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The Gilgamesh Epos - reading and interpretation

Class at Faculty of Arts |


The Epic of Gilgamesh is the most famous and, arguably, the most important literary work from the Ancient Near East. The Standard Babylonian Version of 12 tablets with cuneiform text that will be translated and interpreted during this seminary was compiled around 1100 BCE by the scribe Sin-leqe-uninni. Every lesson will be dedicated to the translation of a part of subsequent tablets, with an elucidation and comparison with other Near Eastern material.

Tablet 1: hymnic prologue (history of the text)

Tablet 2: the domestication of Enkidu (compared with the domestication of Amurru, etc.)

Tablet 3: world topography; Sumerian Gilgamesh

Tablet 4: Adventure in the Cedar Forrest (Western periphery in Mesopotamian life)

Tablet 5: Fight against Humbaba (kiling the beast)

Tablet 6: the goddess Ishtar seduces the hero (compare the goddess Anat in Ugarit)

Tablet 7: good death and bad death in Mesopotamia (compared with other interpretations)

Tablet 8: The Underworld Court (comparative archaeology: the hypogeum of Qatna)

Tablet 9: Quest for the Immortality (esoteric interpretation of the Epic)

Tablet 10: The sober-minded Siduri (the afterlife of Gilgamesh)

Tablet 11: The most famous tablet ever: the great flood in Gilgamesh and through the ancient world

Tablet 12: about the underworld life (compared with the Sumerian, etc.)