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The Epic of Gilgamish A Fragment of the Gilgamish Legend in Old-Babylonian Cuneiform   By: (1876-1937)

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In "The Epic of Gilgamish: A Fragment of the Gilgamish Legend in Old-Babylonian Cuneiform," Stephen Langdon masterfully reintroduces ancient artistry to modern readers, bringing forth the captivating tale of one of the oldest known epic heroes.

Langdon's translation of this fragmentary legend from Old-Babylonian cuneiform is a unique accomplishment. The author presents not only a faithful rendition of the original text but also incorporates insightful commentary that sheds light on the historical context and the intricacies of ancient Babylonian culture. As a result, the narrative becomes more accessible to contemporary readers, allowing them to explore the rich mythological landscape of Mesopotamia.

Throughout the book, Langdon's meticulous attention to detail is evident. He offers clear explanations for complex concepts and provides useful notes on language and symbolism, allowing readers to fully appreciate the poetic beauty and intricacies of the original text. The author's deep knowledge of ancient Babylonian literature is evident, as he effortlessly navigates the nuances of the text while maintaining its authenticity.

In addition to providing a thorough analysis of the cuneiform script and its implications, Langdon includes a comprehensive introduction that delves into the historical background of Gilgamish, setting the stage for the extraordinary journey that awaits. The reader is introduced to the protagonist, a complex figure grappling with themes of mortality, power, and the search for eternal life. This introduction serves as a valuable context for understanding Gilgamish's motivations and the broader themes explored within the epic.

Langdon's translation is accompanied by detailed illustrations, showcasing the cuneiform script and further enhancing the reading experience. These visual aids serve as a bridge between the ancient and modern worlds, providing a tangible connection to the distant past.

While Langdon's expertise and passion for ancient literature are evident throughout the book, it should be noted that this particular edition focuses on a fragment of the larger Gilgamish legend. As such, readers seeking a complete rendition of the epic may find themselves craving more. Nevertheless, Langdon effectively navigates these limitations, providing a thoughtful and engaging analysis of the available material.

"The Epic of Gilgamish" is not only a poignant exploration of the human condition but also a testament to the enduring power of ancient storytelling. Langdon's comprehensive translation and insightful commentary make this a must-read for anyone interested in ancient literature, mythology, or the roots of epic storytelling.

First Page:

The Epic of Gilgamish


Stephen Langdon

University of Pennsylvania The University Museum Publications of the Babylonian Section Vol. X No. 3


In the year 1914 the University Museum secured by purchase a large six column tablet nearly complete, carrying originally, according to the scribal note, 240 lines of text. The contents supply the South Babylonian version of the second book of the epic sa nagba imuru , "He who has seen all things," commonly referred to as the Epic of Gilgamish. The tablet is said to have been found at Senkere, ancient Larsa near Warka, modern Arabic name for and vulgar descendant of the ancient name Uruk, the Biblical Erech mentioned in Genesis X. 10. This fact makes the new text the more interesting since the legend of Gilgamish is said to have originated at Erech and the hero in fact figures as one of the prehistoric Sumerian rulers of that ancient city. The dynastic list preserved on a Nippur tablet [1] mentions him as the fifth king of a legendary line of rulers at Erech, who succeeded the dynasty of Kish, a city in North Babylonia near the more famous but more recent city Babylon... Continue reading book >>

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