The Epic of Gilgamesh

He who saw everything

"Out I go, into the world,

there is none better than Gilgamesh!"

The men of Uruk muttered:

'Gilgamesh, noisy Gilgamesh! Arrogant Gilgamesh!'

All young men gone:

Defeated by Gilgamesh, and no son was left to his father.

All young girls made women by Gilgamesh

His lusts are such, and no virgin left to her lover!

Not the daughter of a warrior,

Nor the wife of a nobleman!

Yet he is king and should be

The people' careful Shepherd.

He is king and should be

Shepherd of the City.

He is wise, he is handsome, he is firm as a rock.'

In heavens the gods heard the lament of the people,

The gods cried out to God, higher king of Uruk:

'Strong as a wild bull is this Gilgamesh

So he was made by Aruru, the goddess

None who can survive him in fighting.

No son left to his father.

Gilgamesh, he takes them all, and is he

He the king? Shepherd of the people?

No virgin left to her lover, For he lusts strongly!

No, nor the wife of the nobleman!'

The Great God heard this, then

To the Goddess of Creation, Aruru - cried all the gods:

'You forged this Gilgamesh! Now, create his equal!

Let him look into mirrors - give a second self to him;

Rushing winds meet rushing winds!

Let them flow heart to heart against

Give them each other to fight,

Leaving Uruk in peace!'


So the Goddess formed an image in her mind

There conceived in her mind, it was made material

she composes the Great God, He of the Firmament.

Plunging hands into water she pinched off a little clay.

She let it fall in the wilderness.

Thus the noble Enkidu was made.

Given the strength of Ninurta, the God of War

His hair waved like millet filaments,

of the grain goddess Nisaba.

Matted hair covered him, like the skins of the cattle.

This Enkidu was innocent of man' ways.

He knew not the cultivated land.

Enkidu was in the hills

With the gazelles

They ran with each other

With all the herds

He too loved the water hole.

But one day by a water hole

A trapper met him face to face,

Because the herds of wild game

Had strayed into his territory.

On three days face to face

Each day the trapper was terrified,

Frozen stiff with fear.

With his game he went home,

Unable to speak, numb with fright.

The trapper's face altered, reborn

A long journey does that to one,

Gives a new visage upon returning.

The trapper, heart all awe, told his father:

'Father, what a man! No other like him!

He comes from the hills, strongly alive!

A star in heaven his strength,

The star essence of An, the Sky Father

Over the hills with the beasts

Eating grass

Ranges across all your land,

Going to the wells.

I fear him, stay far away.

He fills in my pits

Tears up my game traps

Helps the beasts escape

Now all the game slips away

Through my fingers.'

His father told the son, the trapper:

'My son, in Uruk lives Gilgamesh.

None can withstand him,

None has surpassed him,

As a star in heaven is his strength

of the star-essence of An, the Sky Father.

Go to Uruk, find Gilgamesh

Praise the wild man's strength

'Ask for a temple hierodule from the Temple of Love,

Such a child of pleasure;

Bring her and let the power of woman

Subdue this wild man.

When he goes to the spring,

He will embrace the priestess

And the wild beasts will reject him.'

To Uruk the trapper went saying to Gilgamesh:

'Like no other, a savage,

Roaming in the pastures,

A star in heaven his strength

Of the star-essence of An, the Sky Father.

I am afraid, stay far away; he helps the beasts escape

Fills in my pits

Tears up my game traps.'

Gilgamesh said:

'Trapper, return,

Take a priestess, child of pleasure

When he goes to the spring

He will embrace the priestess

And the wild beasts will reject him.'

Wild Thing

The trapper returned with the hierodule

And three days to the water hole,

There they sat down hierodule facing the trapper,

Waiting for the game.

First day, nothing.

Second day, nothing.

Third day, bonanza !

The herds came to drink, and Enkidu

Glad for the water were the small wild beasts,

And Enkidu was glad for the water

He of the gazelles and wild grass, born in the hills.

The priestess saw this man

Wild from the hills.

'There woman', points the trapper,

'Bare your breasts now;

This is he, have no shame, delay not, welcome his desire,

Let him see you naked,

Let him possess your body.

As he approaches, take off your clothes,

Lie with him, teach the savage, your art of seduction.

The wild beasts, his companions, will then reject him.'

She had no shame for this,

Made herself naked

Welcomed his eagerness

Incited him to copulation,

Taught the woman's art.

Six days, seven nights,

That time lying together,

Enkidu had forgotten his home

Had forgotten the hills

After that time he was satisfied.

Then he went back to the wild beasts

But the gazelles saw him and ran,

The wild beasts saw him and ran.

Enkidu would follow, but weak,

His strength gone into the woman;

Wisdom came to him,

Rational thoughts in his head.

So he returned to the priestess.

At her feet he listened intently

'You now have wisdom, Enkidu.

Now you are as a god.

Why the beasts? Why the hills?

Come to Uruk of the strong walls

To Inanna's Temple of Love,

And to the Eanna,

Where the Sky God Anu can be found.

Gilgamesh is there, strong,

Raging like a wild bull, over the land is his strength.'

Favorably as she speaks, he hears her words.

He comes to know his own heart

And his desire to have a companion.

He tells the priestess:

'Take me, girl, to the sacred perfect

Dwelling of Love and Sky God's house

Where lives Gilgamesh of perfect strength,

He who rages like a bull over all,

And I will summon him forth and challenge him

And I will shout in Uruk: I am the mightiest!

Yes, I can change the order of what is!

Anyone born on the steppe is mighty and has strength!'


'Then let us go that Gilgamesh may see your face

I will introduce you Gilgamesh, for I know where he is.

Come Enkidu, to Uruk of ramparts,

Where all are dressed for festival,

Where each day is a festival,

Where there are boys,

Where there are girls,

Deliciously ripe and perfumed,

Who drive the great ones from their fretted couches

To you, Enkidu, of joy in life

I will show how Gilgamesh lives

See him, see his face

Radiant is his manhood, of full-bodied vigor

His body ripe with beauty in every part.

So exceeding you in strength,

Needing no sleep by day or by night.

Restrain your folly, Enkidu.

Gilgamesh, like Shamash the Sun, is proud,

Also An, the God of Firmament,

Also valiant Enlil, his son,

And Enki, his son also

All have given wisdom.

Before you come from the open plains

Gilgamesh will have dreamed of it.'

And so Gilgamesh rose from his bed

And to his mother, in revealing dreams, said:

'Mother, I saw in a dream last night

That there were stars in heaven

And a star descended upon me like unto

the essence of An, the Sky God.

I tried to lift it up, but it was too heavy for me,

I tried to move it, but it would not be moved.

The land of Uruk was around it,

All the people were pressing towards it.

All the nobles also came round it,

And all my friends kissed its feet.

I was drawn towards it as to a woman

And I laid it at its feet as you said it was my equal.'

Ninsun, Custodian of Knowledge, says to Gilgamesh:

'Your equal was a star of heaven

Which descended upon you like unto

The essence of An who is the God of the Firmament

You tried to lift it but it would not be moved

And I called it your equal, comparing it to you.

You were drawn to it as to a woman.

The meaning of this

Is of a strong friend who saves his companion

He is the strongest of the land; he has strength.

As a star in heaven his strength,

The strength of An of the Firmament and his host.

So that you are drawn to him overwhelmingly.

And this means he will never forsake you.

Such is your dream.'

Gilgamesh says again to his mother:

'Mother, another dream

In Uruk of the ramparts lay an axe

All were gathered around it,

Uruk-land was standing round about it.

The people pressed towards it; I laid it at your feet.

I was drawn to it as to a woman.

For you called it my equal.'

She, Custodian of Knowledge, says to her son:

'The axe is a man

You were drawn to it as to a woman

For I called it your equal

And it was to rival you.

This means a strong friend standing by his friend

He is the strongest of the land; he has strength.

Essence of An is his arms so strong is he.'

Gilgamesh then spoke to his mother:

'Now according to the word of Enlil

Let a counsellor and friend come to me

That I may acquire a companion

And to him I shall be friend and counsellor also.'

As Gilgamesh dreamed the girl spoke to Enkidu.

Inanna was the Sumerian goddess of compassion and fertility centered in the Eanna temple at the city of Uruk.

Eanna - From the old Irish 'Eidhne' pronounced 'Ay-nah'. A term from the west of Ireland meaning one of unscrupulous intentions towards one of the opposite sex.

Epic Of Gilgamesh In Sumerian

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