When they finally met, Utnapishtim tried to convince Gilgamesh to abandon his quest and live a happy life as a mortal. As the earliest epic, Gilgamesh also invites comparisons with later epics like the Odyssey and the Aeneid. Gilgamesh decides the two of them should journey there and defeat the monster. But unlike the King of Uruk, Enkidu’s early days were spent in the wild, his instincts and lifestyle influenced by the wild animals that raised him. He then returns to his kingdom with a promise to be a better king and use his divine skills for the greater good. In his pursuit of Utnapishtim, at one point on his journey, Gilgamesh ended up at the gates of the underworld. resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel. Gilgamesh finally leaves with Urshanabi to return to Uruk. The final tablet concludes the epic by retelling how Gilgamesh attains the knowledge to worship the gods and decides to live the rest of his life virtuously as a wise king. This week, we're continuing our discussion of heroes by talking about Gilgamesh, star of one of the earliest written hero stories, The Epic of Gilgamesh. He is outraged and decides he must stop Gilgamesh. Life itself is limited to mortality and an understanding of this fact shall lead to living it honestly and morally. Gilgamesh explains that he wishes to attain immortality. By the end of his quest, he finds that true harmony lies in accepting how ephemeral life can be. They copulate for six days and seven nights. In epic “Gilgamesh” the central character, King Gilgamesh, has been depicted as a hero who is strong, mighty and powerful. Epic of Gilgamesh presents female characters that express their knowledge and understanding in line with his mission. They wait for Enkidu to reappear by the watering hole. His happiness depends on how he chooses to reconcile himself with this truth. They reach a shore and Gilgamesh meets an old man. After seeing Us, ... why was the epic of gilgamesh written: read the epic of gilgamesh: the epic of gilgamesh tablet 1: teaching the epic of gilgamesh: 12. Upon hearing of Gilgamesh, Enkidu decides he wishes to meet him. As a true brother in arms, Enkidu inspires the King of Uruk to become the perfect leader he could once have been. Upon seeing the great city, Gilgamesh understands that it is his legacy, and that if he rules well, it will be his greatest legacy. Older than the Bible. Enkidu tells Gilgamesh of Humbaba, a terrible monster who guards the Cedar Forest. xiii-xlii). Gilgamesh finds Urshanabi and the two set out to find Utnapishtim. 1 The Epic of Gilgamesh From The Epic of Gilgamesh, ed. To what might we owe this modern-day cultural amnesia surrounding one of the world’s greatest works of ancient literature? Ishtar appears and threatens the heroes. The story tells of the king of Uruk named Gilgamesh and can be broken into two parts. Enkidu falls ill and suffers for twelve days before finally dying. The 10 Oldest Ancient Civilizations That Have Ever Existed, Top 10 Most Worshiped Ancient Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, Top 10 Inventions and Discoveries of Ancient Greece…, Top 11 Inventions and Discoveries of Mesopotamia, Top 15 Most Important Events in Ancient Mesopotamia, Top 13 Surprising and Fascinating Facts about Ancient Babylonia, Top 21 Fascinating Facts about the Ancient Persian Empire, Top 12 Surprising and Fascinating Facts about Ancient Sumer, Top 12 Fascinating Facts about Ancient Mesopotamia. Epic of Gilgamesh, ancient Mesopotamian odyssey recorded in the Akkadian language about Gilgamesh, the king of the Mesopotamian city-state Uruk (Erech). It wasn’t until the seventh century AD that contemporary historians found the best-preserved copies in the ruins of the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal’s library. It was only when he befriended an equally powerful being, Enkidu, that his atrocities began to calm down. These myths and stories finally culminated in the Epic of Gilgamesh. The people of Uruk cry out to the gods for help so that they can have peace. Top Searches Holiday Gifts. This is by far the more popular and well-preserved version, composed by Sin-liqe-unninni somewhere between 1300 and 1000 BC in contemporary Mesopotamia. This makes it sound like he is on a very different quest from the last one he made—to kill the monster Humbaba. He took part in ceaseless battles, forced his people to construct endless projects, and raped any woman he fancied. Altogether, there are eight different tablets in the Old Babylonian version. Gilgamesh and Enkidu embark on … This is where he met Siduri, a tavern-keeper in the underworld. The standard Akkadian version consists of 11 tablets that map the entire story of Gilgamesh from his birth to his friendship with Enkidu and then his eventual journey in search of eternal life. Four thousand years old in its oldest form. Later that night, Enkidu has a dream that the gods are meeting in council. 2 years ago. By the time the Second World War ended, it was already being featured in various genres of art and literature. To keep him busy, the Mesopotamian deities create a companion for him, the hairy wild man Enkidu. The Epic of Gilgamesh was wildly famous in antiquity, with its impact traceable to the later literary worlds of the Homeric epics and the Hebrew Bible. But soon, they become good friends, so much so that Gilgamesh soon regarded him as a brother and equal, and a part of his conscience. The Question and Answer section for The Epic of Gilgamesh is a great He tells his father of the wild man he saw. Despite all this, the tale of the epic remains mesmerizing, be that in terms of the monumental adventure Gilgamesh sets out on or in terms of the powerful message the epic delivers to its readers. The personality of Gilgamesh … Ninsun fears about Gilgamesh’s life. The old man is Utnapishtim, who tells Gilgamesh that immortality is for the gods alone. He tells Gilgamesh the story of how he was granted immortality by the gods. Themes And Symbols In The Epic Of Gilgamesh 1008 Words | 5 Pages. The Gilgamesh referred to in the Epic has an historical correlate in a King Gilgamesh who is mentioned in lists of Sumerian kings, but there is no definitive evidence regarding his life and actions apart from the fragmentary texts that comprise the Epic. Hence, Gilgamesh is incapable of understanding the simple pleasures of life because of his extreme fear of death. He adorns filthy animal skins and journeys into the forest and mountains. It is an epic poem which narrates the story of the life of a man named Gilgamesh. He and his wife were granted immortality and a place among the gods. The epic’s flood story pans out almost exactly like the tale of Noah’s ark in the Bible. Both the trappers father and Gilgamesh tell him that when Enkidu sleeps with a woman, the animals he lives with will reject him. Archaeologists are yet to discover any actual evidence that could date the epic back to its time of origin, but multiple copies of certain snippets of the epic have been found in modern-day Israel, Syria, and Turkey. Part one involving Gilgamesh and Enkidu a wild man created by the gods the creatures they fought and finally Enkidu death which start the second part of the epic. There Enkidu learns that Gilgamesh will sleep with a newly married bride on her wedding night, before her husband sleeps with her. Afterwards, when Enkidu returns to the hills where he lives, the animals run away from him. Numerous tales in the Akkadian language have been told about Gilgamesh, and the whole collection has been described as an odyssey—the odyssey of a king who did not want to die. “The Epic of Gilgamesh” describes the heroic and laudable deeds of Gilgamesh in an elegant narrative style. Gilgamesh - The epic's title character. He has witnessed death and is now terrified of his own mortality. He sees a tavern by the sea and approaches it, frightening its owner, Siduri, with his appearance. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of The Epic of Gilgamesh. Since it contains the universally appealing themes of friendship, mortality, and the nature of the gods, the epic has had a huge influence in shaping the literature of subsequent cultures. He believed that since Utnapishtim was given eternal life by the gods, he would be able to guide him to immortality as well. The two meet in the streets of Uruk and a great fight breaks out between them. The Epic of Gilgamesh stands out as one of the earliest-known pieces of writings in human history. Then there is the Akkadian version from the early 13th to the 10th century BC. In cuneiform texts, these opening words are known as “incipit.” The incipit in the Old Babylonian version opens with the words Surpassing all other kings whereas in the standard version it says: He who saw the deep. Dave, Amit. Copyright © 1999 - 2020 GradeSaver LLC. Enkidu eventually travels to Uruk and blocks Gilgameshs way while walkin… One can see obvious similarities between Utnapishtim’s life and the story of Noah’s Ark. Siduri allows him to enter the tavern after he explains his story and his intention to find Utnapishtim. The Bull of Heaven descends on Uruk, killing hundreds of men. Not affiliated with Harvard College. N. K. Sandars (New York: Penguin Books, 1972)1 Introduction: Gilgamesh, the semi-legendary Sumerian king who ruled the city of Uruk around 2700 BCE, is the subject of the world's first great epic poem [written down c. Gilgamesh is widely known as the king of Uruk who made possible the founding of the great city wall. Wang, Bella ed. It was one of the most popular texts in the ancient world, perhaps due partly to its use as a standard text … When he emerges on the other side, he is in a wondrous paradise. He travels to Mount Mashu, a twin-peaked mountain that marks an entrance to a world in which mortals cannot venture. Gilgamesh, was a king of Uruk, fifth king, to be precise, in Mesopotamia. On his way, he learns about things beyond the scope of his kingdom and records his knowledge on stone tablets. He endures this terrible darkness for a full day. The epic of Gilgamesh, a story written on multiple clay tablets by the ancient Mesopotamian. Also referred to as the “earlier” or “older” version, this version is found on the oldest cuneiform tablets inscribed with details of the epic. Utnapishtim tells Gilgamesh of a magical plant at the bottom of the sea that can restore one's youth. Citing the earliest examples of the Epic of Gilgamesh, and if the myths around Gilgamesh are to be believed, the epic stood right at the top of the great literary masterpieces of ancient times. Suggestions Use up and down arrows to review and enter to select. The two set out for Uruk, making a stop at a shepherd's camp. Five earlier Sumerian poems about Gilgamesh have been partially recovered, some with primitive versions of specific episodes in the Babylonian version, others with unrelated stories. Each version has very different emphases and draws a different moral. The trapper returns with Shamhat, a temple prostitute from the temple of Ishtar, the goddess of love and war. He tells his son to ask the king for a temple prostitute to bring back with him to seduce Enkidu. Enkidu seizes the animal and Gilgamesh kills it with a sword. He was the fifth king of the Sumerian city of Uruk. Only after meeting Enkidu and becoming his friend does Gilgamesh transform into a hero worthy of memory. In the beginning, Siduri tries her best to talk Gilgamesh out of his search for eternal life, a quest that she considered a fool’s errand. Regardless of the moral dilemma of having to leave his neighbors and friends to die, Utnapishtim loyally completed the task set him by Enki. The Epic of Gilgamesh essays are academic essays for citation. Ishtar is outraged and convinces her father, Anu, to release the Bull of Heaven to punish Gilgamesh. He blames her for making him civilized..... for bringing him new experiences that over time lead him to his death. Eventually, he abandoned his life in the wild and headed for the city of Uruk. His life and deeds were so influential that many myths grew up around his achievements among subsequent generations of Sumerians. The Epic of Gilgamesh stands out as one of the earliest-known pieces of writings in human history. That being said, there are differences in the stories as well. It is important for one to live within their means without struggling to achieve what is impossible or unachievable. In his sorrow over the death of Enkidu, and the fear of the inevitable death that awaited him, Gilgamesh was keen to find Utnapishtim. While many of the great literary works of ancient G… Enkidu tears off one of the Bull's haunches and throws it at Ishtar. Next 15 results. Enkidu returns and Shamhat reveals herself to him. The gods hear them and instruct Anu, the goddess of creation, to make a twin for Gilgamesh, someone who is strong enough to stand up to him and who will ultimately save him. For example, in the Bible, Noah takes 100 years to build the ark whereas, in the epic, Utnapishtim had only seven days to complete it. The Epic Of Gilgamesh 4 1 THE COMING OF ENKIDU GILGAMESH went abroad in the world, but he met with none who could withstand his arms till be came to Uruk. This historic piece of poetic literature actually predates Homer’s earliest writings by 1,500 years. "The Epic of Gilgamesh Summary". But he also told him about a magical plant that could possibly help him gain eternal life. Similarly, where it rained non-stop for 40 days in the Bible, it only rained for seven days in the epic. The rich history of the Epic of Gilgamesh puts its legacy beyond that of a simple archaeological artefact. He can go into conflict with anyone dangerous and ferocious like Humbaba. He endures this terrible darkness for a full day. Gilgamesh is triumphant but his encounter with Enkidu changes him. Gilgamesh descends into the waters and retrieves the plant. A serpent appears and steals the plant, leaving Gilgamesh weeping by the water's edge. The dream proves true. Learn more about Gilgamesh in this article. When Enkidu is satisfied, he finds that the animals no longer accept him. He convinces the guards of the mountain, two Scorpion-man beings, to allow him to enter a long passage under the mountain. Eventually a trapper discovers that Enkidu has been destroying his traps. He brought back tidings from before the ﬂood. But the men of Uruk muttered in their houses, ‘Gilgamesh sounds the tocsin for his amusement, his arrogance has no bounds by day or night. Gilgamesh has the earliest version of the Flood Story, a narrative which appears later in both Genesis 6-9 and the Koran, Sura 71. Epic of Gilgamesh The epic of Gilgamesh introduces Gilgamesh, king of Uruk, who was one-third man and two-thirds god. Gilgamesh rejects Ishtar, telling her he is aware of her reputation as a scornful lover. He was chosen by the god Enki to abandon all his possessions and create a giant ship so as to survive the impending great flood that would wipe out all plants, animals, and humans. He began abusing his people, raping any woman he had his eye on and forcing people to work on his personal construction projects. To curb Gilgamesh’s behavior, the gods created an equally powerful being named Enkidu to fight him. See also: Top 11 Inventions and Discoveries of Mesopotamia. It is without doubt a gem in the history of cuneiform literature, a writing system developed by the ancient Sumerians themselves around 3500 to 3000 BC. Born two-thirds god and one-third man, Gilgamesh had formidable strength and an intimidating yet appealing physique. The trapper then brings a temple prostitute, Shamhat, to Enkidu, and she seduces him. Let me give you a quick download of who he was. Long after his death, people worshipped Gilgamesh, renowned as a warrior and builder and widely celebrated for his wisdom and judiciousness. The answer lies in the history of the narrative’s reception. Read the Study Guide for The Epic of Gilgamesh…, Questions of the Hereafter in Gilgamesh, the Bhagavad-Gita, and the Bible, Mother, Goddess, Seductress, Harlot: Women in "The Epic of Gilgamesh", Death and Immortality in the Epic of Gilgamesh, View our essays for The Epic of Gilgamesh…, View the lesson plan for The Epic of Gilgamesh…, View Wikipedia Entries for The Epic of Gilgamesh…. Yet, in the modern day, even the most erudite readers of ancient literature might struggle to outline its plot, or name its protagonists. Trending. Heart of Darkness Jane Eyre Julius Caesar The Book Thief The Odyssey In Enkidu, he found a true friend and brother – someone he could trust with his life and confide his biggest fears to. The Epic of Gilgamesh conveys many themes important to our understanding of Mesopotamia and its kings. She tells him to become her lover, promising great riches and rewards in return. Gilgamesh was the King of Uruk, a majestic Sumerian city that is located in present-day Iraq. These tablets represent the different life lessons in the Epic of Gilgamesh. He mourns for days and tears his hair and clothes. Anu makes Enkidu, a hairy wild man who lives in the wilderness with the animals. Gilgamesh is the Priest-King of the city of Uruk. Furthermore, the main character Gilgamesh is mentioned throughout ancient Greek and Roman literature. The epic of Gilgamesh is the oldest masterpiece of world literature. It records the full cycle of the nerve and aplomb of youth, of the doubt and crisis of midlife, of the acceptance and quiescience of maturity. Understanding Gilgamesh Œ brokenly Œ is to understand life brokenly. Starting off by introducing the powerful character of Gilgamesh, the epic takes the lead characters on an adventure where they learn about life, death, and friendship. Gilgamesh is shattered. Enkidu describes him as a force of nature itself, with a mouth of fire (The Epic of Gilgamesh Summary and Analysis of Tablet II and Tablet III) . Yes, the epic has its fair share of bizarre twists and rather unusual theories on the creation of the universe. In a way, Enkidu does fulfill the purpose of his creation by reducing Gilgamesh’s atrocities with his friendship. However, things take a desperate turn when Enkidu, together with Gilgamesh, slays the god of the earth Enlil’s servant, Humbaba. The Epic of Gilgamesh study guide contains literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, quotes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. Shamhat tells him to come back with her to Uruk. Different versions of the epic give different accounts of the interaction between Siduri and Gilgamesh. Perhaps the best-known event that occurs across the two narratives is the flood story. Each tablet takes its name from its current location or from its place of discovery. Save my name and email in this browser for the next time I comment. A 12th tablet was added to the Akkadian version at a later date as a sequel to the original 11 tablets. How can true love change a person according to The Epic of Gilgamesh? They ended up becoming great friends, so much so that Gilgamesh was devastated when Enkidu died of an illness inflicted by the gods. To counter the ever-growing menace that Gilgamesh was presenting to his people, the gods made Enkidu from water and clay to be equal to Gilgamesh in terms of might and power. The Epic of Gilgamesh essays are academic essays for citation. They make preparations and head to the Cedar Forest. Themes of friendship, the role of the king, enmity, immortality, death, male-female relationships, city versus rural life, civilization versus the wild and relationships of humans and gods resound throughout the poem. Here is a list of 10 interesting points to summarize the Epic of Gilgamesh: The prelude to the Epic of Gilgamesh primarily revolves around the introduction of Gilgamesh, the King of Uruk, and the subsequent events that shape his journey. Epic of Gilgamesh stands to be a story that relates the history of a strong man whose name was Gilgamesh. He returns to Uruk with Urshanabi. Long before the time of Gilgamesh, Utnapishtim ruled as the king and high priest of the city of Shuruppak. He seeks to escape it. Humbaba was a terrible monster who personifies evil. In the second phrase, the word “deep” is translated from the Akkadian word nagbu which linguists have interpreted as having the meaning “unknown mysteries.”. He faces the wrath of Ishtar and is struck down with an illness that slowly poisons his body, ultimately leading to his death. When we first meet Gilgamesh, he is a tyrant king who terrifies the people of Uruk. The trapper describes Enkidu as the strongest man in the world. The Epic of Gilgamesh is significant because it's one of the earliest examples of epic poetry and because of the insights it gives us into ancient Mesopotamian civilization. Despite having his entire kingdom at his mercy, his kingship was marred by his outrageous antics. The epic describes him as a fierce warrior and audacious architect. One day a trapper sees Enkidu by a water hole and is frightened. Standing in the tangible realms of Mesopotamia, the six-mile wall in its wide presence across civilizations makes no unsolved mystery though Gilgamesh, its acknowledged creator, is assumed a demigod. The Epic of Gilgamesh and the Hebrew Bible have strikingly similar themes and storylines. This transformative effect is also exacted on Enkidu, who... Enkidu curses Shamat for using her sorcery and body to bring him to hell. After a celebration, Gilgamesh bathes himself and catches the eye of Ishtar. The Epic of Gilgamesh is now regarded as one of the oldest masterpieces of cuneiform literature, slowly gaining recognition and popularity. Gilgamesh comes to understand that the most important thing in life is to have lived and loved well. They choose Enkidu. Whether there really was a king called Gilgamesh is immaterial. His father, Lugal-banda was said to be a priest-king and Nimsun, his mother, a great queen in her days. Unlike the heroes of Greek or Celtic mythology, the hero of The Epic of Gilgamesh was an actual historical figure, a king who reigned over the Sumerian city-state of Uruk around 2700 b.c. Gilgamesh decides to seek out Utnapishtim, the one being granted immortality by the gods. In the modern era, the epic gained a far wider audience during the post-World War I period. The fullest extant text of the Gilgamesh epic is on 12 incomplete Akkadian-language tablets found in the mid-19th century at Nineveh. Over time, it has been through multiple adaptations and retellings by subsequent generations. Gilgamesh decides to seek out Utnapishtim, the one being granted immortality by the gods. ... understanding of it all he gained. It was discovered by Hormuzd Rassam in the ruins of the library of Ashurbanipal in Nineveh. Themes of friendship, the role of the king, enmity, immortality, death, male-female relationships, city versus rural life, civilization versus the wild and relationships of humans and gods resound throughout the poem. For a long time, he remained completely isolated from the civilized world, but gradually his interactions with humans became more regular as he would free animals trapped by hunters. In reflection, although some people would say that Gilgamesh does not change from the beginning of the book The Epic of Gilgamesh, the better understanding of the book reveals that, in fact, Gilgamesh does change from the beginning of the book to the end. Siduri tells Gilgamesh of Urshanabi, the boatman, who can ferry Gilgamesh across the Waters of Death to where Utnapishtim resides. They become companions. His activities that are seen in the story are building magnificent temple towers, surrounding his city its high walls, and laid out fields and orchards. Unable to grasp the concept that death is a real possibility even for the likes of him, he embarks on a journey to the edge of the world. And, surprise: the whole point of the quest is to gain knowledge about life and death. The similarities don’t end there. The Epic of Gilgamesh is the narrative of life. Ancient Greek epics by the likes of Homer such as The Odyssey and The Iliad have clear similarities to the various episodes in the Epic of Gilgamesh. Moreover, this understanding is a broken understanding. There are a few surviving cuneiform tablets depicting the epic, and these older stone tablets showcase the Babylonian version which dates back well into the second millennium BC. An exhaustive directory of Gilgamesh's reference points would need to cover the entire corpus of Babylonian history, myth, and literature. “The Epic of Gilgamesh” conveys many themes important to our understanding of Mesopotamia and its kings. What follows here is instead a selection of names essential to understanding the main sense of Gilgamesh. Dating as far back as 2000 to 1500 BC, the Old Babylonian version of the epic is, however, considered incomplete with some of its tablets missing and the discovered ones having definite gaps in their narration. They encounter Humbaba and with the help of Shamash, the sun god, defeat him. He is a tyrannical king who works his people to death and takes what he wants from them. He asks Gilgamesh what he has done to deserve this same gift. It is said that on reaching Uruk, Enkidu wrestled with Gilgamesh as a test of strength. Historians actually believe that the epic could date back even further than this version. The epic poem of Gilgamesh is the earliest surviving work of literature, from the Akkadian period of Mesopotamia. His father tells the trapper to go to see Gilgamesh. So, when Enkidu died, he had a sudden, horrifying realization that death is a destiny he could not escape either. I. Gilgameshs many challenges throughout the poem serve to mature the hero and make him a good king to his people. He saw what was secret, revealed what was hidden. Gilgamesh was the King of Uruk, a majestic Sumerian city that is located in present-day Iraq. They return to Uruk carrying his head. He convinces the guards of the mountain, two Scorpion-man beings, to allow him to enter a long passage under the mountain. Gilgamesh, the best known of all ancient Mesopotamian heroes. For this reason, many historians have put it as the oldest remaining remnant of an epic in the history of Western literature. Meanwhile, Gilgamesh has several dreams foretelling the arrival of Enkidu. Also known as the goddess of winemaking and brewing, Siduri is rather alarmed when Gilgamesh threatens to smash the tavern into pieces if she doesn’t help him in his quest. It is only two-thirds complete and presents the story of Gilgamesh in a different light. Andrew George's edition (Penguin, 1999) includes a full and detailed introduction to Mesopotamian civilization as it bears upon reading and understanding The Epic of Gilgamesh.Below is a list of key-terms to learn and remember as you read the introduction (pp. It has also been retold and reshaped countless times which might have significantly altered the original storyline. The standard Akkadian and Old Babylonian versions have two different and distinct opening phrases. Here, Gilgamesh is chatting with the Scorpion-beings he meets at the rising of the sun. "The epic of Gilgamesh, the oldest written story, known to exist. In essence the epic of Gilgamesh emphasizes the significance of a simple life. Mortals must learn to accept death. In early excerpts, he is portrayed as a wise man, building magnificent temples and towers in his Sumerian city, surrounded by high walls. Ultimately, she sends him to Urshanabi, the boatman, whose help was essential for him to succeed in his search. He kills the young men at will and uses the women as he pleases. It starts with the Telling the tale of the adventures of King Gilgamesh and his trustworthy friend Enkidu. On his way back to Uruk, Gilgamesh stops to bathe in a spring, leaving the plant by the water. Gilgamesh decides he wants to meet Humbaba in battle, so he can leave his mark on the world. From the diverse sources found, two main versions of the epic have been partially reconstructed: the Standard Babylonian version, or He who saw the deep, and the Old Babylonian version, or Surpassing all other kings. GradeSaver, 19 August 2011 Web. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of The Epic of Gilgamesh. Events from the epic’s ark story are very close to episodes in the Bible’s Genesis, such as the serpent who misses his chance of grabbing the plant of eternal life and Gilgamesh’s ultimate realization that mortal life can be meaningful only if he truly accepts his humanity. The story begins with Gilgamesh, king of the city of Uruk. Still grieving for his friend, he sets out on a quest to learn the secret of eternal life, abandoning all his glory and power as a king. It is an epic poem which narrates the story of the life of a man named Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh is also known as Bilgames in Sumerian and Gilgamos in Greek and was part god, part man. The epic could also be a love story, a comedy, a tragedy, an adventure tale, or an origin story. Introduction to The Epic of Gilgamesh. The gods decide that one of the heroes must die for their behavior. Gilgamesh, the Sumerian King whose quest for immortality was real is a character with great power, bravery and might. But as he realized his might was beyond that of ordinary humans, he soon became a cruel tyrant. He travels to Mount Mashu, a twin-peaked mountain that marks an entrance to a world in which mortals cannot venture. 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