THE FIRST TABLET
OF THE TYRANNY OF GILGAMISH, AND THE CREATION OF ENKIDU.
1He who (the heart of) all matters hath proven let him [teach] the nation,
[He who all] knowledge possesseth, therein shall he [school] all the people,
[He shall his wisdom impart (?)] and (so) shall they ]share it] together.
[Gilgamish(?)] 2—he was the [Master] of wisdom, with [knowledge of all things,
5.He ’twas discovered the secret concealed . . . . . . . . .
(Aye), handed down the tradition relating to (things) prediluvian,
Went on a journey afar, (all) aweary and [worn with his toiling(?)],
10.[Graved] on a table of stone all the travail.
Of Erech, the high-wall’d,
He (it was) built up the ramparts; (and) he (it was) clamp’d the foundation,
Like unto brass, of [E]-Anna 3, the sacred, the treasury hallow’d,
[Strengthen’d] its base to grant wayleave to no [one] . . . . . .
. . . . . the threshold which from [of old (?)] . . . . . .
. . . . . [E]-Anna . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
15. . . . . to grant wayleave [to no one (?)] . . . . . . .
(About thirty lines wanting. The description of Gilgamish runs on to the beginning of the next Column).
Two-thirds of him are divine, and [one-third of him human,] 4 . . .
The form of his body . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
He hath forced to take . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
(Gap of about three lines).
(The Plaint of Erech(?) to the gods against the tyrant Gilgamish)
7.“. . . . . . . . of Erech ’tis he who hath [taken],
. . . . . . . . . (while) tow’reth [his] crest like an aurochs,
10.Ne’er hath the shock of [his] weapons (its) [peer]; are driven [his] fellows
Into the toils 1, while cow’d are the heroes of Erech un- . . . . .
Gilgamish leaveth no son to [his] father, [his] arrogance swelling
(Each) day and [night]; [aye, he] is the shepherd of Erech, the high-[wall’d],
15.He is [our(?)] shepherd . . . . [masterful, dominant, subtle] . . .
[Gilgamish] leaveth no [maid to her mother, nor] daughter to [hero],
[(Nay), nor a spouse to a husband]”
(And so), to (th’ appeal of) their wailing
[Gave ear th’ Immortals]: the gods of high heaven address’d the god Anu], 2
20.(Him who was) Seigneur of Erech: “’Tis thou a son hast begotten,
(Aye, in sooth, all) tyrannous, [while tow’reth his crest like an aurochs],
Ne’er hath [the shock of his weapons] (its) peer; are driven [his fellows]
Into the toils, awhile cow’d are the heroes of Erech un- . . . .] 2.
Gilgamish leaveth no son to his father, [his arrogance swelling]
(Each) day and night; aye, he is the shepherd of Erech, [the high-wall’d],
25.He is their shepherd . . . masterful, dominant, subtle . . .
Gilgamish leaveth no maid to [her mother], nor daughter to hero,
(Nay), nor a spouse to a [husband].”
(And so), to (th’ appeal of) their wailing
30. [Anu] 2 gave ear, call’d the lady Aruru 3: “’Twas thou, O Aruru,
Madest [(primeval seed of) mankind(?)]: do now make its fellow,
So that he [happen on Gilgamish], yea, on the day of his pleasure,
So that they strive with each other, and he unto Erech give [surcease].”
(The Creation of Enkidu).
So when the goddess Aruru heard this, in her mind she imagined
(Straightway, this) Concept of Anu, and, washing her hands, (then) Aruru
Finger’d some clay, on the desert she moulded 4 (it): [(thus) on the desert]
35.Enkidu made she, a warrior, (as he were) born (and) begotten,
(Yea), of Ninurta 5 the double, [and put forth] the whole of his body
Hair: in the way of a woman he snooded his locks (in a fillet);
Sprouted luxuriant growth of his hair-like (the awns of) the barley,
Nor knew he people nor land; he was clad in a garb like Sumuqan 6.
40.E’en with gazelles did he pasture on herbage, along with the cattle
Drank he his fill, with the beasts did his heart delight at the water.
(The Encounter of Enkidu with the Hunter).
(Then) did a hunter, a trapper, come face to face with this (fellow),
Came on him [one], two, three days, at the place where (the beasts) drank (their) water 1;
45.(Sooth), when the hunter espied him, his face o’ermantled with terror,
He and his cattle went unto his steading, [dismay’d] (and) affrighted,
Crying aloud, [distress’d in, his heart, and) his face overclouded,
. . . . woe in his belly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
50.(Aye, and) his face was the same as of one [who hath gone] a far [journey].
Open’d [his mouth (then)] the hunter, and spake, addressing [his father]:
“Father, there is [a] great fellow come [forth from out of the mountains],
(O, but) [his] strength is the greatest [(the length and breadth) of the country],
[Like to a double] of Anu’s own self [his strength] is enormous,
5.Ever (?) [he rangeth at large] o’er the mountains, [(and) ever] with cattle
[Grazeth on herbage (and) ever he setteth] his foot to the water,
[So that I fear] to approach him. The pits which I [myself] hollow’d
10.[(With mine own hands) 2 hath he fill’d in (again)], (and) the traps of my [setting]
[Torn up, (and) out of my clutches hath holpen escape] (all) the cattle,
Beasts of the desert: to work at my fieldcraft [he will not allow] me.”
[Open’d his mouth (then) his father, and spake], addressing the hunter:
15.“Gilgamish [dwelleth] in Erech, [my son, whom no one] hath vanquish’d,
3[(Nay, but) ’tis his strength is greatest (the length and breadth) of the country]
[Like to a double of Anu’s own self], his strength is [enormous],
4[Go, set] thy face [towards Erech: and when he hears of] a monster,
4[He will say ‘Go, O hunter, a courtesan-girl, a hetaera]
20.Take [with thee] . . . . . . . like a strong one;
1[When he the cattle shall gather again] to the place of (their) drinking,
[So shall she put off] her [mantle] (the charm of) her beauty [revealing];
[(Then) shall he spy her, and (sooth) will embrace her, (and thenceforth)
[Which in] his very own deserts [were rear’d], will (straightway) deny him.'”
(How Gilgamish first heard of Enkidu).
25.Unto the rede of his father the hunter [hath hearken’d, (and straightway)]
He will away [unto Gilgamish] 1.
Taking the road towards Erech
Turn’d he [his steps, and to] Gilgamish [came, his speech thus addressing]:
(Saying): “There is a great fellow [come forth from out of the mountains],
30.[(O, but) his strength] is the greatest, (the length and breadth) of the country,
Like to a double of Anu’s own self [his strength] is enormous,
[Ever (?)] he rangeth at large o’er the mountains, (and) ever with cattle
[Grazeth on herbage, (and)] ever [he setteth] his foot to the water,
35.So that I fear to approach [him] . The pits which I [myself] hollow’d
(With mine own hands) hath he fill’d in (again, and) the traps of my [setting]
Torn up, (and) out of my clutches hath holpen escape (all) the cattle,
Beasts [of the desert]: to work at my fieldcraft he will not allow me.”
40.Gilgamish unto him, unto the hunter made answer (in this wise):
“Go, (good) my hunter, take with thee a courtesan-girl, a hetaera,
When he the cattle shall [gather] again to the place of (their) drinking,
So shall she put off her mantle, (the charm of her) beauty [revealing],
45.(Then) shall he spy her, and (sooth) will embrace her, (and thenceforth) his cattle
Which in his very own deserts were rear’d will (straightway) deny him. 2“
(The Seduction of Enkidu).
Forth went the hunter, took with him a courtesan-girl, a hetaera,
(So) did they start on their travels, went forth on their journey (together),
(Aye), at the term of three days arrived at the pleasaunce appointed.
Sate they down in their ambush (?), the hunter and the hetaera,
50.One day, two days they sat by the place where (the beasts) drank (their) water.
(Then) at last came the cattle to take their fill in their drinking.
Thither the animals came that their hearts might delight in the water,
(Aye), there was Enkidu also, he whom the mountains had gender’d,
E’en with gazelles did he pasture on herbage, along with the cattle
5.Drank he his fill 1, with the beasts did his heart delight at the water,
So beheld him the courtesan-girl, the lusty great fellow,
(O but) a monster (all) savage from out of the depths of the desert!
“’Tis he, O girl! O, discover thy beauty, thy comeliness shew (him),
10.So that thy loveliness he may possess—(O), in no wise be bashful,
Ravish the soul of him—(certes), as soon as his eye on thee falleth,
He, forsooth, will approach thee, and thou—O, loosen thy mantle,
So that he clasp thee, and (then) with the wiles of a woman shalt ply him;
(Wherefore) his animals, bred in his desert, will (straightway) deny him,
15.(Since) to his breast he hath held thee.”
The girl, displaying her bosom,
Shew’d him her comeliness, (yea) so that he of her beauty possess’d him,
Bashful she was not, (but) ravish’d the soul of him, loosing her mantle,
So that he clasp’d her, (and then) with the wiles of a woman she plied him,
20.Holding her unto his breast.
(’Twas thus that) Enkidu dallied
Six days, (aye) seven nights, with the courtesan-girl in his mating.
(How Enkidu was inveigled into Erech to fight with Gilgamish).
Sated at length with her charms, he turn’d his face to his cattle,
O the gazelles, (how) they scamper’d away, as soon as they saw him!
25.Him, yea, Enkidu,—fled from his presence the beasts of the desert!
Enkidu losing his innocence 2—so, when the cattle fled from him,
Failed his knees, and he 3slack’d in his running, (not) as aforetime:
Natheless he (thus) hath attain’d his full growth and hath broaden’d (his) wisdom.
30.Sat he again 4 at the feet of the woman, the woman his features 5
Scanning, and, while she 6 was speaking, his ears heard (the words) she 7 was saying:
“Comely thou art, e’en like to a god, O Enkidu, shalt be,
35.Why with the beasts (of the field) dost thou (ever) range over the desert?
Up! for I’ll lead thee to Erech, the high-wall’d—(in sooth), to the Temple
Sacred, the dwelling of Anu and Ishtar, where, highest in power,
Gilgamish is, and prevaileth o’er men like an aurochs.”
E’en as she spake it found favour, (for) conscious he was of his longing
Some companion to seek; so unto the courtesan spake he 1:
“Up, then, O girl, to the Temple, the holy (and) sacred, invite me,
45. Me, to the dwelling of Anu and Ishtar, where, highest in power,
Gilgamish is, and prevaileth o’er men like an aurochs—for I, too,
I, I will summon him, challenging boldly (and) crying through Erech,
‘I too, am mighty!’ Nay, I, forsooth [I], will (e’en) destiny alter—
(Truly), ’tis he who is born in the desert whose vigour [is greatest!]
. . . . . . . . . . . . . I will [please] thee,
5.. . . . . . . . . . . . . [whatever] there be, that would I know.”
“Enkidu, come (then) to [Erech], the high-wall’d, [where] people [array] them
[Gorgeous] in festal attire, (and) each day the day is a revel,
10.[Eunuch]-priests [clashing] (their) cymbals, and [dancing]-girls . . . . .
. . . flown with their wantoning, gleeful, and keeping the nobles
Out of their beds 2! (Nay), Enkidu, [joy] in thy life (to its fullest)
[Thou shalt] taste—(forsooth) will I shew thee a man who is happy,
15.Gilgamish! View him, O look on his face, (how) comely his manhood!
Dower’d with lustiness is he, the whole of his body with power
Brimming, [his] vigour is stronger than thine, (all) day and night restless!
20.Enkidu, temper thine arrogance—Gilgamish, loveth him Shamash,
Anu, (and) Enlil 3, and Ea 4 have dower’d his wisdom with largesse.
(How Gilgamish dreamt of Enkidu).
(Sooth), or ever from out of thy mountains thou camest, in Erech
25. Gilgamish thee had beheld in a dream; so, Gilgamish coming
Spake to his mother, the dream to reveal.
‘O my mother, a vision
Which I beheld in my night-time. (Behold), there were stars of the heavens,
When something like unto Anu’s own self fell down on my shoulders,
30. (Ah, though) I heaved him, he was o’erstrong for me, (and though) his grapple
Loosed I, I was unable to shake him (from off me): (and now, all the meanwhile),
People from Erech were standing about [him 5, the] artisans [pressing].
35.On [him behind], (while) throng’d him [the heroes]; my (very) companions
Kissing [his] feet; [I, I to my breast] like a woman did hold him,
(Then) [I] presented him low at [thy] feet, [that] as mine own equal.
[Thou] might’st account him.’
1[She] who knoweth all wisdom (thus) to her Seigneur she answer’d,
40.[She] who knoweth all wisdom, to Gilgamish (thus) did she answer:
‘(Lo), by the stars of the heavens are represented thy [comrades],
[That which was like unto] Anu’s [own self], which fell on thy shoulders,
[Which thou didst heave, but he was, o’erstrong for thee, [(aye), though his grapple
Thou didst unloose], but to shake him from off thee thou wert [un] able,
45.[So didst present] him low at my feet, [that] as thine own equal
[I might] account him—[and thou to thy breast like a woman] didst hold him:
[This is a stoutheart, a] friend, one ready to stand by [a comrade],
One whose strength [is the greatest, (the length and breadth) of the country],
[Like to a double of Anu’s own self his] strength is enormous.
[(Now), since thou] to thy breast didst hold him [the way of a woman],
5.[This is a sign that] thou art the one he will [never] abandon:
[This] of thy dream is the [meaning].’
[Again he spake] to his mother,
‘[Mother], a second dream [did I] see: [Into Erech, the high-wall’d],
10.Hurtled an axe, and they gather’d about it: [the meanwhile, from Erech]
[People] were standing about it, [the people] (all) thronging before it,
[Artisans pressing] behind it, [while] I at thy feet did present it,
15.[I], like a woman I held it to me [that] thou might’st account it,
As mine own equal.’
[She the [all]-wise, who knoweth all wisdom, (thus) answer’d her offspring,
[She the all-wise] who knoweth all wisdom, to Gilgamish answer’d:
‘(Lo, that) [Axe] thou didst see (is) a Man; like a woman didst hold him,
20.Unto thy breast, [that] as thine own equal I might account him,
[This] is a stoutheart, a friend, one ready to stand by a comrade,
One whose strength is the [greatest (the length and breadth) of the country],
(Like to a double of] Anu’s [own self], his strength is enormous.’
[Gilgamish open’d his mouth, and] addressing his mother, (thus spake he):
‘[Though] great [danger (?)] befall, [a friend (?)] shall I have . . . 2‘”
(The Assyrian Edition of the seventh century has three more lines on the First Tablet, which correspond with Column II, l. 3 of the Second Tablet of the Old Babylonian Edition. This latter has already begun with the episode of the two dreams, approximately Column V, l. 24 of the Assyrian First Tablet, and the text is so similar in both that I have not repeated it here. The Old Babylonian Edition here takes up the story, repeating one or two details).
9:1 Assyrian Version.
9:2 Possibly to be restored at the end of the line. It is obvious that the hero’s name must be introduced before l. 5.
9:4 Restored from the Ninth Tablet.
10:1 i.e., captured and killed. cf. the beginning of the Twelfth Tablet.
10:2 Uncertain restoration.
10:3 A goddess, form of Nin-makh, especially as protectress of children.
10:4 Or “cast.”
10:5 A god, son of Enlil, patron of war and hunting.
10:6 God of cattle and agriculture.
11:1 Literally “A certain hunter, a trapper, met him at the drinking-place, [one], two, three days at the drinking-place, ditto.”
11:2 Probably supply anaku at the end of the line “I myself.”
11:3 It is doubtful whether there is room for this line in the break.
11:4 Fairly probable restoration.
12:1 Fairly probable restoration
12:2 This belief in this loss of innocency has been common in the East since the days of Adam and Eve. The proper person to peer into the ink-pool magic is a little boy; few others are successful.
13:1 Or “of the drinking-place.”
13:2 Lit. either “the innocence of his body,” or, “the excellence of his bodily (strength).”
13:3 Lit. “Enkidu.”
13:4 The word is curiously spelt, if this is right.
13:5 Variant: “the woman, he her features watching.”
13:6 Lit. “[The woman] spake unto him, yea, unto Enkidu.”
13:7 Lit. “the woman”
14:1 Lit. “Enkidu.”
14:2 The Text is mutilated and the translation of these two lines may not be exact.
14:3 The god Bel.
14:4 The god of the great waters.
14:5 Perhaps there is an additional line to be supplied in the small gap which exists here “[the people (all) thronging before him].”
15:1 Or should the name of Nin-sun, the mother of Gilgamish, be supplied in the break?
15:2 Of one more line the traces are ” . . . [let me] go (?), even me.”