Prologue

He who saw everything in the broad-boned earth, and knew what was to be known
Who had experienced what there was, and had become familiar with all things
He, to whom wisdom clung like cloak, and who dwelt together with Existence in Harmony
He knew the secret of things and laid them bare. And told of those times before the Flood
In his city, Uruk, he made the walls, which formed a rampart stretching on
And the temple called Eanna, which was the house of An, the Sky God
And also of Inanna, Goddes of Love and Battle
Look at it even now: where cornice runs on outer wall shining brilliant copper -see,
There is no inner wall; it has no equal. Touch the threshold – ancient. Approach the palace called Eanna.
There lives Inanna, Goddess of Love and Battle. No king since has accomplished such deeds.
Climb that wall, go in Uruk, walk there, I say, walk there.
See the foundation terrace, touch then the masonry – Is not this of burnt brick, And good? I say;
The seven sages laid its foundation. One third is city; One third is orchards; One third is clay pits- Unbuilt-on land of the Inanna Temple search these three parts, find the copper table-box
Open it. Open its secret fastening. Take out the lapis-lazuli tablet. Read aloud from it.
Read how Gilgamesh fared many hardships
Surpassing all kings, great in respect, a lord in his form
He is the hero, He is of Uruk, He, the butting bull
He leads the Way, He, the Foremost, He also marches at the rear, a helper to his brothers
He is the Great Net, protector of his men. He is the furious flood-wave,
Who destroys even stone walls. The offspring of Lugulbanda, Gilgamesh is perfect in strength
The son of the revered Cow, of the woman Rimat-Ninsun. Gilgamesh inspires perfect awe. He opened the mountain passes, he dug the well on the mountain’s flank.
He crossed to the far shore, traversed the vast sea to the rising Sun. He explored the rim, sought life without death. By his strength he reached Ziusudra the Faraway
He who restored living things to their places
Those which the Flood had destroyed
Amidst the teeming peoples,
Who is there to compare with him in kingship?
Who like Gilgamesh can say:
‘I am king indeed?’
His name was called Gilgamesh
From the very day of his birth,
He was two-thirds god, one third man,
The Great Goddess Aruru designed him, planned his body, prepared his form
A perfect body the gods gave
For the creation of Gilgamesh
Shamash the Sun gave beauty
Adad the Storm gave courage
And so he surpassed all others.
He was two-thirds god, one third man,
The form of his body no one can match
Eleven cubits high he is, nine spans his chest
As he turns to see the lands all around him.
But he comes to the city of Uruk.
Long was his journey, weary, worn down by his labours
He inscribed upon a stone when he returned
This story.

A verse version of the Epic of Gilgamesh by Robert Temple, Rider, an imprint of Random Century Group Ltda, 1991, London, Sydney, Auckland, Johannerburg. All rights reserved. Here included for help in research and studies purposes


Prologue | Tablet I | Tablet II | Tablet III | Tablet IV | Tablet V | Tablet VI | Tablet VII | Tablet VIII | Tablet IX | Tablet X | Tablet XI