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The Epic of Gilgamesh

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  81,051 ratings  ·  4,208 reviews

The ancient Sumerian poem The Epic of Gilgamesh is one of the oldest written stories in existence, translated with an introduction by Andrew George in Penguin Classics.

Miraculously preserved on clay tablets dating back as much as four thousand years, the poem of Gilgamesh, king of Uruk, is the world's oldest epic, predating Homer by many centuries. The story tells of Gilga

Kindle Edition, Penguin Classics, 276 pages
Published June 2nd 2016 by Penguin Classics (first published -1800)
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Mikhail Tillman An epic hero is different than our modern conception of heroism. An epic hero need not be concerned with saving people or bettering the world, they ne…moreAn epic hero is different than our modern conception of heroism. An epic hero need not be concerned with saving people or bettering the world, they need only to accomplish great things outside the realm of possibility for the average person. In that sense of the word, the ancient sense, he was the quintessential hero.(less)
Zoe's Human The story was originally told orally, and repetition was extremely common in the ancient oral story tradition. According to what I've read, the origin…moreThe story was originally told orally, and repetition was extremely common in the ancient oral story tradition. According to what I've read, the original version is even more repetitive. Literary styles change a lot over 4000 years.(less)

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Ahmad Sharabiani
Shutur eli sharri = The Epic of Gilgamesh, Anonymous

The Epic of Gilgamesh is an epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia that is often regarded as the earliest surviving great work of literature. The literary history of Gilgamesh begins with five Sumerian poems about Bilgamesh (Sumerian for "Gilgamesh"), king of Uruk, dating from the Third Dynasty of Ur (c. 2100 BC).

These independent stories were later used as source material for a combined epic. The first surviving version of this combined epic, kn
Emily May
Dec 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, 2018, classics
“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 case
Ahmad Sharabiani
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
Ahmad Sharabiani
Gilgamesh: A New English Version, Anonymous, Stephen Mitchell

Gilgamesh: A New English Version is a book about Gilgamesh by Stephen Mitchell. It was published in New York by The Free Press in 2004, ISBN 978-0-7432-6164-7.

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 Ba
Ahmad  Ebaid
Oct 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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 woul
Jeffrey Keeten
”The one who saw the abyss I will make the land know;
Of him who knew all, let me tell the whole story 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 Wh
5.0 stars. I thought this story was AMAZING. However, before I go any further I do want to point out that this review is solely for the version I read which was “Gilgamesh: A New English Version” by Stephen Mitchell. I say this because for a story written over 4000 years ago (approximately 2100 BC) about a King who lived over 4700 years ago (approximately 2750 BC) and was written in cuneiform in an extinct language (Akkadian), I imagine that the particular translation one reads may have a profou ...more
Riku Sayuj
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 strand
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 mentio
Paquita Maria Sanchez
I've now read this dingdang poem at least four times. Though I read it in both high school and my sophomore year of college, the textbook versions I was dealing with must have been pretty darn tamed down, as I do not recall any overt references to sexual organs or Prima Nocta. Yeah, I definitely don't recall any sexysexy lines like "Open the hymen, perform the marriage act!" Maybe I was just phoning in the whole learning thing back then, or maybe the years since I stepped away from academia have ...more
Here's the first book in the world, written around let’s say 2000 BC in Uruk, which is now Iraq, so when I set out to read all of the books in order a while back this was the first one I read. So it's nice that it's very good.

It’s about this king, Gilgamesh, who’s a dick. He’s a terrible king, a total tyrant. His best buddy Enkidu, on the other hand, is your archetypical noble savage guy, an innocent wild man. Enkidu gets civilized via the traditional method of having a sex priestess fuck him fo
Richard Derus
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 al
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This epic mythological tale was a surprisingly fun read overall and a powerful portrait of the power of male friendship and grief at its loss. Written about 1,700BC, it stars a king of the ancient Mesopotamian king of Uruk living around 2,700BC who is arrogant and unjust to his people. For example, every new bride is his for the bedding before the bridegroom has his joy. The people pray to the gods for relief from his tyranny, and in answer a temple prostitute is sent into the wilds to bring bac ...more
J.G. Keely
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, epic, reviewed
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 g
Elsa Rajan Pradhananga
It was heart-warming to hold a paperback version of an epic that was inscribed on clay slabs over 4000 years ago. But mid way through the book, I thought Gilgamesh had all the essential elements of a contemporary novel – special status of the lead characters, adventure, a partner in crime, sex, violence, lengthy imagery of landscapes, fight offs…

(view spoiler)
Yigal Zur
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
the epic of humanity looking for immortality. who is not part of this journey. Gilgamesh is one of us in all. great epic. i read it again and again
Mar 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I think I read this in class once, I don't remember it at all though. I wrote something stupid in the margin though that if I saw in someone else's book I'd think they were a moron, so I guess this proves I'm a moron, or was, or something. This version is a prose version, something I think is silly, I mean I've made fun of people (behind their backs) who buy the prose version of Homer instead of a verse version, so now I'm going to snicker behind my own back. Except I didn't buy this, or I did, ...more
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘
Admittedly I found George Smith's story more interesting than the book itself (fuck the British Museum, really) but hey I'm always here for anything that proves the Bible's travesty, so.

(yes, I'm writing this ridiculous 3-lines 'review' before diving into my course material otherwise I would most likely babble literary 'truths' and that's not what my GR account is about isn't it)
If you want the most interesting and the most banal analysis of anything simultaneously, reduce it to the sum of its fragments shored up against the one and only death. It is intriguing for its conscripting of any factoid into a series of Socrates soundings ("Why did they buy the house?" "They didn't want to die." "Why did they cross the border?" "They didn't want to die." "Why did they not resist being raped?" "They didn't want to die.") and monotonous to the point of pointlessness for the exac ...more
Selkie ✦ Queen
Are you mongrels ready to talk about Gilgamesh? Okay, let's talk about the king of heroes then! Embarrassingly enough, I myself only discovered Gilgamesh last year when I was teaching World History to a few of my students, and one of the lessons was about ancient civilizations. For a story that is considered to be a very old one--if not one of the oldest ever recorded in human history-- The Epic of Gilgamesh sure retained a rather comfortable status of obscurity, mostly because we're more inc ...more
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2018
I strongly believe that The Epic of Gilgamesh, as well as every other thing which dates back to before Christ, should be read (and enjoyed!) within the context. Treating these surviving tablets with pieces of Gilgamesh’s story as a story of a human being living in times of gods and powerful inexplicable force ruling over tiny people, makes said story a wonderful work of literature instead of a mess you cannot relate to. In fact, The Epic of Gilgamesh is surprisingly relatable. In a nutshell, thi ...more
What became of my [friend was too much to bear,]
so on a far road I [wander the wild;]
[what became of my friend Enkidu was too much to bear, ]
so on a far path [I wander the wild.]

'How can I keep [silent? How can I stay quiet?]
My friend, whom I loved, has [turned to clay,]
[my friend Enkidu, whom I loved, has turned to clay.]
Shall I not be like him, and also lie [down,]
[never to rise again, through all eternity?]'
K.D. Absolutely
Aug 15, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books (Classics)
Shelves: classics, 501
The Epic of Gilgamesh is an ancient Sumerian poem first discovered in Mesopotamia (now Iraq) on December 3, 1872. It is among the earliest known works of literature. This is how the tablet containing a part of the poem looks like:

One thing that struck me, as pointed out also by some literary scholars, is the fact that in this epic poem, there is also a Noah-like great flood and other Biblical stories that exist here about 1,500 years before the book of Genesis was written. I mean, were ther
The Obsessed ( Zazo ) Reader

“I will set up my name in the place where the names of famous men are written, and where no man’s name is written yet I will raise a monument to the gods.”
'O Utu, let me speak a word to you, give ear to what I say!
Let me tell you something, may you give thought to it!
In my city a man dies, and the heart is stricken,
a man perishes, and the heart feels pain.
I raised my head on the rampart,
my gaze fell on a corpse drifting down the river, afloat on the
I too shall become like that, just so shall I be!
"No man can stretch to the sky, no matter how tall,
no man can compass a mountain, no matter how broad!"
Since no man can escape life's end,
I will en
Brett C
May 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read excerpts of this many years ago for a literature class. I'm glad I reread this in its entirety now. This was a very imaginative and epic story centered on Gilgamesh and his friend Enkidu. I saw in this plot the struggle of time and immortality. Gilgamesh was the harsh king of Uruk who was part-god and part-human. After confrontation, he became friends with Enkidu, the wild man created by the gods to stop Gilgamesh's oppressive rule. There are various Babylonian gods, Watchers of the Fores ...more
Known as perhaps the oldest surviving piece of literature, it's nothing short of amazing that we're reading this some 3,000-4,000 years later. A bulk of it was translated from stone tablets made in the mid 600s BCE that were discovered in the middle of the 19th century. How many stories do you get to read that were written in cuneiform?!! It took me two days just to get through this one tablet:

(Bonus points to you if you can tell whether that's Sumerian or Akkadian cuneiform.)

You think history d
Maria Hill AKA MH Books
My enjoyment and understanding of the Epic of Gilgamesh was very much increased by Andrew Georges's translation. Also his introduction and inclusion of the Sumerian Bilgames poems.

This edition is highly recommended.
Ivana Books Are Magic
The Epic of Gilgamesh is considered to be one of the oldest written great works of literature- and possibly the oldest written work of literature (which is certainly an impressive title). For that fact alone, it's surely worth reading. A story four thousand years old. A lot changes in four thousands years. While I was reading it, I kept asking myself how many cultural references I was missing. What do we truly know about the times of Gilgamesh? It is certainly beyond fascinating to see its refle ...more
Mar 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
I've loved Stephen Mitchell's take on the classics since I first read his translation of Rainer Maria Rilke's poetry, and most recently with his update of Homer's Iliad. The strength of Mitchell is that he approaches the text as a poet FIRST and a translator second (and sometimes actually skips the translator role completely). The closest I've come to this in other translators is the husband and wife team of Richard Pevear (poet) and Larissa Volokhonsky (translator) and their amazing translation ...more
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“Gilgamesh, where are you hurrying to? You will never find that life for which you are looking. When the gods created man they allotted to him death, but life they retained in their own keeping. As for you, Gilgamesh, fill your belly with good things; day and night, night and day, dance and be merry, feast and rejoice. Let your clothes be fresh, bathe yourself in water, cherish the little child that holds your hand, and make your wife happy in your embrace; for this too is the lot of man.” 101 likes
“Strange things have been spoken, why does your heart speak strangely? The dream was marvellous but the terror was great; we must treasure the dream whatever the terror.” 52 likes
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