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Now we have more than twice that number of manuscripts and fewer gaps.

As the years pass the number of available sources will assuredly go on rising.

He is also an Honorary Lecturer at the university’s Institute of Archaeology. The Sumerian Poems of Gilgamesh 141 Bilgames and Akka : ‘ The envoys of Akka' 143 Bilgames and Huwawa: ( The lord to the Living One's Mountain ' 149 and ‘ Ho , hurrah V Bilgames and the Bull of Heaven: ‘ Hero in battle ’ 166 Bilgames and the Netherworld: ‘In those days , in those far-off days' 175 The Death of Bilgames: ‘The great wild bull is lying down' 195 Appendix: From Tablet to Translation 209 Glossary of Proper Nouns 222 Publication of the Sources of the Babylonian Texts zz 6 List of Figures 1 Cuneiform text, seventh century bc, Ashur. Detail from the limestone tablet of King Nabu-apla-iddina, ninth century bc, Sippar. In the course of his heroic adventures it seems Gilgamesh was the first to dig oases in the desert, the first to fell cedars on Mount Lebanon, the first to discover the techniques of killing wild bulls, of sailing ocean-going craft and of diving for coral.

His research has taken him many times to Iraq to visit Babylon and other ancient sites, and to museums in Baghdad, Europe and North America to read the original clay tablets on which the scribes of ancient Iraq wrote. The left third of the tablet is in the Vorderasiatisches Museum, Berlin (tablet VAT 9667); the right part, reconstructed from fifteen pieces, is in the Archaeo- logical Museum, Istanbul (tablet A 122 123). 2 Cuneiform text, late first millennium bc, Babylon. Oriental Institute Museum, University of Chicago, tablet fragment A 3444. Amid the momentous themes, the epic is full of absorbing moments, often just minor, incidental details which serve every so often to catch the imagination or to lighten the mood.

He has published extensively on Babylonian literature and religion. British Museum tablet fragment WA Rm 785 Rm 1017 34248 34357. The text explains in passing why temples take in orphans, how there came to be two New Year’s Days in the Babylonian calendar, how the Levantine Rift Valley was riven, how dwarfs came about, why nomads live in tents, why some prostitutes eke out a living on the cruel fringes of society and others enjoy a life of attentive luxury, how it is that doves and swallows cleave to human company but ravens do not, why snakes shed their skins, and so on.

THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH The Babylonian Epic Poem and Other Texts in Akkadian and Sumerian Translated and with an introduction by ANDREW GEORGE PENGUIN BOOKS Published by the Penguin Group Penguin Books Ltd, 27 Wrights Lane, London w8 5TZ, England Penguin Putnam Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA Penguin Books Australia Ltd, Ringwood, Victoria, Australia Penguin Books Canada Ltd, 10 Alcorn Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4V 3B2 Penguin Books India (P) Ltd, n, Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi - no 017, India Penguin Books (NZ) Ltd, Private Bag 102902, NSMC, Auckland, New Zealand Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 5 Watkins Street, Denver Ext 4, Johannesburg 2094, South Africa Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England First published in Great Britain by Allen Lane The Penguin Press 1999 Published in Penguin Books 2000 2 Copyright © Andrew George, 1999 All rights reserved Map on pp. iii, 26, 45, 53, 60, 72, 92, 103, no, 117, 121, 125, 130, 146, 160, 175, 185 and 200 by Joanna Richards Illustrations on pp. The spell of Gilgamesh has captured many since Rilke, so that over the years the story has been variously reworked into plays, novels and at least two operas. There are two replies that answer both these questions.

The manuscripts of Gilgamesh are cuneiform tablets - smooth, cushion-shaped rectangles of clay inscribed on both sides with wedge- shaped cuneiform writing - and they come from the ancient cities of Mesopotamia, the Levant and Anatolia. Among them I single out for special mention David Hawkins, my colleague at the School of Oriental and African Studies, who has also contributed the translation of a Hittite fragment on p. At university I was given the happy opportunity of reading some of the cuneiform text of the epic under the guidance of the foremost expert in Babylonian literature, W. During this time I am lucky to have benefited from the advice and encouragement of many of Gilgamesh’s latter-day devotees. 16 Gilgamesh and Enkidu slay Huwawa amid the cedars. 25 Limestone plaque depicting wrestlers, middle of third millennium bc, Tutub. To Antoine Cavigneaux of the University of Geneva and Farouk N. Al-Rawi of the University of Baghdad I am indebted for the use of their unpublished book on the Sumerian composition we know as the Death of Bilgames. Appendix 26 British Museum tablet fragments WA K 3423 Sm 2097 Rm 579, K 8589 Sm 1681 and Rm 751 34853 35546. 55, and Aage Westenholz of the University of Copenhagen, who in the course of making an independent translation of the epic into Danish travelled with me the long and arduous road to Uta-napishti and back.These documents range in date across three thousand years of history and in content from the merest chit to the most sophisticated works of science and literature.Literary compositions that tell the story of Gilgamesh come down to us from several different periods and in several different languages.PENGUIN (w) CLASSICS The Epic of Gilgamesh A NEW TRANSLATION PENGUTN (A) CLASSICS The epic of Gilgamesh A NEW TRANSLATION TRANSLATED WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY ANDREW GEORGE With the earliest fragments dating back over four thousand years, Gilgamesh unquestionably ranks as 'the world's first truly great work ofliierature* - Anticipating episodes from Homer and ibe Bible* the Epic of Gitgamesh contains many strange adventures and intriguing incidents. S9.00 ISHH 0-1 4-044731 -D 9 J 78 40 447217 PENGUIN CLASSICS THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH ‘Humankind’s first literary achievement ... Detail of cylinder seal impression, late third millennium bc, Eshnunna. Clay plaque, early second millennium bc, Babylonia. Clay plaque, early second millennium bc, Babylonia. On several obscure points of Sumerian Mark Geller of Univer- sity College London and Steve Tinney of the University of Pennsylvania have come to my aid.Among Ehe universal themes the poem treats are friendship, family and the duties of kings. Gilgamesb should compel us as the well-spring of which we are inheritors ... Clay plaque, early second millennium bc, Babylonia. Line drawing by Joanna Richards (after Tessa Rickards). 20 Cuneiform text, early fourteenth century bc, Bogazkoy. The modern translator of Gilgamesh has the advantage of standing on the shoulders of those editors and translators who have gone before him. London, June 1999 Introduction Ever since the first modern translations were published more than one hundred years ago, the Gilgamesh epic has been recognized as one of the great masterpieces of world literature.The Standard Version of the Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic: i ‘He who saw the Deep’ Tablet I. But the difference with Gilgamesh, as also with the other works of ancient Mesopotamian literature, is that we keep finding more of it. Detail of carved stone relief, late third millennium bc, Girsu. Composite of clay plaques from Larsa, early second millennium bc. 17 The Sun God crossing the ocean at the end of the world. 23 Bilgames and Enkidu despatch the Bull of Heaven. IX List of Figures 24 Detail from a mosaic panel known as the ‘Royal Standard’, twenty- seventh century bc, Ur. Douglas Frayne of the University of Toronto has shared with me his work in progress on the Sumerian Gilgamesh poems.

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