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Gilgamesh among Us – Modern Encounters with the Ancient Epic - Cornell Scholarship Online
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Gilgamesh among Us: Modern Encounters with the Ancient Epic

Theodore Ziolkowski


The world's oldest work of literature, the Epic of Gilgamesh recounts the adventures of the semi-mythical Sumerian king of Uruk and his ultimately futile quest for immortality after the death of his friend and companion, Enkidu, a wildman sent by the gods. Gilgamesh was deified by the Sumerians around 2500 bce, and his tale as we know it today was codified in cuneiform tablets around 1750 bce and continued to influence ancient cultures into Roman times. The epic was, however, largely forgotten, until the cuneiform tablets were rediscovered in 1872 in the British Museum's collection of recently ... More

Keywords: Epic of Gilgamesh, ancient literature, cuneiform tablets, spiritual values, love, friendship, courage, Western history, ancient epic

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2011 Print ISBN-13: 9780801450358
Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016 DOI:10.7591/cornell/9780801450358.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Theodore Ziolkowski, author
Princeton University