The Epic of Gilgamesh is one of the oldest stories to survive the test of time. This story was lost around 100 or 200 B.C. then it was rediscovered by an adventurer who went to Nineveh to explore the caves. There he discovered the statutes, pieces of clay tablets and relief work. These tablets were brought to the museum and studied for years before it was finally deciphered by a young curator George Smith. The language written on the tablets was Cuneiform and it is considered the oldest written language on the Earth.
The epic tells the story of Gilgamesh, a tyrannical king who did whatever he pleased. To punish him for his tyranny; the Gods make his twin named Enkidu who is sent to the forest near Uruk. When Gilgamesh learns about Enkidu, he goes out to see him and a battle between the two commences. For forty days and forty nights, the two battle until Gilgamesh accepts Enkidu as his friend. Enkidu then falls in love with Shamhat, who teaches him the way of the world and brings him to Uruk the city that Gilgamesh ruled. This city still stands to this day and can be visited to see the remanents of Ancient Mesopotamia. After some time, Gilgamesh and Enkidu decide to cut down the cedar forest near Uruk but everyone tries to stop them as it would displease the gods. Despite the warnings both Gilgamesh and Enkidu cut down the forest and slaughter Hambaba, the guardian of the forest. As punishment, the gods take away Enkidu’s life and Gilgamesh is devastated. He realizes that one day he will meet the same fate and searches for immortality but fails to find it. Instead, he finds wisdom and returns to his city, no longer a tyrant but a kind and wise king (“The Epic of Gilgamesh”).
The epic of Gilgamesh has been translated into many languages, played in theaters, painted and taught in many countries. It is older than Bible and the similarities in the tale and Bible make the readers question if the stories are true. However; only the people that lived in ancient Mesopotamia will know the truth and people in present times can only speculate.
“The Epic of Gilgamesh.” Annenberg Learner, https://www.learner.org/series/invitation-to-world-literature/the-epic-of-gilgamesh/. Accessed 18 Sept. 2021.