Thursday, November 03, 2005

Gilgamesh 2/3 God, 1/3 Human



The Ancient Sumerian "Epic of Gilgamesh" was writen 4500 years ago on clay tablets. It predates the Old Testament, and prefigures Noah's flood. (The Old Testament may therefore be the 1st episode plagarism on record). Some of the tablets are on display at the British Museum (room 55)... including the one about the flood.
The discoverer of the "flood tablet" was a Mr George Smith, an assistant in The British Museum. On reading the text (in 1872) he :"... jumped up and rushed about the room in a great state of excitement, and, to the astonishment of those present, began to undress himself!"
Gilgamesh, the King of Uruk is 2/3 God and 1/3 Human...(go figure on the science behind this) and seems to have difficulty accepting his mortality. He is given some seriously good advice about baths, babes and booze. (To which i would add: 'Books'.. i.e. "A Hot Bath, A Good Book, and a Dirty Woman"- or any other noun/adjective combination)

"Oh Mighty King, remember now that only gods are immortal- watching Humans come and go- for 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.

http://gilgamesh.psnc.pl/index.html

2 comments:

  1. Biblical texts, historically speaking, have attributions to many pre-biblical stories and myths. Call it imitation, call it parralel convergence of human themes... Slamon Rushdie has a few interesting paragraphs on the convergence of mythologies in Hindu and Greek texts. Etc!
    What it means for religion - may we be careful what we read into it....

    old joke....

    God: You shall not cook a kid in it's mother's milk..

    Moses: so, you mean we should separate meat and dairy groups in our cooking?

    God: No, I said "you shall not cook a kid in it's mother's milk".

    Moses: Right ! So we should have separate pots and pans, and probably a different set of cutlery too!

    God: No! I said "you shall not cook a kid in it's mothers milk!"

    Moses: uhuh, so not only separate the cooking implements, but it is probably good that we should have different tea towels too!

    God: Whatever, ....

    ReplyDelete
  2. The text by Salmon Rushdie, from "The Ground Beneath Her Feet"; widely reviewed as his weakest book - and one of my favorites!

    ReplyDelete

Whaddaya think?