“The Epic of Gilgamesh” is an ancient story by William Ellery Leonard that we have a written record and was recited for generation before it was inscribed on clay table in cuneiform script(6). Leonard presents challenges and experiences encountered by the powerful man Gilgamesh who ruled the city of Uruk in ancient Sumer, between 2700 and 2600 B. C (6). His power and strength lead the entire society to call upon the gods to make them another man who can take over form Gilgamesh (7).
Engidu was chosen to be the person to overcome Gilgamesh but Gilgamesh challenged him to a fight and worn (9). By reading this epic, we can learn more about: its content as well as citation, its communication in addition to context, and its connections plus conclusions (6). The first things that Leonard portrays in this epic document are its content as well as citation. The main ideas depicted in this epic are friendship, death, and anger of gods (10). For instance, it is represented that Gilgamesh and Engidu become good friends after their wresting.
This is an indication that good friendship existed among rivals during those ancient days within the entire society (10). The narrator also explains the anger of god’s that exist in the community. For instance, gods were very angry at Gilgamesh with his friend Engidu because they both killed “the king of the bull-of-heaven” (10). The people around the society were not happy about the killing of the bull- of – heave by these two friends Gilgamesh and Engidu. The gods then decided kill Engidu to revenge because they were made at them (10).
Another lesson learnt also is the existence of death in the society. For example, Engidu died and his friend Gilgamesh was also afraid that he might die too (11). He ran away across the sea to avoid death but he later realized that death is inevitable and no one can evade it (11). In the citation part, we also get to know that a young English archaeologist discovered this epic in 1839 beneath the desert sand that belonged to the buildings or a library that was destroyed by an invading army of Medes and Babylonians in 612 B. C at the city of Nineveh (6).
The type of source of this epic is a primary historical source which was reconstructed and translated for the new generation to learn historical information that once existed in cuneiform tablet at the li The second things that we can learn from this epic are its communication and context. For instance, in communication section, we can learn the author’s point of view to be the first person narration as well as omniscient third-person narration.
The narrator uses words like “he said to describe what Gilgamesh did. The use of those words indicates the thirdperson narration. The words such as “he said’ are used in the poem to show the king’s character and his relationship with other people like the cup-bearer who lived near the sea (13). The narrator also, shows the use of first person narration through monologue at the time when a character called Utnapishtim tells Gilgamesh about how they use a ship to escape the flood with his wife (16).
This monologue is told entirely in Utnapishtim voice while Gilgamesh is just listening on how they manage to flee the overflow of water (17). The narrator also depicts the intended audience for this epic to be the new generation to come (6). For instance, the author at shows that this source of epic was intended to be recited orally for generations (6). The reason as to why this source is created was to pass historical information to the next age group that will follow after the reign of king Gilgamesh of Uruk (6).
It is being translated and safeguarded in order to pass the early historical information about the life of a king who ruled Uruk between 2700 and 2600 B. C to the new age group (6). The tone of this document is serious, because most of this epic had to do with fights, sorrow and deaths in the community (16). For example, the king Gilgamesh fought with Engidu because the entire society wanted Engidu to take over the leadership. The king fought back and did not let his friend to worn (16). Death is another serious thing that causes everyone in the society to be uncomfortable.
Gilgamesh was afraid of death when his friend died, he ran away to evade death because he thought he might die as well (18). The community also was uncomfortable and serious about the death of the bull-of-heave who was killed by the two friends (10). In the context part, we learnt that many activities were going on in the region when this epic document was created. By focusing on all activities that Gilgamesh and Engidu, there is a reflected interest of urbanized society that emerged in Mesopotamia (Bentley and Ziegler 25).
For example, the activities like hunting agricultural economies and teamwork that the king and his friend practice while they were at the pushed emerged to be strengthening build of political authorities and states through Mesopotamia (Bentley and Ziegler 26). According to our history textbook, we also need to know that the activities that developed distinctive innovative systems of writing supported organized religions at the time when this epic document was created (26). William Ellery Leonard further explains the connection and contributions of this epic document to our understanding.
For example, in our society, we already know that people should find ways to settle disputes that existed among themselves. The way king Gilgamesh fought his rival Engidu and became good friend was a perfect example that connects to what I already knew (9). Another example that connects to what I already knew is the fear of death. We know that death is inevitable but we tend to fear and get scared like King Gilgamesh whom ran away trying evading death which is impossible (19). The stories and examples explained in this epic document by Leonard have contributed a lot to our understanding of history.
By taking this history class and reading this epic document, I have acquired new historical information and know that some information were stored in tablets in ancient time like this epic document was collected and put together for future purposes in history (6). In conclusion, by reading this epic, we can learn more about: its content as well as citation, its communication in addition to context, and its connections our life plus ending. In the context section, we get to know the main ideas to be friendship, death and anger of gods that exist within the society (6).
We can also learn the time when this historical primary source document to have been between 2700 to 2600 B. C. and the author’s point of view is first person narrator and in some part of the document it is omniscient third person point of view (17). The indented audience for this epic document is the new generation. It stone is seriousness because many serious circumstances like death occurred in that society. This has contributed much to my understanding of ancient history and I have concluded that this information has to be passed on to the new generation (6).