Its said that The Epic of Gilgamesh is the oldest known story in the world. Even though I am a history and mythology nut, I had never read it before this last week. I was somewhat familiar with the myth and characters, but man-o-man, what a great tale. Gilgamesh said “I will stamp my name upon men’s minds forever!” Even though his story was lost for a time, I think he has.
Reading this, it is easy to see the inspiration behind many mythologies, with the most famous probably being the account of the bible’s Great Flood and Noah (who is known in The Epic of Gilgamesh as Utnapishtim). This shouldn’t be a surprise because, from what I remember, the biblical Abraham migrated out of the same near-eastern region. You can even see the origins of many modern myth in the clay tablets (there was much more than just the legend of Gilgamesh recorded in the clay tablets). There are a whole lot of people today who use these myths to explain UFOs, Panspermia, and the Annunaki origins of man. Not to mention Enkidu, who sounds a lot like Bigfoot when we first meet him. Not that I think he literally is or anything, or is even supposed to be, but when he is first introduced Bigfoot was exactly what I thought of…
The Gilgamesh mythology speaks of the roots of civilization, how mankind first left the forest as an animal to later became human (that’s what Enkidu’s tale says to me anyway), how we’ve sought and gained control over nature (represented by the Cedar Forest and the monster Humbaba), and addresses questions about the meaning of life and the meaning of death.
The story behind the story is also pretty amazing. It was originally written down onto baked clay tablets which were lost and buried underneath ancient ruins for over 2,000 years. In 1853 the first fragments of those clay tablets were discovered among the ruins of Nineveh (the ancient capital of Assyria), but the text couldn’t be translated until decades later.
I love this mythology!