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The Epic of Gilgamesh

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  73,833 ratings  ·  3,617 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

Kindle Edition, Penguin Classics, 276 pages
Published June 2nd 2016 by Penguin Classics (first published -2100)
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chisholm It's the oldest dated written book or or written on the clay tablets whatever the medium was story written and found predating all stories or history.…moreIt's the oldest dated written book or or written on the clay tablets whatever the medium was story written and found predating all stories or history. The archeologist found it. They found that it predated homer and the bible, they found the Noah story on the clay tables with that chicken scratch line looking writing. after the tablets where found it took 30 years after they found the tablets before they could translate it. Archeologists discovered this doing the things you know archeologist do to discover things of the past. On it is the story of Gilgamesh. period. One could argue that the peoples of the past had unknowingly or knowingly stole from this original story adding it for their own embelishments and added it to their own regional history until believed fact. (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,
Emily May
Dec 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, classics, poetry
“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
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
Ahmad Sharabiani
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
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 Who
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 ...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 strands
Ahmad Sharabiani
Gilgamesh: A New English Version, 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 Babylonian"
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
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
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 ...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
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
J.G. Keely
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: epic, reviewed, fantasy
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
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
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
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)
Lᴀʏᴀ Rᴀɴɪ ✦
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 ...more
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 ...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, ...more
May 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

“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.”
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: 501, classics
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 there
'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
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
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 ...more
Oral tradition is often characterised by repetition, using rhythm, cyclic forms, repeated phrases or figures, returning symbolic props etc. The Epic has elements of all of these strategies, and while it's a bit dull on the page, it's easy to imagine it being spectacularly performed (though of course, it may not have been performed at all). In any case, it's full of intriguing motifs, some mysterious, others deliciously familiar...
Ilyas Bakla
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't usually like epic tales. But this book has changed my mind about epic tales. Simply brilliant!
Okay, so it seems like the story varies depending on which translation you read and it looks like I got a shorter version. It a bit difficult comparing (and rating) a 4-5000 year old story to contemporary literature. But I still enojyed the story for what it was. If nothing else than for the fact that it's the oldest preserved story in human history. I'm happy to have read it and I would've loved to know the whole story and the history behind it, but sadly it's most likely lost forever.

I can't
Heather Purri
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mythology Fans
This is the first story ever written down and it contains virtually all of the archetypes that we associate with a hero's journey. These are the themes that I took away from the epic. (Spoilers ahead.)

- Responsibilities vs. Adventure
Inanna/Ishtar/Astarte (Aphrodite/Venus to the Greeks & Romans) is a goddess of love, war, witchcraft, and the moon. Her brother is Shamash/Utu, a god of truth, justice, law, and the sun. Inanna's first and primary husband is Dumuzi/Tammuz (Adonis to the Greeks
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 ...more
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Books can be attributed to "Anonymous" for several reasons:

* They are officially published under that name
* They are traditional stories not attributed to a specific author
* They are religious texts not generally attributed to a specific author

Books whose authorship is merely uncertain should be attributed to Unknown.
“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.” 85 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.” 44 likes
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