Anonymous, Gilgamesh

Nathan Breen (DePaul University)
Download PDF Add to Bookshelf Report an Error

Written in Akkadian cuneiform,

The Epic of Gilgamesh

is a narrative of the historical king Gilgamesh, who lived and reigned over the domain of Uruk (located in present day Iraq on the southwestern bank of the river Euphrates) during the third millennium BCE (approximately 2700 BCE). The epic, the earliest extant myth in poetic form, is best known for the episode in which Utnapishtim, an ancient figure of Sumerian lore, recounts the flood created by the gods to destroy humanity. However, the narrative comprises several interlocked episodes, including the meeting and companionship of Gilgamesh and Enkidu; the battle of Gilgamesh and Enkidu with Humbaba and the Bull of Heaven; the death of Enkidu; and Gilgamesh’s quest for immortality.

At the beginning of the Epic, Gilgamesh is subject to

2028 words

Citation: Breen, Nathan. "Gilgamesh". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 November 2009 [, accessed 25 July 2024.]

16601 Gilgamesh 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.