The Epic of Gilgamesh
This surviving tale of heroism, tragedy and supernatural events continues to capture the world's imagination, millenia since having been inscribed in stone!
The story's tablets have not all been recovered, but roughly two thirds of the 12 tablet epic's longest version have been found - apparently dating back as far as 2100 BC.
"And for a moment -- just a moment --
All that lay behind him
Passed from view.”
The incredible story of Gilgamesh, king of Uruk, and his involvement with a "wild man" named Enkidu sees the two do battle before befriending one another.
They venture off to slay a great and terrible beast, chop trees and challenge the Gods themselves. When Enkidu dies, a grieving Gilgamesh seeks the secret to eternal life, finds it and is robbed by a serpent. What a day!
"What you seek you shall never find.
For when the Gods made man,
They kept immortality to themselves."
Curious religious and mythological parallels crop up in Gilgamesh's story. Most notably, an account of a great flood and its only survivors, in the text of the 11th tablet.
The story is nearly identical to that of Noah's ark - lending credence to otherwise supernatural events involving divine intervention.
With an incredible story and massive berth of curiosities in tow, the Epic of Gilgamesh may be one of humanity's earliest and most perplexing pieces of literature.
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