The Epic of Gilgamesh

“He who has seen everything, who has experienced all the emotions, from elation to despair, has visited the secret places and traveled to the ends of the world must be immortalized”



This paragraph is from “The Epic of Gilgamesh” an epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia, written with cuneiform characters on 12 clay tablets in the year 2500 BC, considered one of the world’s earliest known literary writings.

Gilgamesh was a mythological king-hero from the city of Uruk, capital of Sumer, (present-day Warka in Iraq), who undertook a series of dangerous adventures, together with his friend and servant Enkidu, whose objective was the search for the secret of immortality. . The road was full of dangers, including plagues and floods. It is good to clarify that any similarity with “The Bible”, “Don Quixote” and countless other stories are not pure coincidence.


Sumerian Poems

The work made up of Sumerian legends and poems ranges from the years 3,000 to 2,550 B.C.

The plot of the story is the fear of death and the search for meaning in life, a theme that has been explored by writers and philosophers of all time.

The first six tablets recount the conquests and glories of Gilgamesh and his friend, but after Enkiru’s death, the rest of the tablets focus on the search for immortality, in a gloomy context, on loneliness and fear of the underworld, even the last tablet allows Gilgamesh to see the world that awaits him after his death.


The Myth

The doubt between myth or reality arises when “The Epic of Gilgamesh” explains that King Gilgamesh was the son of the warrior Lugalbanda and the goddess Ninsun, who moved among the gods as one of them and that his height was 5.60 meters, remember that the biblical giant Goliath was 2.50 meters.

It is estimated that the tablets were written between 1,000 and 700 B.C. by Assyrian scribes of King Ashurbanipal, who enriched the poem with different narrations, including the Flood.

This version was kept in the library of the king’s palace, in Nineveh, which was discovered in 1853 and whose materials were sent to London.


The History

The historical version of events tells us that the city of Uruk was founded in 2700 BC. on the banks of the Euphrates River by a group of warriors led by King Enmerkar, that dynasty ruled for 126 years, among which the fifth sovereign was Gilgamesh and the last his son Ur-lugal.

Under the government of Gilgamesh, the city walls were built, with a double structure, an outer one of which only traces remain on the ground and an inner one, more than nine kilometers long and five meters thick, reinforced with nine hundred towers. semicircular.

Let us remember that it was not until 1872 that the young researcher George Smith managed to translate the tablets and fragments of the Epic of Gilgamesh.


  • Cesar Leo Marcus

    Cesar Leo Marcus was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Doctor (PhD) in International Logistics and Foreign Trade, and Master (MBA) in Economic Sociology, he was professor of both chairs at the Universities of Madrid (Spain) and Cordoba (Argentina). A journalist, he publishes in newspapers in California, Miami, and New York. He is a writer, he published twelve books, and a literary editor, director of Windmills Editions. He currently resides in California.

    View all posts

Comment here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button