Gilgamesh (Bilgames in the earliest texts) was a historical king of the Sumerian city-state of Uruk, a major hero in ancient Mesopotamian mythology, and the protagonist of the Epic of Gilgamesh, an epic poem written in Akkadian during the late second millennium BCE. He likely ruled between 2800 and 2500 BCE and was posthumously deified. He became a major figure in Sumerian legends during the Third Dynasty of Ur (c. 2112 – c. 2004 BCE).
- Who is there, my friend, can climb to the sky?
Only the gods dwell forever in sunlight.
As for man, his days are numbered,
whatever he may do, it is but wind.
- What should I do and where should I go?
A thief has taken hold of my flesh!
For there in my bed-chamber Death does abide,
and wherever I turn, there too will be Death.
Quotes about Gilgames
- The first recognized epic hero is a Sumerian, known as Bilgames in the earliest texts, but since accepted as Gilgamesh. Around 2500 BC, he was the fifth king of the land of Uruk, where Iraq now sits. He was said to have reigned for 126 years and to have lived longer than that. He became the main figure in the Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the best-known examples of early Mesopotamian literature. In this work, he is described as a demigod, son of the mortal Lugalbanda and the goddess Romat (also known as Ninsun).
- Stan Lee's How To Draw Superheroes, by Stan Lee, co written by Danny Fingeroth, Keith Dallas and Robert Sodaro, Waston-Guptill Publications New York, (2013), “History and Origins of Superheroes”, ch. 1, p. 12.
- Because of your purity, youthful Utu has made everything abundant for you; may a sweet life be your lot, son of Ninsumun.
- The hoe buries people, but dead people are also brought up from the ground by the hoe. With the hoe, the hero honoured by An, the younger brother of Nergal, the warrior Gilgamesh – is as powerful as a hunting net. The sage son of Ninsumun is pre-eminent with oars. With the hoe, he is the great barber of the watercourses. In the chamber of the shrine, with the hoe he is the minister.
- The great wild bull has lain down and is never to rise again. Lord Gilgamec has lain down and is never to rise again. [...] The hero fitted out with a shoulder-belt has lain down and is never to rise again. He who was unique in strength has lain down and is never to rise again. He who diminished wickedness has lain down and is never to rise again. He who spoke most wisely has lain down and is never to rise again. The plunderer of many countries has lain down and is never to rise again. He who knew how to climb the mountains has lain down and is never to rise again. The lord of Kulaba has lain down and is never to rise again. He has lain down on his death-bed and is never to rise again. He has lain down on a couch of sighs and is never to rise again.
- Unable to stand up, unable to sit down, he laments.
Unable to eat, unable to drink, he laments.
Held fast by the door-bolt of Namtar, he is unable to rise. [...] Like a gazelle caught in a trap.
- You will be accounted a god. [...] Lord of Kulaba, [...] hero of the pristine mountain.
- Sisig (a god of dreams), the son of Utu, will provide light for him in the nether world, the place of darkness. When a funerary statue is made in honour of someone, whoever they may be, for future days, mighty youths [...] will form a semicircle at the door-jambs and perform wrestling and feats of strength before them. In the month Nenejar, at the festival of the ghosts, no light will be provided before them without him (i.e. Gilgamec).
- Read out
the travails of Gilgamesh, all that he went through!
- Prologue, Tablet I
- Enkidu opened his mouth,
saying to Gilgamesh:
"where you've set your mind begin the journey,
let your heart have no fear, keep your eyes on me!"
- Father, let me have the Bull of Heaven
To kill Gilgamesh and his city.
For if you do not grant me the Bull of Heaven,
I will pull down the Gates of Hell itself,
Crush the doorposts and flatten the door,
And I will let the dead leave
And let the dead roam the earth
And they shall eat the living.
The dead will overwhelm all the living!
- The life that you seek you never will find:
when the gods created mankind,
death they dispensed to mankind,
life they kept for themselves.
- O Mighty King, remember now that only gods stay in eternal watch.
Humans come then go, that is the way fate decreed on the Tablets of Destiny.
So someday you will depart, but till that distant day
Sing, and dance.
Eat your fill of warm cooked food and cool jugs of beer.
Cherish the children your love gave life.
Bathe away life's dirt in warm drawn waters.
Pass the time in joy with your chosen wife.
On the Tablets of Destiny it is decreed
For you to enjoy short pleasures for your short days.