whole experience. I would read the text from the tablet and then read the notes to find some, not so subtle, changes occurring to my own interpretation of the meaning. Use these experts to heighten not only your knowledge but also your overall enjoyment of reading one of the oldest known stories in existence.

 photo John Gardner_zpsdfilddmg.jpg
John Gardner

I keep pondering the unexpected death of John Gardner in 1982. He died in a tragic motorcycle accident at the tender age of 49, before this book was published. I couldn’t help thinking of him because the notes are infused with his charismatic personality and his boyish enthusiasm. He had been drinking but was below the legal limit at the time. John Maier feels that he was overworked from too many projects and too little sleep. I first encountered Gardner when I read his wonderful, slender volume Grendel (1971), which I really need to reread so I can write a review for it. I didn’t know that he was already dead at the time that I read Grendel, but when I did find it out later, I felt that temporary displacement of learning bad news as if it had just happened. RIP John Gardner. May you be able to complete your tasks in the next life.

If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com
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Profile Image for Labijose.
986 reviews460 followers
October 17, 2022
Escrita originalmente en Summeria hace más de 3500 años sobre tablillas de barro, es la pieza de literatura más antigua que haya llegado hasta nuestros días, mucho más antigua que “La Ilíada” o “La Odisea”. En esta gran epopeya, el rey (y semi-dios) de Uruk, Gilgamesh, va en busca de la inmortalidad tras la muerte de su, primero rival, y posteriormente, inseparable compañero Enkidu.
En la narración nos encontramos con relatos que, paradójicamente, se verán reflejados en la Biblia muchos siglos después (la creación del hombre, el diluvio universal, etc), así que los católicos ultraconservadores mejor que se abstengan de leerla!
Por desgracia, no se han recuperado todas las tablillas que se cree que se escribieron, ni el nombre del autor de semejante obra de arte, pero eso no hace que el relato deje de leerse con interés, y sobre todo, por su antigüedad, con devoción. Nos damos cuenta que, en realidad, la Humanidad sigue teniendo los mismos problemas y las mismas dudas filosóficas y morales que desde el principio de su existencia, o sea, que no hemos avanzado demasiado. Destacar también que la traducción de la obra al inglés parece bastante aceptable, o así, al menos, me ha parecido.
Profile Image for Adina .
889 reviews3,539 followers
July 26, 2019
I thought it would be a good idea to brush on my (non-existent) knowledge of epics.

I cannot rate the Epic of Gilgamesh because I only listened to it as it was among the first piece of literature known to man and I was curios. Plus it was short. I am reading the Literature Book, an excellent history of the art of the written word and this was the first entry. The first category is called heroes and legends and covers titles from 3000 BCE to 1300 CE. I am planning to read some of the books mentioned there while I go through that tome so I will be mentioning TLB quite often in the following period.

Ok, back to the Epic of Gilgamesh. It was written on tablets in ancient Sumer, at around 2100 BCE and discovered in 1853. The fragments tell the story of King Gilgamesh of Uruk, an oppressive ruler of how he changes to a hero after he is taught a lesson by the gods. It is probably the first bildungsroman in history.

I cannot say I enjoyed listening to this Epic but I am glad I did. Since I am so confounded I decided not to give any rating.

My Epic adventure continues with The Iliad, which is definitely not short as this one, so it will probably takes some time. Wish me luck that I will enjoy the process.
Profile Image for Dream.M.
505 reviews90 followers
February 8, 2020
هیچکس مرگ را نمی‌بیند
هیچکس چهره‌ی مرگ را نمی‌بیند
هیچکس صدای مرگ را نمی‌شنود
مرگ وحشی فقط، انسان را بر زمین می‌کوبد
گاهی خانه‌ای می‌سازیم، گاهی اشیانه‌ای برپا می‌کنیم
سپس برادران آن را به ارث می‌برند و میان خود تقسیم می‌کنند
گاهی خصومت بر زمین حاکم می‌شود
سپس رودها طغیان می‌کنند و سیل جاری می‌شود
سنجاقک‌ها دستخوش جریان آب رودخانه می‌شوند
و چهره آنها به چهره خورشید ماننده است
سپس ناگهان هیچ چیز وجود ندارد
خوابیدن و مرگ درست مانند یکدیگرند
تصویر مرگ را نمیتوان کشید
دیشب خواب قشنگی دیدم. خواب دیدم مامان‌بزرگم بالای کوه پربرفی ایستاده بود و لالایی میخوند. با صدای لالاییش همه مُرده‌ها بیدار شدن و از گورشون بیرون اومدن. من خیلی خوشحال بودم. به این فکر میکردم که حالا حتما مامان و خواهرم هم زنده شدن و دل دل میکردم زودتر ببینم‌شون. نمیدونم اونها هم خوشحال بودن که دوباره زنده شدن یا نه؟ حتما خوشحال بودن دیگه، چون دوباره میتونستیم دور هم جمع بشیم . هر پنج نفرمون
Profile Image for Riku Sayuj.
656 reviews7,101 followers
September 29, 2017
He Who Saw The Deep: A Hymn to Survival

The Gilgamesh epic is one of the great masterpieces of world literature. One of the early translations so inspired the poet Rainer Maria Rilke in 1916 that he became almost intoxicated with pleasure and wonder, and repeated the story to all he met. 'Gilgamesh,' he declared, 'is stupendous!' For him the epic was first and foremost 'das Epos der Todesfurcht', the epic about the fear of death.

This universal theme does indeed tie together the various strands of the epic poem - it tells of one man's heroic struggle against death, for eternal life - first through immortal renown through glorious deeds, then for eternal life itself.

It then goes on to describe of his despair when confronted with the inevitable failure, and of his eventual realization that the only immortality he may expect is the enduring name afforded by leaving behind some lasting achievement.

The epic is also a work from which one is expected to learn from: the poet enjoins us in the prologue, to read about 'the travails of Gilgamesh, all that he went through!' The lesson is that maturity is gained as much through failure as success. Life, of necessity, is hard, but one is the wiser for it. Thus, it is also a story of one man's 'path to wisdom', of how he is formed by his successes and failures.

It also deals with profound debates on the proper duties of kingship, what a good king should do and should not do - in the end, Uta-napishti’s lesson to Gilgamesh is of the duties of kings and discourses on the inevitability of death and the fleeting nature of life.

The wisdom he received at the ends of the earth from the survivor of the Deluge, Uta-napishti, enabled Gilgamesh to restore civilization to its earlier splendor. The quest has taught Gilgamesh how to build his city back to its antediluvian glory.

The Flood: A Hymn to Survival

Through Uta-napishti’, the epic also artfully weaves into Gilgamesh's own story the traditional tale of the Deluge, the great flood that permeates most ancient myths.

Here, Gilgamesh brings home an important meaning of the ever-present flood myth. It allows us to see that the conquering of death is impossible but that preserving of life (and culture and civilization - ancient myths like to personify entire civilizations in its heroes) is the most important challenge. And it is achievable.

Gilgamesh has always been thought of as a life-affirming epic that asks us to live life and abandon the quest for avoiding death. But look once again at the advice of the flood-surviver, Uta-napishti:

‘O man of Shuruppak, son of Ubar-Tutu,

demolish the house, and build a boat!

Abandon wealth, and seek survival! 

Spurn property, save life!

Take on board the boat all living things' seed!’


‘No one at all sees Death,

no one at all sees the face [of Death,]

no one at all [hears] the voice of Death,

Death so savage, who hacks men down.’


'Ever do we build our households,

ever do we make our nests,

ever do brothers divide their inheritance,

ever do feuds arise in the land.'


'Ever the river has risen and brought us the flood,

the mayfly floating on the water.

On the face of the sun its countenance gazes,

then all of a sudden nothing is there!’

Gilgamesh does not ask human kind to avoid the fruitless quest. It was in fact his quest for the unreachable that allowed Gilgamesh to find his way, to find himself and to restore life/civilization. The quest is as unavoidable as Enkidu’s death that prompted it.

As long as Enkidus die, Gilgameshs will try to soar beyond human capacity. This is the cause for great hope. Gilgamesh celebrates an hopeful view that even mighty floods and decay cannot completely wipe out human civilization. It comes mighty close and it takes a wise king like Gilgamesh, but it is possible to overcome, to prevail. That is the hope that Gilgamesh holds out to us.


Post Script: A Damaged Masterpiece

This edition is probably the most comprehensive and scholarly version of the epic yet published. It is not dumbed down for the general audience and is not easy reading. The translator has opted for the integrity of the text over the ease of the reader. The text presented in this translation is fragmentary at best and could be frustrating for the reader. It takes patience and imagination from the reader to work through passages such as this (…. indicate missing text) :

In spite of all the difficulties, it is worth persevering. For this translation is definitely more rewarding than the 'freer' translations such as Stephen Mitchell’s. However, a cautionary note for the reader (from the translator):

While there is a temptation for a modern editor to ignore the gaps, to gloss them over or to join up disconnected fragments of text, I believe that no adult reader is well served by such a procedure. The gaps are themselves important in number and size, for they remind us how much is still to be learned of the text. They prevent us from assuming that we have Gilgamesh entire. Whatever we say about the epic is provisional, for new discoveries of text may change our interpretation of whole passages. Nevertheless, the epic we have now is considerably fuller than that which fired the imagination of Rilke. Approach what lies ahead not as you might the poems of Homer but as a book part-eaten by termites or a scroll half-consumed by fire. Accept it for what it is, a damaged masterpiece.
Profile Image for Valeriu Gherghel.
Author 6 books1,443 followers
September 7, 2023
Am citit epopeea în două traduceri: una veche din perioada interbelică (Casa Școalelor, „Biblioteca istoriei religiunilor”, 1921, versiune realizată de Ioan Mihălcescu după traducerea germană a lui Arthur Ungnad, 1911), și alta în antologia cu titlul Gîndirea asiro-babiloniană în texte, publicată în vestita colecție a Editurii Științifice „Bibliotheca orientalis”, în 1975, pp.105-182. Autor: Athanase Negoiță.

De curînd, am aflat că există și o a treia traducere - realizată de Virginia Șerbănescu și Al. Dima -, am făcut în grabă o căutare în magazia Internetului și am găsit-o pe un site. Am citit-o acum și am văzut că e, mai degrabă, o repovestire și că doar unele fragmente sînt parafrazate.

Firește, la o simplă comparație traducerile diferă destul de mult între ele. A se vedea pasajele citate mai jos... Toate sînt aproximative, fiindcă nici una nu e după textul original (în cuneiforme akkadiene). Epopeea se întinde pe 12 tăblițe, unele rînduri, cuvinte, fragmente s-au pierdut pentru totdeauna. Tăblițele au făcut parte din vestita bibliotecă a regelui Assurbanipal, cel dintîi „bibliomaniac” din istoria omenirii. Așa a fost caracterizat cu simpatie, desigur, de istoricii cărții.

După moartea lui Enkidu, Ghilgameș caută planta care dă nemurirea, asemănătoare unui „trandafir cu spini”, un fel de iarbă țepoasă. Planta se găsește undeva în adîncul mării. Ghilgameș se scufundă și o rupe. E bucuros, va trăi pînă se va sătura, a cucerit veșnicia. Din păcate, e neglijent. N-a înțeles întru totul cît de prețioasă e cucerirea sa. Neglijența îi va fi imediat pedepsită. Eroul se spală într-un izvor cu apă rece. Dar „un șarpe adulmecă aroma plantei, / iese din apă și o fură” (tăblița a XI-a). Șarpele a fost mereu o făptură vicleană, știm din prima carte a Bibliei.

Să citim două fragmente cunoscute, de altfel (versiunea Negoiță):
„Hangița zise către el, către Ghilgameș:
Ghilgameș, încotro alergi tu?
Viața [veșnică] pe care o urmărești tu nu se găsește.
Cînd zeii au plăsmuit omenirea,
Moartea au destinat-o ei pentru lume,
Viața [veșnică] și-au păstrat-o doar pentru ei.
Tu, Ghilgameș, satură-ți pîntecele
Fii vesel ziua și noaptea.
În fiecare zi fă o sărbătoare de petrecere,
În fiecare noapte cîntă și joacă!” (tăblița a X-a).

Versiunea Șerbănescu-Dima: „O, Ghilgameș, unde rătăcești la voia întîmplării? Viața veșnică, pe care o urmărești, n-o vei afla. Cînd zeii au făurit omenirea, au hărăzit oamenilor moartea. Viața veșnică au păstrat-o pentru ei. Tu, Ghilgameș, deci, caută să-ți îndestulezi pîntecele, zi și noapte bucură-te și te veselește; fiece zi să fie o sărbătoare, zi și noapte, joacă și cîntă: pune-ți veșminte frumoase, împodobește-ți părul, spală-te bine cu apă; ia aminte la copilul care te ține de mînă, iubita să găsească la pieptul tău plăcere. Iată ce li se cuvine muritorilor!”.

Iată un sfat care în latinește a devenit mult repetatul „Carpe diem!”. Voi transcrie și finalul elegiac al poemului (tăblița a XII-a). Mai întîi, versiunea Negoiță:
„Pe cel care a căzut de pe catarg l-ai văzut? L-am văzut.
Abia i-au fost scoase cuiele...
Pe cel care a murit de moarte năprasnică l-ai văzut? L-am văzut.
El stă pe culcuș de noapte și bea apă curată.
Pe cel care a fost ucis în luptă l-ai văzut? L-am văzut.
Tatăl său și mama sa i-au ridicat capul, iar soția lui a plîns pentru el, a plîns pentru el...
Pe cel al cărui suflet n-are pe nimeni să se îngrijească l-ai văzut? L-am văzut.
El mănîncă resturile oalei, firimituri de pîine ce se-aruncă în stradă...”.

Versiunea Șerbănescu-Dima: „Pe acel pe care moartea lui [o lacună], l-ai văzut? L-am văzut: stă întins pe un pat și bea apă rece, proaspătă. Pe acela care a căzut în încăierare l-ai văzut? L-am văzut: tatăl lui și mama sa îți țin capul și femeia lui se lipește de el... Pe acel al cărui suflet n-are pe nimeni care să-i facă slujbe l-ai văzut? L-am văzut: se hrănește cu resturile din ulcele și cu rămășițele din uliță”.

Mai trist și mai limpede de atît nu se poate... În treacăt fie spus, diferențele dintre traduceri sînt uriașe. Probabil că avem nevoie de o versiune mai apropiată de original...
Profile Image for Luís.
1,943 reviews608 followers
February 22, 2023
Here is the oldest story of humanity! Gilgamesh is the king of Uruk. He is also oppressive, brutal, and selfish—his epic had filled with quests, challenges, and battles. But, in search of immortality to be legal of the gods, he will eventually learn wisdom. A fascinating text that we would benefit from studying to understand the origins of our civilization; when reading it, we realize in particular that the holy books of monotheisms are only repeats of myths that already existed in Mesopotamia before the Bible.
Profile Image for Richard Derus.
2,971 reviews1,983 followers
December 10, 2021
**2021 UPDATE This text's antiquity prevents me from saying anything critical about the writing, except as regards the translation of same and how it reads. The Norton Critical Edition I reviewed below wasn't, erm, easy on the eyes shall we say. This Contra Mundum translation is HUGELY superior and vastly more fun to read.

BkC2) THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH: Not sorry I read it, but what a slog.

The Book Report: Evil King Gilgamesh is hatefully cruel to the citizens of Uruk, his kingdom. The gods, hearing the cries of his oppressed people, send Gilgamesh a companion, Enkidu. (Yes, that's right, a man.) Gilgamesh falls so in love with Enkidu, and has such big fun playing around and exploring the world and generally raising hell with Enkidu that his people are left alone to get on with...whatever it was that they weren't allowed to do before. And there was much rejoicing *yay*

No one is allowed to be too happy for too long. Gilgamesh learns this when he royally screws up by refusing to screw goddess Ishtar because he's busy having fun with Enkidu. It is **NEVER** a good idea to turn down nookie from a goddess. She gets her knickers in a twist and decides that, if he's gonna be *that* way about it, he's not gonna have his boy-toy either! THEN the boys do the colossally stupid thing of stealing Ishtar's bull, and it's lights out for Enkidu.

Gilgamesh's grief, to his peoples' relief, sends him on a quest for immortality. Which, frankly, makes not one whit of sense. Grief, in my extensive experience, makes one want oblivion, not eternity. Well, whatever, not me writin' the story, so off goes Gilgamesh to have more adventures.

My Review: A whole bunch of the Old Testament is lifted from this book. Amazingly whole and entire, too. Methuselah, Noah...all here first.

It's a slog to read, like the Bible, but it's fascinating if kept to smaller doses. I had no faith for it to rock, but it might rock a religious person's sacred book fantasy pretty hard. Highly instructive is the treatment of a strong love between men as perfectly boringly ordinary. No sexual component is implied in their relationship, but go find me a more loving relationship in sacred literature. Their closeness was so complete that it threatened the gods. But, crucially, it was the *CLOSENESS* that threatened the gods, not any inherent evil. The men loved each other so completely that there was no room for gods, which pisses gods off somethin' fierce.

Food for thought, homophobes who think Leviticus is right on *this* count.
Profile Image for Jonathan O'Neill.
173 reviews352 followers
May 9, 2021
3 ⭐

’The Epic of Gilgamesh’ OR ’A Mesopotamian Bromance’ is an incomplete and fragmentary tale of a King’s tyranny, an unrivalled friendship, the wrath of the Gods and one man’s search for immortality. It is at times hilarious in its absurdity and unexpectedly cavalier in its retelling of events. With elements of the story dating back as far as 2000 BC, I am awed by its historical significance but a lack of any real profundity and heavy verbatim repetition made this a middle-of-the-road experience for me.

My edition is the Penguin Classic’s Andrew George translation. Usually, I would advise against trusting anyone with two first names but in this case, I’ll make an exception as he includes an incredibly comprehensive introduction regarding the nature of the text and the difficulties in translating both Mesopotamian and Akkadian tablets. Be aware that it’s completely spoiler-filled, if spoilers are even a thing for 4000-year-old texts, as George pretty much explains the presumed significance of the various chapters in the intro.

This edition includes ’The Standard Version of the Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic: ‘He who saw the Deep’ , which George explains is the work of a scholar by the name of Sin-leqi-unninni who, most likely, lived sometime between the 13th and 11th century BC but was certainly not the original author, just a redactor. As the reconstruction of this epic still has considerable gaps, it is supplemented in places by older Akkadian material or even the Hittite version of the text and verified by comparison to old Babylonian tablets written in the early 18th century. In addition, we also get ’The Sumerian Poems of Gilgamesh’, ’Fragments of Old Versions of the Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic’ and ’Miscellaneous Babylonian Fragments’.

There is an insane amount of repetition! So much so, the story could be half, maybe a third the length without it and you wouldn’t bat an eye. The first time I came across a repeated paragraph I thought I’d just gone back to the top of the page instead of flicking to the next but the more I read, the more regularly such verbatim repetition occurred. One example (of the many) is when Enkidu is trying to convince Gilgamesh not to battle Humbaba in the Forest of Cedar:

Enkidu: ”Humbaba, his voice is the Deluge,
His speech is fire, his breath is death,
He hears the forest murmur at sixty leagues’ distance.
Who is there would venture into his forest?
Adad ranks first, Humbaba second.

Who is there would oppose him among the Igigi?
So to keep safe the cedars,
Enlil made his lot to terrify man;
If you penetrate the forest you are seized by the tremors.”

In the space of 3 pages, this whole passage is repeated 3 times as Enkidu beseeches the town elders to dissuade Gilgamesh from fighting and then the Elders repeat Enkidu’s sentiment verbatim. And, after all that, GMesh just ignores them anyway! Even worse is a huge passage explaining the ritual GMesh and Enkidu would perform every 3 nights on the way to the forest to provoke a dream. The same passage is repeated 5 times with just the explanation of the 5 dreams (often fragmentary due to missing or broken tablets) separating it. You learn pretty quickly to skim over such mind-numbing repetition.

Gilgamesh himself is a real piece of work. He’s a tyrannical King born to a human father, Lugalbanda and the Goddess Ninsun (aka: Lady Wild Cow), making him 1/3 human and 2/3 God (Don’t ask, just roll with it!) He’s a Royal Rapist making a nuisance of himself at wedding banquets:

’He will couple with the wife-to-be,
He first of all, the bridegroom after.
By divine consent it is so ordained:
When his navel-cord was cut, for him she was destined.’

As I’ve since found out, this is referred to as Droit du seigneur ('lord's right') and was also common in medieval times. Call it what you will, he was still a rapist.

He’s a Sacred Cedar-Smiter, smiting the Cedar trees of the Guardian Humbaba’s Ancient Forest after beheading the poor bugger with the encouragement of his step-bro Enkidu who was supposed to have been created as a companion to GMesh. An equal in strength but superior in moral fibre, designed to guide the King away from his tyrannical ways. He originally advised against going to the forest but once there he totally got caught up in the moment pretty much peer-pressuring GMesh into lopping the dude’s head off and then desecrating the sacred forest.

A spurner of Goddesses, he’s approached by the beautiful but petulant Goddess Ishtar who wishes to be his wife. She comes on hot and heavy in the same way she did with Ishullanu:

"O my Ishullanu, let us taste your vigour. Put out your hand and stroke my quim!"

But Gmesh wasn’t having a bar of the Gorgeous Goddess, being in the midst of a totally bro-tastic bromance and all, leading to persecution from the Pantheon!

The story jumps from episode to episode but ultimately culminates, due to the unfortunate series of events following the spurning of Ishtar, in Gilgamesh’s reflection on mortality, fear of death and subsequent Journey in search of immortality. You can squint your eyes as tightly as possible or poke and prod the text looking for something profound but it’s not there, in my opinion. If anything, it reads like a guide for Kings on how not to act when in power and a reminder of the importance of funerary rites and proper worshipping of the Gods. On top of this, it encourages one to accept their lot in life and enjoy it to the fullest, relinquishing vanity and taking pleasure in the company of family. Having said that, Gilgamesh was a demi-god and a powerful King, sort after by a beautiful Goddess, doesn’t seem that hard a life to accept! I’m also hesitant to accept that he learned any lesson by the end of his journey other than that the search for immortality is futile. A positive to take away is the great degree of re-readability of the text given the regular discovery of new manuscripts (the number has doubled over the past 70 years). Maybe I’ll come back to it in a couple of decades.

Special Mentions:

1. The one who Gilgamesh seeks answers to the question of immortality from, Uta-Napishti , is essentially the Mesopotamian Noah (as in Noah’s Ark). This was written long before Noah was even a thought in anyone’s mind. How cool is that!

”The deluge came but Uta-Napishti survived, safe aboard the ark with his family, his treasure and representatives of each craft and species of animal”.

2. Can we just take a moment to admire Enkidu’s sexual prowess (as well as that of Shamhat the Harlot)?!

”For seven days and seven nights
Enkidu was erect and coupled with Shamkatum (Shamhat)”.

*Stands and applauds* Bravo guys, Bravo! Btw, they went for another week after deciding to leave for Uruk. Surely friction burn becomes a concern!

3. Shiduri, Goddess of Wisdom and Ale. I’m always telling my fiancé the two go hand in hand! Of the many pearls of wisdom that I’ve offered up over the years, I’ve always felt my best came after a couple of pints, cheers!
Profile Image for Sawsan.
1,000 reviews
June 5, 2022
" متى بنينا بيتا يقوم إلى الأبد؟
متى ختمنا عقدا يدوم إلى الأبد؟
لم يكن دوام وخلود منذ القدم "

جلجامش ملحمة شعرية باللغة الأكادية مدونة بالخط المسماري على 12 لوح من الطين
تم اكتشافها في موقع أثري في خزانة الكتب الخاصة بالملك الآشوري آشور بانيبال
ملحمة أسطورية عن البطل جلجامش ملك مدينة أوروك السومرية
تتناول فكرة أساسية وهي حتمية الموت.. بجانب الصداقة والبطولة
وإمكانية تحقيق الخلود بالعمل في الحياة, قبل الموت الذي لا مفر منه

أجمل الفصول كان رحلة جلجامش للبحث عن سر الخلود والأبدية
هوامش ومقدمة طه باقر مفيدة وترجمته للملحمة بسيطة وسلسة
484 reviews29 followers
February 6, 2022
The Epic of Gilgamesh is the oldest known writing in Old English.
This is masterfully written and a joy to read. I recommend it to all.
Profile Image for J.G. Keely.
546 reviews10.2k followers
March 23, 2017
Why is it that I should feel a pit in my stomach when I think of the Library of Alexandria wreathed in fire? Cotton's Library, too, when we nearly lost Beowulf and The Pearl. Who knows what we did lose?

A copy of an unknown work of Archimedes was found to have been scraped clean, cut in half, and made into a Bible. To think: a unique book of knowledge--one that outlined Calculus 1800 years before its time--was turned into a copy of the most common book in the world.

As a young man, Tolkien once gave a speech equating the linguistic shift brought on by the Normans as a sort of genocide, overlaying original languages with endless permutations of Rome. It is remarkable that, between accidents and purposeful destruction, some of our remote history has survived intact. Tolkien's own fictional Middle Earth is better documented than the entirety of the Dark Ages.

Gilgamesh escaped total annihilation, though certainly did not survive unscathed. Buried beneath the desert sands for three thousand years, it was finally unearthed, opening a new world to us, a new history, a deeper root of literary tradition.

The peculiarities of the writing and the culture are remarkable and enlightening. Far more remarkable are the similarities. The work is comprehensible, the character motivations sympathetic, and the philosophical explorations recognizable.

If all the sciences are philosophy, all bent on exploring a vision of our world, then Gilgamesh is valuable to us because of the fundamental human similarities it depicts. However, we cannot say how much is fundamental similarity and how much is the influence of Gilgamesh on later works.

It is either an influence on early stories of The Bible, or both books share a common ancestor. It may also have been an influence on the Greek epic tradition.

There are many works and historical figures that are mentioned or referenced by other texts, but which no longer exist for us. To have one transformed suddenly from rumor to legendary tale is rare to say the least.

To think that now, in the land of Uruk--once a garden, now a desert--American combat boots pound the sand, American bombs level ancient temples, and American soldiers fill sandbags with ceramic fragments. We do not need Gilgamesh to show us how little things change with mankind. We can see for ourselves that ignorance, war, and profit still can take precedence over history, humanity, and culture.

As in his mortal fury Gilgamesh smashes the unknown stone things, we must seek to snatch up the unknown before the sword takes it. We cannot save what is already gone, but at least we can treasure what we find.

I had the pleasure of reading N.K. Sandars' translation (the Penguin edition), which is actually his reworking (for the non-academic) of of several direct translations. Her introduction is informative, though as usual, I thirsted for more footnotes.
Profile Image for Daniel T.
98 reviews18 followers
September 7, 2023
گیلگمش کهن ترین حماسه و داستان بشر.

حماسه گیلگمش سده هفتم پیش از میلاد مسیح پیدا شد، این داستان در کتابخانه پادشاه آشور (آشوربانیپال) کشف شد. اما خود داستان قدیمی تر از آن است و ۲۸۰۰ سال پیش از میلاد مسیح نگارش شده است.

این داستان ها بصورت لوح هایی در کتابخانه ای کشف شد و در هزاره دوم پیش از میلاد، فردی تمام این لوح ها را گرد آورد و روایتی متحد ساخت، از هویت این شخص اطلاعاتی در دست نیست ولی بعضا ذکر شده نام وی سین لیق اونینی بوده است که روی کتبیه ها حک شده.

حماسه گیلگمش داستانی راجع به فردی نیمه خدا و نیمه انسان است(دو سوم خدا و یک سوم انسان) او پادشاهی شهوتران ، ظالم و زورمند است که هیچکس توانایی مقابله با وی را ندارد پس مردمان به درگاه خدایان دعا کرده که موجودی بیافرینید تا بتواند با گیلگمش برابری کند تا بلکه این شور و قدرت از سر وی فرو افتد، پس خدایان «انکیدو» را خلق نمودند که نیمه حیوان و نیمه انسان است، او با حیوانان میخورد و میخوابد، چوپانی از او آگاه شده و از شهر زنی زیبا برای او آورده که زن با وی چندین شبانه روز همخوابگی میکند و خوی انسانی و کام زندگی بر او میچشاند و «انکیدو» رو به «اوروک» شهرِ گیلگمشِ پادشاه میبرد، «انکیدو» به محض ورودش به شهر با گیلگمش کشتی میگیرد و در این جدال گیلگمش پیروز میشود، اما انکیدو را برادر خود میشمرد و در این قسمت این داستان زیبا شاهد ایجاد اولین دوستی عمیق بین پسران (bromance) در تاریخ ادبیات هستیم.

آنها ماجراجویی هایی زیادی از سر میگذرانند تا روزی انکیدو را مرگ میبلعد و گیلگمش نیز در میابد که روزی مرگ به سراغ وی نیز خواهد آمد، پس به دنبال جاودانگی میگردد.

خب داستان از اینجا به کل تغییرات جالبی رو پیدا میکنه، سفر به دنیای مردگان، دیدار با شخصیتی به اسم اوت نپیشتیم (که این شخص داستانی مشابه نوح داره و نکته حائز اهمیت این هست که خیلی قبل تر از عهد عتیق این داستان روایت شده)

سفر به دنیای مرگ و عبور از اون هم به طور مکرر در سده های بعدی دیدیم از داستان و حماسه های یونانی گرفته تا کمدی الهی اثر دانته و تا به امروز شاهد این موضوع در ادبیات به طور واضح هستیم.

گیلگمش که راز جاودانگی را به طور قطع پیدا نمیکند به این پی میبرد که از طریق هنر میتواند ابدی باشد که دیوار عظیم اوروک را بنا میکند تا به نوعی جاودان باشد.

همچنین برای اولین بار در ادبیات با توصیفات باغ های بهشت و سفر به آنها مواجه هستیم که این موضوع را نیز در «سفر پیدایش» (عهد عتیق) میبینیم.

همچنین شخصیت صیاد و چوپان را میبینیم که از جهاتی داستانی به مانند هابیل و قابیل دارند. ( از نظر ارتباط و واسطه میان دنیای حیوانات و طبیعت و دنیای شهرنشینی)

همچنین بخشی از روایت که گیلگمش از رود مرگ میگذرد نیز بارها در طی سده های بعدی در داستان ها و منظوم های مختلف میبینیم که بهترین مثال ها برای آن: منظومه »انئید» اثر «ویرژیل» و «کمدی الهی» اثر «دانته» میباشند.

موضوع قابل توجه دیگه هم مطرح کردن عالم رویا هست که این موضوع نیز در تا��یخ ادبیات اولین بار در حماسه گیلگمش مطرح شده است که به کرات در سایر کتاب ها نیز دیده میشود.

تجربه خوبی بود👌
Profile Image for Nickolas the Kid.
313 reviews70 followers
March 17, 2021
Αν θέλει κάποιος να δει από που προέρχονται κάποιες από τις βασικές επιρροές της Παλαιάς Διαθήκης, των Ομηρικών Επών ακόμα και των ιστοριών του Τόλκιν δεν έχει παρά να διαβάσει το Έπος του Γκιλγκαμές.
Το συγκεκριμένο ποίημα είναι ουσιαστικά το παλαιότερο διασωθέν "λογοτεχνικό" έργο και αποτέλεσε τη βάση για πολλούς μύθους και θρύλους της Ανατολής αλλά και της Ευρώπης. Πρόκειται για μια σειρά ιστοριών με βασικό ήρωα τον βασιλιά Γκιλγκαμές, ο οποίος παρουσιάζεται ως 2/3 θεός και 1/3 άνθρωπος (κάτι σαν ημίθεος ή όπως θα το συναντούσαμε στη δική μας μυθολογία) και μπλέκει σε διάφορες περιπέτειες. Οι ιστορίες αυτές βρέθηκαν σκαλισμένες σε πινακίδες σε διάφορες χρονολογικές περιόδους. Το βασικό έπος ξεκινάει με τη γέννηση του Εκιντού που είναι το αντίπαλο δέος του πανίσχυρου βασιλιά που στέλνεται από τους θεούς για να φέρει ισορροπία στον κόσμο. Τελικά, οι 2 ήρωες γίνονται αχώριστοι φίλοι και μαζί ταξιδεύουν σε άγνωστα μέρη για να κάνουν ηρωικές πράξεις και εν τέλει να μάθουν το μυστικό της αθανασίας.
Το έπος τελειώνει με την κάθοδο του Γκιλγκαμές στον κάτω κόσμο, τη γνωριμία του με τον Θεό Ουτναπίστιμ, ο οποίος του εξιστορεί πως επέζησε ενός μεγάλου κατακλυσμού και πως κέρδισε αυτός και η γυναίκα του το δώρο της αθανασίας από τους θεούς.
Η συγκεκριμένη έκδοση περιλαμβάνει όλες τις διασωθείσες ιστορίες σχετικά με τον Γκιλγκαμές, η μεταφράστρια παραθέτει αρκετές πληροφορίες που είναι χρήσιμες στον αναγνώστη ενώ υπάρχει και μια πολύ κατατοπιστική εισαγωγή με ιστορικά στοιχεία και επεξηγήσεις.
Στη βάση του το έργο είναι απλό και διαβάζεται εύκολα. Μπορούμε όμως να διακρίνουμε από τα πάθη και τις επιθυμίες των ηρώων πως ακόμα και πριν 5000 χρόνια, ο άνθρωπος αναζητούσε τα ίδια πράγματα όπως και σήμερα και κυρίως τον προβλημάτιζαν ό,τι και εμάς τους σύγχρονους homo sapiens. Ο φόβος για τον θάνατο, η μοίρα, οι φιλία, οι θεϊκές παρεμβάσεις, το πάθος για εξουσία και φυσικά τα σεξουαλικά ένστικτα.
Σίγουρα, κάποιος ειδικός στις μυθολογίες και την ιστορία της Μεσοποταμίας θα μπορέσει να εμβαθύνει πολύ περισσότερο στο έργο, όμως πραγματικά πιστεύω πως και ο απλός αναγνώστης σαν κι εμένα μπορεί να αποκομίσει πολλά πράγματα διαβάζοντας το βιβλίο και κυρίως να ταξιδέψει σε μια άλλη εποχή μακρινή και γιατί όχι μαγική!
Δεν ξέρω αν το έργο είναι αριστούργημα ή όχι. Είμαι όμως πεπεισμένος όμως πως για κάθε βιβλιόφιλο και υποψιασμένο αναγνώστη το συγκεκριμένο έπος είναι απαραίτητο ανάγνωσμα.
Τέλος, να πω πως προσωπικά δε με ενδιαφέρει να κάνω συγκρίσεις με άλλα έπη ή ιστορίες ακυρώνοντας ή αμφισβητώντας άλλους δημιουργούς. Κάθε έργο μετά το Έπος του Γκιλγκαμές στέκεται μόνο του παρ' όλες τις επιρροές διότι έτσι πρέπει να είναι. Στην τέχνη δεν υπάρχει παρθενογένεση και χαίρομαι που διαπιστώνω πως το έπος λειτούργησε σαν έμπνευση για να δημιουργηθούν κολοσσιαία αριστουργήματα!
Profile Image for Blaine.
782 reviews655 followers
March 9, 2021
It is an old story
But one that can still be told
About a man who loved
And lost a friend to death
And learned he lacked the power
To bring him back to life.
It is the story of Gilgamesh
And his friend Enkidu.
Gilgamesh: A Verse Narrative
The Epic of Gilgamesh is the world’s oldest work of literature, dating back at least to 2,000 B.C. It is the story of Gilgamesh, the king of Uruk, who becomes best friends with Enkidu. They travel to the Cedar Forest and kill a monster named Humbaba, and soon thereafter also kill the Bull of Heaven to protect Uruk. But when Enkidu dies, Gilgamesh is so distraught that he crosses the Waters of Death to try to find the secret to eternal life to bring back Enkidu.

But what may make this story unique—even among ancient works of literature—is that there is no single, complete copy of The Epic of Gilgamesh. Instead, the tale has been pieced together by scholars from a variety of fragments of clay tablets found throughout the Middle East since the 1800s. There are several formal translations that attempt to translate every word from the overlapping sources, and to note all of the breaks and gaps. Even these translations vary significantly, depending not just on stylistic differences of the various translators, but on which source they use as their primary text.

For the formal version of The Epic of Gilgamesh, I read the Andrew George translation. The story is there, but it is not an easy read. Some of that difficulty is due to the gaps and the scholarly asides that pull the reader out of the story. But the formal translation also feels like an ancient story. It’s a bit clunky and quite repetitive in lots of places. There are lots of descriptions of rituals throughout that seem unnecessarily long. And the emotions displayed often feel less genuine and more performative, such as this quotation from shortly after Enkidu’s death: “O Enkidu, may the paths [of] the Forest of Cedar mourn you [without pause,] by day and by night!” It’s an emotional story told in a rather emotionless way, at least to a modern reader.

In addition to the formal version, I also read Gilgamesh: A Verse Narrative. Unlike the formal translations, this book attempts to capture the core story without being beholden to every repetition or gap. It reads more like one of the modern retellings of Beowulf. With many of the repetitions and scenes of rituals stripped away, there’s a much greater focus on Enkidu’s death, Gilgamesh’s grief, and his feelings of loss and loneliness. There may be some poetic license taken in the verse narrative, but the core of the story not only remains, but is greatly enhanced by being much more personal and emotional:
It is that inner atmosphere that has
An unfamiliar gravity or none at all
Where words are flung out in the air but stay
Motionless without an answer,
Hovering about one’s lips
Or arguing back to haunt
The memory with what one failed to say,
Until one learns acceptance of the silence
Amidst the new debris
Or turns again to grief
As the only source of privacy,
Alone with someone loved.
The Epic of Gilgamesh is a foundational work of literature. It may be a source or inspiration for numerous biblical stories, from Noah and the great flood to the idea of treacherous snakes. It’s a tale about friendship, death, grief, and living after loss—fundamental experiences of being alive. I’d recommend reading Gilgamesh: A Verse Narrative first or alongside The Epic of Gilgamesh to get the fullest emotional punch from the story. Recommended.

The Epic of Gilgamesh: 3.5 stars rounded up to 4.
Gilgamesh: A Verse Narrative: 4.5 stars rounded up to 5.
Profile Image for Peiman E iran.
1,429 reviews694 followers
February 2, 2017
دوستانِ گرانقدر، سفارش میکنم که این داستانِ بسیار زیبا و خواندنی را بخوانید و در این افسانه اندیشه کنید
با خواندن افسانۀ «گیلگمش» به نکاتِ زیادی پی برده و متوجه میشوید که بسیاری از داستان هایِ خیالی پیامبران و یهودیان خرافاتی و تازیان، از این افسانۀ اسطوره ای برگرفته شده است
متولد شدن «انکیدو» پهلوانِ بزرگ، از خاک و آبِ دهانِ خداوند... شبیه به داستان موهومِ «آدم و حوا» میباشد.. و باز هم نشان میدهد که تمامی ادیان بر اساس افسانه هایِ ایرانیان نوشته شده است
سفرِ «گیلگمش» به همراه «انکیدو» ما را به یادِ سفرِ "موسی" و "هارون" می اندازد... در آن داستان "یهوو" خدای یهودیان به آنها فرمان میدهد و در این افسانه «شمش» خدایِ آفتاب به «گیلگمش» و «انکیدو» فرمان داده و آنها را هدایت میکند... و جالب این است که تازیانِ بیابانی واژهٔ "شمس" به معنای خورشید را از خدای آفتاب "شمش" وام گرفته و تقلید کرده اند
اما نکتۀ جالب در این افسانهٔ خواندنی و زیبا، این است که: خداوند هیچ قدرتی بر روی زمین ندارد.. و وقتی در می یابد که "هومبه به" (خون بابا) در جنگل مقدسِ سدر، گناه و ستم میکند، مانندِ خدای مسلمانها و تازیان "اللهِ اکبر" عذاب نازل نمیکند.. بلکه به «گیلگمش» و «انکیدو» فرمان میدهد تا به جنگ او رفته و او را هلاک سازند... خودش هیچ دخالتی ندارد
امیدوارم از خواندنِ این افسانهٔ بسیار قدیمی و باستانی، لذت ببرید
«پیروز باشید و ایرانی»
Profile Image for Leonard Gaya.
Author 1 book935 followers
March 28, 2020
Le poème de Gilgamesh, composé, dans ses premières versions connues, il a 3 500 ans, bien longtemps avant Homère, est sans doute l’un des plus anciens témoignages de l’activité poétique et littéraire de nos lointains ancêtres de Mésopotamie, à l’aube même de l’Histoire. Cette épopée, comme chacun sait, relate le récit du roi d’Uruk, sa rencontre avec le sauvage Enkidu, l’affrontement du monstre Humbaba dans la forêt de résineux, la querelle avec Ishtar et le massacre du Taureau Céleste, la descente d’Enkidu aux Enfers, puis le voyage de Gilgamesh chez les dieux pour rechercher — en vain — la vie éternelle.

On ne peut manquer d’être touché par le caractère à la fois vénérable et étrange de ce récit, qui ne nous parle pas seulement d’exploits héroïques, mais plus essentiellement de la sortie de la steppe et de l’entrée dans la civilisation, de l’amitié entre deux hommes ; enfin et surtout de notre finitude et de notre condition mortelle, de ce qui fait de nous des humains.

Cette édition de la NRF est admirablement traduite et présentée par l’exégète biblique et assyriologue Jean Bottéro, de manière suffisamment savante pour que nous percevions comment ce texte a été, à grand-peine, reconstitué, mais aussi suffisamment claire pour que nous ressentions la beauté du poème. L’aspect le plus émouvant, sans doute, dans cette édition, est qu’elle fait sentir de manière très nette combien cette Épopée de Gilgamesh, consignée sur d’antiques tablettes cunéiformes, aujourd’hui en débris à travers le monde, est une œuvre naufragée, une épave en morceaux, repêchée des profondeurs de l’Histoire et dont il ne reste qu’un formidable et incomplet puzzle.
Profile Image for Banafsheh.
175 reviews125 followers
May 28, 2021
احتمالا اگر مخاطب جدی ادبیات بوده باشید اسم «حماسه‌ی گیل‌گمش» به گوشتون خورده و ممکنه مثل من حتی قبل از خوندنش بدونید داستانش درباره‌ی چیه.

اما من دلم می‌خواست خود اثر رو هم بخونم. چرا؟ چون اولین داستانیه که بشر نوشته !! اره درسته!! اولین اثر مکتوب جهان، به تاریخ حدودی ۲۴۰۰ سال پیش از میلاد مسیح !!

حس خوندنش برام مثال‌زدنی نیست. حس یه باستان‌شناس رو داشتم کت یه گنج عظیم بدست آورده و هر صفحه انگار یه لوح گِلی بود که با ولع محتویاتش رو می‌خوردم و جاهایی که شکستگی داشت یا ناخوانا بود برام شبیه معمایی بود که باید بهش جواب می‌دادم.

گیل‌گمش یه تراژدی اسطوره‌ایه خیلی به روزه !! چرا می‌گم به روز؟ چون داستانش، داستان سرگشتگی انسانه. داستان دست و پا زدن نسل بشر برای رویارویی با اونچه تقدیر مسلمش محسوب می‌شه؛ مرگ.

توصیه می‌کنم حتما بخونید و لذت ببرید

پ.ن: این کتاب با دو ترجمه توی بازار هست. ترجمه‌ی آقای منشی‌زاده و ترجمه‌ی احمد شاملو. اولی از حیث زمانی نسبت به ترجمه‌ی شاملو جلوتره. گویا شاملو اومده و با استفاده از این ترجمه و با زبان شاعرانه‌ی خودش این داستان رو اقتباسی زده و نوشته و توی مجله‌ی کتاب هفته به تاریخ ۱۳۴۰ چاپش کرده. نتیجه واقعا درخشانه !! حتی اگه دزدی ادبی باشه. توی این نسخه که من خوندم یه ترجمه‌ی غیر اقتباسی مستقیم از متن اصلی هم بود واو به واو از روی لوح‌ها انجام شده بود. اینم خوندنش واقعا لذت بخشه. شاملوی عزیز حالا درسته به خاطر این کارت تهدید به قتل هم شدی ولی بازم دمت گرم🙃 فک کنم ترجمه‌ب اقتباسی شما حالا حالاها از ذهنم پاک نشه.
Profile Image for saïd.
6,316 reviews965 followers
May 9, 2023
From the day of his birth Gilgamesh was called by name.
This translation, the edition I used when I was first studying the Epic (my copy has so many notes and highlights scribbled in it that it’s nigh-unreadable at this point), is the best translation of the Epic by a long shot. It preserves the columnal structure of the original tablets, and after each column is included a section of commentary discussing the context and missing pieces, commentary which is typically much longer than the actual text. Instead of filling in the holes where the clay tablets have broken or been lost, as other translators tend to do, John Gardner and John Maier enclose the empty spaces in brackets, and offer a range of possible “solutions” in the notes on each section. This results in a frustratingly fragmentary experience; for example, here’s the entirety of III.V as it has been preserved in Akkadian cuneiform:
cedar forest
they kill
Only two cuneiform signs remain, at the very bottom of the column: the sign for a forest of cedar trees, and the third-person plural active of “to kill.” The presumed context is the preparation for the attack on Humbaba.

Because this translation is only of the Akkadian cuneiform tablets, much is missing that is present in other versions, such as the Sumerian tablets. So difficult to translate is Akkadian cuneiform, in fact, that there are around ninety thousand untranslated tablets in museum storage rooms around the world, yet to be attempted by modern translators. The language, however simplistic, is distinctly ancient: people “shape their mouths to speak”; dreams are “untied” in order to be interpreted. This translation is, above all else, a scholarly work: it’s not the loosely interpreted story other versions, prose and verse alike, typically provide. The focus is less the actual plot of the Epic but rather more the construction of the tablets upon which the Epic is preserved. There’s a hilarious moment of interdisciplinary squabbling when John Maier references another translator (who isn’t named, but it’s N.K. Sandars) who replaced the authentic Akkadian twelfth tablet with a Sumerian story which had an entirely different conclusion.

But that’s all well and good—this translation is really of most use to an academic, not a layperson—let’s talk about the gay shit.

As is mentioned in the introduction,
Romantic love has maintained such a pull on romances that since the Middle Ages stories of heroic adventure seem strangely incomplete without a woman for the hero to rescue and, usually, marry. (…) But in a different way, Gilgamesh is very much a poem of love. No sooner do the men fight than they become friends. (…) The disintegration of Gilgamesh upon the death of Enkidu plays out the grief in narrative terms as well. Nowhere else is the identification between lover and loved so strong as in Gilgamesh’s attempt to become Enkidu. When, in Tablet XII, Gilgamesh tries to embrace the ghost of Enkidu but cannot, the reality of death as separation settles in at last. (…) In Gilgamesh, the pain of love and loss is the defining feature of humanity.
Sorry. That got sad quickly.

“The love of Gilgamesh and Enkidu is likened to that of husband and wife,” the introduction—which is around forty pages long and has its own set of notes—points out.
The most powerful term used to express the relationship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu is ibru (see II.IV). The Chicago Assyrian Dictionary (CAD 7.6) cautions that the term was originally devoid of emotional connotations, and denoted an “institutionalized relationship between free persons of the same status or profession which entailed acceptance of the same code of behavior and an obligation of mutual assistance.” The gloss “friend” is better for the term with which ibru is sometimes linked, tappû. That Enkidu is an “equal” to the great Gilgamesh only strengthens the whole range of mutual obligations and ties all the imagery of friend, brother, lover, comrade and even “wife” together.
Enkidu is compared to Gilgamesh’s “wife” a lot. His first introduction mentions “his head covered with hair like a woman’s” (I.II); Gilgamesh described embracing him “like a wife” (I.V); later, Gilgamesh veils Enkidu’s face “like a bride’s” (VIII.III). In fact, in I.V, Gilgamesh addresses his mother, Ninsun, saying:
Last night, Mother, I saw a dream.
There was a star in the heavens.
Like a shooting star of Anu it fell on me.
I tried to lift it; too much for me.
I tried to move it; I could not move it.
Uruk, the land, towered over it;
the people swarmed around it;
the people pressed themselves over it;
the men of the city massed above it;
companions kissed its feet.
I myself hugged him like a wife,
and I threw him down at your feet
so that you compared him with me.
Ninsun responds:
The star of heaven is your companion,
like a shooting star of Anu he falls on you;
you tried to lift it; too much for you;
you tried to move it; you were not able to move it;
you lay him down at my feet
so that I compared him with you;
like a wife you hugged him.
“Hugged” could also be “embraced,” a frequent euphemism for sexual intercourse, although the scene is homoerotic enough as it is. The commentary on this column notes that “the loving embrace is juxtaposed with competition (…). The competition-motif is set directly next to loving like a wife—but the emphasis is greatest on the last line of the column, presaging Gilgamesh’s love for Enkidu.” In the next column Gilgamesh repeats a similar dream, with an axe instead of a meteor, which he also embraces “like a wife” (I.VI). The words ibru and tappû are both used in these columns.

After the two have wrestled (a competition Gilgamesh ultimately wins), Gilgamesh makes a public speech praising Enkidu, and Enkidu cries with happiness. The two embrace; a more complete Sumerian text says they “kissed one another / and were friends.” The Akkadian says they “seized one another, embracing, / took another’s hands like [...]” (presumably “brothers” or something similar). The fight and the subsequent embrace are paralleled in the Akkadian verb ṣabātu,¹ meaning “to grasp,” applicable to both a friendly gesture and a combative grappling.

In III.I Gilgamesh addresses Enkidu directly as ibru, his equal (and also refers to his mother as “the great queen (…) Ninsun the wise, who knows everything,” which is incredibly sweet). The importance of an equal relationship is also mentioned in VI.I, when Ishtar propositions Gilgamesh, whereupon he responds by asking of her,
“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 victuals?—
you who eat food of the gods,
you who drink wine fit for royalty?
[For you] they pour out [libations];
[you are clothed with the Great] Garment.
[...] the gap [between us], if I take you in marriage!”
(He also calls her “a shoe that bites the owner’s foot.”)

Obviously furious, Ishtar petitions her father, Anu, to send the Bull of Heaven down to wreak havoc; Gilgamesh and Enkidu manage to defeat the Bull, and butcher it. When Ishtar appears to rage at Gilgamesh for having killed the Bull of Heaven, Enkidu tears off one of the animal’s shoulders (imittu) and throws it at her. Gilgamesh and Enkidu are referred to as aḫu (blood-brothers).

After Enkidu’s death Gilgamesh laments the loss of his friend:
I [have been] to [you], Enkidu, your mother, your father; I will weep for you in the wilderness.
For Enkidu, my friend, I weep like a wailing woman,
howling bitterly.
[He was] the axe at my side, the bow at my arm,
the dagger in my belt, the shield in front of me,
my festive garment, my splendid attire...
Gilgamesh then addresses Enkidu(’s corpse) directly, once again calling him ibru, the same word used here to mean “my friend.” Then, in X.III:
[…] my friend whom I love dearly underwent with me all hardships.
The fate of mankind overtook him.
Six days and seven nights I wept over him
until a worm fell out of his nose.
Then I was afraid.
Gilgamesh then asks, “How can I keep still? How can I be silent? / The friend I loved has turned to clay. Enkidu, the friend I love, has turned to clay.” This passage is repeated several times during this part of the story, which is hardly unusual for a narrative originally ensconced in oral tradition.

The twelfth and final tablet has no clear chronological relationship to the narratives in the previous tablets, as Enkidu is alive and goes to retrieve two objects originally given to Gilgamesh by Inanna—pukku and mikku, the exact nature of which is still unknown²—that have fallen through and crack in the floor and into the Underworld. (Some translators, such as Maureen Kovacs, choose not to include the twelfth tablet; others, like the notoriously shitty Stephen Mitchell, do.) Enkidu fails to follow the instructions that would allow him to return (the earth “seized him”), and is confined to the Underworld; Gilgamesh, in an unintentional premonition of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydike, turns to the god Ea (whose Sumerian name is Enki) for help, and is able to view Enkidu’s ghost, which appears in “from the darkness like a dream” (XII.III). Gilgamesh and Enkidu’s ghost attempt “to embrace, to kiss one another,” but are ultimately unsuccessful, and the rest of the tablet is essentially a didactic narrative explaining the fate of various spirits in the Underworld after death, after which the Epic ends.

One of the more overt mentions to the relationship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu (besides all the embracing and kissing) is in XII.IV, when Enkidu(’s ghost) addresses Gilgamesh, saying:
My body, that gave your heart joy to touch,
vermin eat it up like old clothes.
My body, that gave your heart joy to touch,
is filled with dirt.
This passage is once again a juxtaposition, contrasting the “joy” of touching a living body with the process of the decomposition of a corpse.

This work is outdated in some ways—it references Piaget in a positive light, for example—but overall it holds up incredibly well. I highly recommend it.


1 The form ṣabātu, from the root ṣ-b-t, is the non-mimated variation of the verb ṣabātum (𒍝𒁀𒌈). The logogrammatic form is 𒁳 (DAB or DIB).
2 For more on this question, see here.
Profile Image for Mehrdad Zaa.
76 reviews21 followers
March 30, 2021
اسطوره‌ی گیلگمش قدیمی‌ترین داستان دنیاست که بر روی ۱۲ لوح با قدمت بیش از ۴ هزار سال حکاکی شده. این الواح مربوط به زمان سومریان بوده و در میان‌رودان کشف شده‌اند.
گیلگمش پادشاه شهر اوروک است، یک سوم گیل‌گمش آدمی است و دو سومش خداست. در شهر سخن و کلام او قانون است. او شیر را از پناه بیرون می‌رماند، یال او را می‌گیرد و با زخم کارد می‌کشد. گیلگمش خستگی ندارد و با سختی‌ها شادتر می��شود. هر زنی در نخستین شب ازدواج، قبل از مرد خود با گیلگمش همبستر می‌شود. در زیبایی و قدرت هرگز مانند او دیده نشده. با این همه، گیلگمش میرا و فانی است.
کتاب در ۱۲ بخش (۱۲ لوح) نگاشته شده. در لوح‌های نخستین قهرمانی‌ها و ماجراجویی‌های گیلگمش و رفیق شفیقش إنکیدو روایت می‌شود. در ادامه گیلگمش با مشاهده‌ی مرگ إنکیدو، به یاد فانی بودن خود می‌افتد. ترس او را فرا می‌گیرد و با پریشانی به دنبال جاودانگی به تکاپو می‌‌افتد. در این بخش‌ها خط داستانی از روایت دلاوری به بیان دغدغه‌های وجودی تغییر می‌یابد که جذابیت داستان را ده چندان می‌نماید.
به نظر می‌رسد اسطوره‌ی گیلگمش و بخش‌های مختلف این حماسه، الهام بخش بسیاری از داستان‌های موجود در کتب حماسی و ادیان بوده است و برخی از رسوم ذکر شده در کتاب، حتی امروز نیز دیده می‌شوند. کتابی است که در چند ساعت می‌توان خواند اما روزها جای غور و تأمل دارد. شنیدن سخنرانی‌های بهرام بیضایی در مورد گیلگمش بعد از خواندن کتاب خالی از لطف نیست. این سخنرانی‌ها را می‌توانید در اینترنت پیدا کنید.
Profile Image for Hasan Al Tomy.
202 reviews95 followers
August 18, 2023
إنها قطعة أدبية بديعة
ملحمة أرض الرافدين الخالدة
انها ملحمة الصداقة الخالدة
ملحمة الإنسان في سعيه الدؤوب للخلود وهزيمة الموت والفناء

بعد موت صديقه أنكيدو يفزع جلجامش من الموت
فيمضي في رحلة طويلة يصارع فيها الأهوال يبحث عن أوتنابشتم ( بطل قصة الطوفان) الذي منحته الآلهة الحياة الأبدية ليدله على سبيل الخلود وحين يصل إلى سر الخلود والحياة الأبدية يضيع من بين يديه
Profile Image for Arman.
284 reviews199 followers
July 21, 2021
گیلگمش، فرزند زمانه:

برای ارائه‌ی یک تفسیرِ تمام و کمال اسطوره، بایستی آن اسطوره را در ظرفِ مکان-زمانی و فرهنگی‌ خودش قرار دهیم و براساس ارزش‌ها، اندیشه‌ها و زیستِ مردمانی که آن‌ها را ابداع کرده و مورد استفاده قرار می‌دادند، به تحلیل‌ آن بپردازیم (به جای اینکه اندیشه‌ها و ارزش‌های خودمان را در آن قالب کنیم.
گیلگمش هم از این قاعده مجزا نیست و نمی‌توان با اولین خوانش، بلافاصله با توجه دغدغه‌های خودمان، یک معنای اگزیستانسیالیستی قرن بیستمی از آن بیرون بکشیم. پس باید ابتدا به زمانه‌ی آفرینش گیلگمش بپردازیم.
ما به روایاتی سومری از شخصیت «گیلگمش» نیز دست پیدا کرده‌ایم. اما این اکدی‌های سامی هستند که با نبوغِ خود، عناصری از فرهنگ خودشان را به این داستان وارد می‌کنند (مانند جستجوی جاودانگی) و به تکوین آن کمک می‌کنند. و سرانجام در نسخه‌های بابل‌ست که «حماسه گیلگمش»ی شکل می‌گیرد که اما الان در دست داریم.
نزد فرهنگ‌های سامی، تجربه‌ی شخصیِ فرد از امر قدسی و دینی، از اهمیت ویژه‌ای برخورد بوده است؛ و از همین منظر است که جستجوی گیلگمش، معنا پیدا می‌کند. وی که به گفته متخصصان شخصیتی آستانه‌ای‌ست، باید همچون یک رازآموز و یا قهرمان، با سفر به درون جنگل خدایان، دست رد زدن به ایشتار، کشتن گاو آسمانی، سفر به دلِ آب‌های مرگ و غیره، آزمون‌هایی سخت را از سر بگذراند و به محدوده‌های ظرفیتِ انسانی سرک بکشد. در واقع از بعدی الهیاتی، می‌توان این سفر را نوعی تجربه‌ی دینیِ به قصد تشرف دانست؛ به قصد گذر از گیلگمشی که اوروک را به هم می ریخت، به گیلگمشی که به محدودیت‌های انسانی خود پی برده است.
از بعدی تاریخی نیز می توان این سفرها را نمادی از سرک کشیدن‌ها و جستجوهای دولت-شهرهای بین‌النهرینی دانست؛ آن‌ها می کوشند تا برای تبدیل شدن به اولین امپراطوری‌ها، دست به تلاشی ابرانسانی بزنند و با فتح و فائق آمدن بر طبیعت، مرزهای تمدن بشری را گسترش بدهند.

از خدایان و انسان‌ها:

اما از نظرِ جستجوی جاودانگی، گيلگمش بابلی را به نظرم می‌توان در نقطه مقابل هراکلس (هرکول) یونانی قرار داد؛ هراکلس نیمه خدا با گذراندنِ امتحاناتی که خدایان در برابرش قرار داده بودند، سرانجام توانست به نامیرایی برسد و همنشین خدایان شود.
اما گيلگمش که دو سومش از خدایان بود، علیرغم سفری مشقت‌بار و از سر گذراندنِ امتحانات فراوان، سرانجام از جادوانه شدن و برخورداری از تجربه‌ای خدای‌گونه باز می‌ماند.
الياده، این موضوع را به اندیشه دینی تمدن اکدی (خاستگاه حماسه گيلگمش) مربوط می‌داند: ناپایداری و ناامنی وضعیت بشری. «انسان، فانی و ميرنده و صرفاً برای خدمت به خدايان آفریده شده است».
اگرچه امپراطوری‌های تمدن‌سازی از بین‌النهرین سر بر آوردند، اما این مردمان همواره از حملات و تاخت و تازهای اقوام مختلف در هراس بوده‌اند. و عملاً هم بارها و بارها شاهد این حملات و استیلای اقوام بیگانه هستیم. این خطرات استرس‌زا، به سوالات پیچیده‌ای درباره‌ی نقش و تاثیر خدایان در زندگی ما دامن می‌زدند.
در واقع سرنوشتِ گيلگمش، ناشی از اندیشه‌هایی نيهيلستی‌ست که در آن دوران، مردمان بین النهرین تجربه‌شان می‌کردند: پیروزی شریران و بی‌تفاوتی خدایان نسبت به سرنوشت انسان‌ها.
البته الياده شواهدی از متون دیگرِ بابلی می‌آورد تا با کمک آن‌ها نشان دهد که خدایان بابلی، بی‌تفاوت نیستند، بلکه این اسطوره‌ها نشان دهنده‌ی نوعی فاصله‌گذاری بین قلمروی خدایان و انسان‌ها و تأکیدِ بر این جدایی می‌باشند.

نوح یا اوتناپشتيم، کپیِ برابر اصل:

تمدن‌های بین‌النهرينی و اسرائیلیان در یک جغرافیای مشترک (شرق نزدیک) سر برآورده و شکوفا شده‌اند؛ بنابراین آن‌ها جهان فرهنگی مشترکی تنفس می‌کرده‌اند. پس طبیعی‌ست که در روایات دینی و اساطير خود، از مضامین و الگوهای مشترکی استفاده کنند و توازی‌های زیادی بین آن یافت شود.
خانم کريستين هايس می‌گوید که گشتن به دنبال این شباهت‌های احتمالیِ بین اساطیر بین‌النهرین و بایبلی کافی نیست؛ بلکه از منظری، این تفاوت‌های احتمالیِ بین این دو سنت است که حائز اهمیت می‌باشند؛ و همچنین باید به چرائی‌ این تفاوت‌ها بیندیشیم.
در هر دو روایت، توفانِ بزرگ نتیجه‌ی تصمیم آگاهانه و تعمدیِ موجوداتی الوهی‌ست؛ و یک فرد انتخاب می‌شود تا با ساختن یک قایق خاص، از توفان جان سالم به در ببرد. بعد از توفان، هر دو روی کوهی فرود می‌آیند و پرنده‌ای می‌فرستند تا زمین را پیدا کند. و سپس هر دو، به قربانی کردن برای موجود الوهی می‌پردازند.
در روایت بین‌النهرینی از اوتناپشتیم (در حماسه های آتراهاسیس و گیلگمش)، به صورت صریح به دلایلِ نزولِ توفان بزرگ اشاره نمی‌شود. گویا خدایان شوری می‌گیرند و بر آن می‌شوند تا توفانی بر سر زمینیان بفرستند. حتی بنا به روایتی، خدایان از سر و صدای انسان‌ها به ستوه می‌آیند و تصمیم می‌گیرند که توفانی به پا کرده و دوباره «خائوس»ی را به پا کنند؛ در این دنیای جدید، هیچ انسانی از پیشینیان یافت نمی‌شود. و حتی تنها زوجِ باقیمانده (اوتناپشتیم و زنش)، در انگار دنیای جداگانه و دور از دسترس به سر می‌برند.
اما در روایت بایبلی (عهد عتیق)، خدا (یهوه) استانداردهایِ اخلاقیِ آشتی‌ناپذیری دارد که وی را می‌دارد که در طی عملی عادلانه (در مقابل عمل هوسبازانه‌ی «ان‌لیل» که حتی مورد اعتراض بقیه حدایان قرار می‌گیرد)، توفان را به صورت مجازاتی بر انسان‌های فاسد نازل کند
بنابراین در این‌جا، شاهدِ شکافی ایدئولوژیک هستیم؛ راویان کتاب مقدسی، به وضوح داستانی آشنا برای مردمان منطقه را گرفته، و از آن برای بیان ایده و ارزش‌های جدید و رادیکال خود بهره می‌گیرند

پی‌نوشت 1: باز هم یک همخوانیِ دیگر از سهیل و شایان و من، و البته این بار به پیشنهاد سهیل
پی‌نوشت 2: و با تشکر ویژه از دوست نادیده عزیز، یگانه، واسه این هدیه ارزشمند
پی‌نوشت 3: اصلاً تصویرسازی‌های فوث‌العاده مرتضی ممیز برای ترجمه‌ی شاملو را از دست ندهید. دار��ی تکنیک و درک گرافیکی بالا، و با الهام از سنگ‌نگاره‌ها و حجاری‌های بین‌النهرینی.
Profile Image for Miss Ravi.
Author 1 book1,007 followers
November 12, 2016
گیل‌گمش هیئتی انسان‌گونه دارد. قهرمان هم اگر باشد، خطا از او دور نیست. گیل‌گمش روایت تسلیم شدن انسان در برابر تقدیر محتوم است.
در داستان گیل‌گمش نکته‌ای برجسته هست که ذهن من را درگیر می‌کند. اهمیت خواب و تعبیر رویا در آن‌چه اتفاق می‌افت�� و آن‌چه قرار است رخ دهد، به‌شدت مشهود است. گیل‌گمش و انکیدو وقایع را با خواب پیش‌بینی می‌کنند، رویای هر دو اتفاق می‌افتد چه درباره‌ی آمدن انکیدو و چه درباره‌ی مرگ او. و مهم‌تر از آن در انتها وقتی که گیل‌گمش به سراغ اونتاپیشتیم می‌رود، او به گیل‌گمش می‌گوید باید بتوانی بر خوابیدن غلبه کنی اما گیل‌گمش نمی‌تواند و همان لحظه تا هفت روز به خواب می‌رود. اهمیت خواب در داستان کهن گیل‌گمش حتماً نشانه‌ی ارتباط نزدیک‌تر مردمان آن روزگار با ناخودآگاه‌شان است. خواب‌ها هنوز هم به همین اندازه اهمیت دارند.
Profile Image for Mahmoud Masoud.
287 reviews473 followers
May 24, 2020
الملحمة عظيمة جدا .. مش عارف ليه بيقولوا انها أوديسة العراق .. مع إن هي مكتوبة قبل الأوديسة زي ما ذكر د. طه في مقدمة الكتاب ..

النسخة اللي معايا ( الطبعة الثالثة من دار الوراق ) .. النسخة فيها مقدمة ممتازة بتتكلم عن أدب وادي الرافدين و عن الملحمة و تاريخها و اكتشافها .. مش بس كده .. بعد الملحمة كمان فيه اضافات ( ملاحق ) و هي بعض القصص المتعلقة بـ جلجامش نفسه غير الملحمة الرئيسية و قصص عن الطوفان .. أعتقد الملاحق دي مش موجود في الطبعات القديمة من الكتاب

في النهاية .. كانت وجبة دسمة في حضارة للأسف مكنتش أعرف عنها كثير ..

أرشحها لأي حد بيحب يقرأ أدب الملاحم و لأي حد مهتم يعرف عن الحضارات القديمة ..
Profile Image for Pejman.
48 reviews23 followers
November 23, 2022
ایران امروز به کجا می رود؟
یکی از زیرساختهای گیلگمش
رام کردن مرد وحشی به دست زنان ست
...انکیدوی نا اهل و وحشی را به زنی می سپارند تا اهلی اش کند
مگر شهرزاد در هزار و یکشب جز این می کند؟
البته اینجا به جادوی کلام
کلامی که همان فرهنگ است
فرهنگی که مقابل خشونت و وحشیگری ایستاده و
تلاش می کند آن را رام کند
البته به آرامی واستمرار و بدون تندی
بدون سلاح
و این مگر قصه ی دیروز و امروز و فردا نیست؟
،در هر خانه ای ، شهری و سرزمینی
تقابل فرهنگ با خشونت
ساختن با ویرانی
دانش با جهل
مدارا با زور
نسبی با قطعی
باروری با سترونی
انتخاب با اجبار
حق با تکلیف
زن با مردسالاری
زندگی با مرگ
آزادی با بندگی
Profile Image for A. Raca.
739 reviews152 followers
January 12, 2020
"Kim için yoruldu kollarım,
Kimin uğruna kanadı kalbim?"

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