Monday, 4 March 2013

Literary Perspectives on the Individual - Part 2: The Epic of Gilgamesh

Hi All,

The Epic of Gilgamesh is one of the oldest literary works we have.

Here some introductory information.


Civilizations - Mesopotamia:

Mesopotamia - the First Civilization on Earth:

Sumerer - Wikipedia (youtube)

Introduction to the Epic of Gilgamesh

Introductory Lecture:

Overview (2 parts):  &

Wikipedia Article:

Gilgamesh Project (in Spanish)

Spark Notes:

Text of Epic of Gilgamesh & Conversion of the Text into Other Media

Official Course Text:
Translation of Gilgamesh by David Ferry (available for $9 from Amazon):

Text of first 11 Tablets:


Full Text (including Tablet 12):

Audio Version of the Story (11 parts):

Animation of the Story (short summary):

Short Movie (summary):

Gilgamesh Modernized Movie:

Music Inspired by the Epic of Gilgamesh:




  1. I covered this in history class this term too, however we had a different version that was closer to the original. I would like to ask what the advantage of the literary version is over the original? The original gives us a clearer historical perspective, what does the version this course use give us more?

    1. Felix!! I would like to be the first comment T-T

    2. The benefit of the literary version is that it tries to capture the epic quality of the work. It is closer to the original in form. I also think it's easier and more fun to read. Texts that are more historical are sometimes a bit dry :) An epos is basically a cross between a narrative poem and a myth - and Ferry, the translator of our version, is trying to do justice to that.
      Since the Ferry translation doesn't focus on history, I gave you some additional links to help you get some idea about the historical context.
      The other reason, of course: the version we are using is the one that New Jersey chose :)

  2. Thank you for recommendation about Gilgamesh. This story is so interesting, but sometime I cant understand at all. I guess this story that teaches me as in the future, everyone has to die, nobody can run away from the natural rule.

    1. You certainly understood the central theme :)
      And what is also really interesting, I think, is that although Gilgamesh was written such a long time ago, we still have the same problem: to accept that we have to die....

  3. This is an interesting story; this poem has some tragedy color. Like people’s fate is controlled by the gods, even they try to resist their fates, they still fail. Enkidu was created by god and destroyed by god.

  4. I really enjoyed reading Gilgamesh. His and Enkidu's friendship is fascinating. You see that Gilgamesh really cares for Enkidu and you start to have an understanding of soul mates. The felix coupla Enkidu describes on his death bed is a theme that is still applicable today.
    This epic poem was written ca. 2500 BCE, Which tells us human emotions as well as the expressions of grief have changed very little.

  5. I presented The Epic of Gilgamesh and I remember I talked about the plot. What really called my attention most is when a hunter send a harlot to the forest to tame Enkidu. It happened because women at this time were considered "as a reliever" by men. In other words, women used sex to tame men which was the case of Enkidu.