Gilgamesh

The world has known its fair share of heroes and heroines. In fact, the history of humanity is carved in stories pertaining to heroes who did exploits and safeguarded their position in history as legends. These are individuals who fought and won battles, wrestlers, medicine men and others. Needles to say, their deaths did not mark their end as the societies within which they lived chose to immortalize them through songs, poetry and even folk stories. Of all the heroes of the past, none seems to have surpassed the stature of Gilgamesh.

Gilgamesh refers to an incredible hero of Babylonian, as well as Sumerian epic poetry. He was the son of a relatively ambiguous goddess known as Ninsun, who owned a palace temple in the city of Uruk. Gilgamesh preceded the coming of other folk heroes such as Heracles, reigning in Uruk at around 2700 BC. The description of Gilgamesh’s father in the King-list comes by the mysterious term ‘lillu’, which is used to depict a demon of the category of vampires or a fool. However, he was also a high-priest of a part of Uruk known as Kullab. It is worth noting that, in some instances, Gilgamesh calls Lugulbanda his semi-divine ‘father’.

In the King-list, Gilgamesh comes fifth and is said to have reigned for about 126 years after which his son took the mantle of leadership and went on to reign for a mere thirty years. Of importance to note is the fact that, his popularity was mainly founded on his skills that made him an incredible builder, as well as his title as judge of the departed or dead.

Ancient societies preserved the Epic of Gilgamesh on clay tablets that were translated in the 20th century. The Epic of Gilgamesh incorporates and outlines the King of Uruk’s adventures, especially with regard to his fruitless hunt for immortality, as well as his friendship with a man known as Enkidu.

A large number of poems pertaining to the Epic of Gilgamesh had already been written down during the initial centuries of the second Millennium Before Christ. They are, however, suspected to have existed in more or less the same form a long time before then. Nevertheless, the final and, arguably, most complete edition was made in the 17th century library of Assurbanipal, the antiquary, as well as the last King of Assyrian Empire. All in all, Gilgamesh remains one of the most famous and recognized heroes of the 27th century BC.