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  • Posted By: summertime
  • Date Posted: 06/22/2011
  • Category: History
  • Words: 3027
  • Pages: 13
  • Views: 1055
  • Rank: 763

A Glimpse of Humanity Reaching back to the Ancient Sumerians

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A Glimpse of Humanity Reaching back to the Ancient Sumerians

The epic of Gilgamesh was found in the mid nineteenth century, written on over twenty five thousand clay tablets. After much studying and deciphering, this ancient Sumerian epic has finally been translated, though many of the tablets have not been found. It appears that all the most important elements of the story probably existed as separate poems when they were first written. One of the oldest pieces of literature found today, Gilgamesh is at least 1,500 years older than Homer's epics, and was probably composed and recited many years, before being written down. According to scientific data, the tablets were probably written down in the first centuries of the second millennium B.C., in Mesopotamia.

The tradition reaches back to the time of the Archaic Sumerian civilization. The Sumerians were the first literate inhabitants of Mesopotamia, so their language is found on the tablets of Gilgamesh. In some other historical material, records have been recorded about several expeditions, many ones similar to the ones taken by Gilgamesh. One example contains a man who made a path into a cedar mountain on which no one had ventured before. According to N.K. Sandars, "Behind the solid fleshly Gudea we may see the shadowy figure of Gilgamesh, a great builder of temples and cities, who ventured into strange forests and brought back precious cedarwood," (16). Even if there was no Gilgamesh, the character is not fully fictitious.

The story of the epic is mostly about the character Gilgamesh who is superior king of Uruk or summer. An extraordinary individual. He was one-third a man and two-third god. For his special abilities he was worthy to be worshiped, therefore he was able to supervise everyone around. Citizens of Uruk were unhappy with his behaviors so they asked the gods for help. The gods respond ...

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