Chapter

The Epic of Gilgamesh

Jean Bottéro

in Everyday Life in Ancient Mesopotamia

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2001 | ISBN: 9780748613878
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653584 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748613878.003.0014
The Epic of Gilgamesh

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An explanation of the impressive and fascinating work of which Gilgamesh is the hero is worthwhile for more than one reason. From the last part of the third millennium, a profound change took place in Mesopotamia, the indirect consequence of the final elimination of the Sumerian section of the population, which was absorbed and swallowed by the Semitic component. The Sumerians' cultural pre-dominance was succeeded by the rise to prominence of the Semites, Akkadians. From then on the sole possessors of their ancient patrimony, they were at that time reinforced by a fresh wave of their brethren – immigrants in their turn – whose most famous son, Hammurabi, created a large, enduring and prosperous kingdom centred on the city of Babylon. From that period, some ten scattered fragments, in Akkadian, relating to Gilgamesh, were found. In texture, tone and range they are very different from the Sumerian legends.

Keywords: Gilgamesh; Mesopotamia; Sumerians; Akkadians; patrimony; immigrants; Hammurabi; Babylon

Chapter.  5402 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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