The Epic of Gilgamesh is a poem that immortalized Gilgamesh, a ruler of Uruk (modern day Iraq) around 2500 BCE. The oldest extant copy (discovered in 1853) of the Epic in Akkadian is from 1800 BCE, though the stories likely pre-date that copy by several hundred years.
The oldest recorded human epic, it is often known for a flood account that has many similarities to the biblical flood. But more than that, it is about human grappling with mortality and the search for meaning.
Recently, the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) made the $450 edition of Andrew George’s 2003 OUP critical edition free for download. Don’t hesitate to add this to your digital library. (I would count that as part of the three below, but then that would be four, so I’m cheating this week.)
In this week’s 3 for Thursday, we hear the Epic of Gilgamesh in the original languages, watch it as a cartoon, and hear Star Trek’s Captain Picard recount the story to a dying alien friend.
1) Gilgamesh read in Akkadian
Catch the exploits of Gilgamesh in the original languages. Below is a sample of the recordings; all parts may be found here.
2) Gilgamesh Animated
If animation is your thing, you can find a Cliff’s Notes version of the story in the video below.
3) Captain Picard tells the story of Gilgamesh