Tablet II

For six days and seven nights
Enkidu made love to that girl
And the girl said to him
She said to Enkidu:
‘When I look at you, Enkidu,
You seem to be like a god.
Why the wild beasts?
Whe the roaming over the steppe?
Come with me,
Come to ramparted Uruk.
There the holy temple of Eanna
Where the Great God An lives,
Come with me, Enkidu, to the holy dwelling
To the temple, Sky God’s house,
For Gilgamesh of may deeds lives there.
You are so like him.
You will love him as yourself,
Rise up from the earth,
Come to a shepherd’s bed!’
There came upon his heart
The truth of what she said.
He heard her words
And they were good.
She divided her clothing in two,
One garment for him,
One for her
Holding his hand she led him
Led him like a child.
And they came to the hut of the shepherds
Which is in the sheepfold.
All the shepherds gathered round him,
Pressed round him, were drawn to him
Thronged round the wild man.
Of her instruction the priestess is proud,
This is a man who is like Gilgamesh in form,
Taller he is in form,
He was born in the mountains,
And like the star-essence of the Sky Father An, his strength is more powerful.
And Enkidu sat at their table
That he might eat of their produce.
But he knew the milf of wild creatures,
Which he sucked in the wilds.
Theshppherds placed thier own food before him, and
He choked, he looked,
He stared at it, at them,
Enkidu knows nothing of this,
He knows not eating food,
What is this drink? This strong drink?
He has not been taught it.
Bread was set before him – he knows it not.
Beer was set before him – he knows it not.
Enkidu did not eat bread,
He squeezed his eyes together, stared,
The girl then spoke:
She said to Enkidu:
‘Enkidu, eat that food.
It is our de in life.
Drink this strong drink.
It is what is done here.’
So Enkidu ate the food,
Ate until he was full.
He drank that strong drink
Seven cups of it (1).
(A fragment of about 1,400 BCE published by Gernot Wilhelm gives a slightly different account of the preceding:)
The priestess said to him, said to Enkidu:
‘You are exquisite Enkidu!
Why do you run to and fro with the beasts of the steppe?
You are like a god in your nature
Who is there like you among men?’
Again the priestess said to him, said to Enkidu:
‘Come, Enkidu! Let us go to the place of the sheepfold (2)’.
She drew out a single garment
And he clothed himself.
Leading him, she held his hand,
And like a god was his countenance.
She led him to the place of the sheepfold,
The shepherds/people were gathered together,
And the people spoke amongst themselves:
‘Look how he resembles Gilgamesh in his appearance!
He is small in size but extremely strong in his bony frame.
As soon as he was born in the mountains,
He was in thehabit of sucking the milk of animals.’
They set bread before him
He examined it and was puzzled by the bread.
They set beer before him.
He creased his eyes together and gazed at it;
He was puzzled by the beer.
The priestess said to him,
Said to Enkidu:
‘Eat the bread, Enkidu,
That you will be worthy of godliness!
Drink the fine beer,
That you will be worthy of kingship!’
Enkidu ate the bread,
He drank the fine beer (3),
And indeed seven jugs of it (4).
(We now return to the main version of the text)
He felt so free, he felt so happy
He rejoiced so in his heart!
His face became radiant.
He rubbed all the shaggy growth,
The hair of his body.
He annointed himself with oil
And thus he became a man.
He donned clothing –
Look! He is like a man!
He takes up his weapon,
He attacks the lions
So the shepherds might have peace at night.
He caught wolves,
He captured lions,
And the chief cattlemen could rest.
Enkidu was their watchman,
A man of strength,
An unparalled hero!
To the shepherds he said:
‘I am a man now.
I can eat bread at the table,
I can drink strong drink.
But I have the strength of he who roams the steppe.
I am stronger than you.
No one is stronger.
You see I catch wolves,
You see I capture lions.
Because of me the shepherds can rest at night,
Because of me the chief catlemen can lie down.
I am become the king of the sheepfold.’
And Enkidu sat at the table,
He ate the food
He drank the strong drink
He felt good in his heart.
He made merry
Then he looked up
And saw a man
He told the girl:
‘Girl, bring the man.
Why is he here?
I must know his name!’
The girl called the man,
Went to him, said to himL
‘Sir, where are you going?
Why have you taken this, your difficult course?’
The man spoke, spoke to Enkidu:
‘Into the people’s special place,,
Their very own meeting-house,
Even into it has he intruded!
Set aside rules and laws for wedlock!
On the city he heaped shame!
Strange practices he has imposed
Upon a city helpless to resist.
For the king of ramparted Uruk
Has altered the unaltered way,
Abused, changed the practices.
Any new bride from the people is his;
Gilgamesh, king of ramparted Uruk,
He may mate with any new bride.
Before the lawful husband may have her.
The gods have ordained this
In their wisdom, by their will.
It was so decreed from the moment of birth
When his umbilical cord was cut out.’
At the mans’s words
The face of Enkidu paled.
Fury grew within his heart,
His eyes became fightful to look upon
Enkidu spoke his anger,
Said to the man:
‘This cannot contine to be!
I will go to ramparted Uruk.
I will meet Gilgamesh
I will bring his excesses to an end!’
Enkidu set out for Uruk
Enkidu walked in front
The girl walked behind
When he entered ramparted Uruk
The people thronged round him
When he stopped in the street,
In Uruk of the ramparts,
Saying of him:
‘He is like Gilgamesh in form!
He is smaller in size
But stronger in bone.
He is a match for Gilgamesh!
He is the strongest of the steppe, strength is his,
Milk of wild creatures
He once sucked.
There will be endless clash of arms in Uruk!’
The nobles rejoiced:
‘Here is a hero
For all who are honourable!
To match divine Gilgamesh
Here is his equal!’
Now for the Goddess of Love
Is the bed made ready
Of the evening, ready to receive
Gilgamesh for his pleasures.
Now he is coming along
But Enkidu appears in the street
And bars his way
To Gilgamesh is opposed
The might of Enkidu
The divine Gilgamesh is face to face
With his equal, Enkidu of the steppes.
The king of ramparted Uruk
Sees his equal, who has strength,
Smaller in size, but stronger of bone
Like unto Gilgamesh to the hair.
Gilgamesh sees his shaggy growth –
On the steppe the grass
Sprouts in as much abundance
Gilgamesh drew himself up
And stood before him
In the market-place of the land
Was there they met,
And Enkidu blocked the gate
With his foot and
Would not let Gilgamesh enter
They they grappled their belts and wrestled like champions
Rushing wind meets rushing wind,
Heart to heart against –
Holding fast like bulls.
They shattered absolutely the doorpost of the holy gate
And the wall shook with this fateful act.
The doorway of the house of the family
Where the bride awaited Gilgamesh,
There they struggled.
They fought in the street,
They battled in the market.
But in the end,
Brought Enkidu to the earth,
His own foot still on the ground,
And won the contest.
His anger vanished
He turned away
But when he turned away
Enkidu said to him
Spoke to Gilgamesh:
‘As one single and unique
Your mother bore you
She the wild cow of the steerfolds,
She, Ninsun the Wise, she the Strong
You are raised above all men
You are king of the people by decree
Of Enlil, son of the Great God An!’

NOTES ON TABLET II

1. Seven cups or seven jugs (see 1988 fragment) are symbolic, representing the sacred number of the seven initiatory planets, i.e. the Moon (Nanna/Sin), Sun (Utu/Shamash), Venus (Inanna/Ishtar), Mars (Nergal), Earth, Saturn (Ninurta), Mercuri (Nabu) and Jupiter (Marduk).
2. The ‘sheepfold’ was probably a reference to the rites of the Shepherd, or the King of the Land (See Tablet IV, note 1).
3. Eating of the bread and drining of the superior form of beer constituted probably a ritual of some kind, intended to prepare a candidate to the role of king and priest, a combination that was routine these days.
4. See note 1.

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