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Gilgamesh The Oldest Literary Work

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Gilgamesh the oldest literary work


Gilgamesh is an Akian poem, whose first version goes back to the Babylonian Paleo, approximately in the first third of the second millennium to. C., After reworkings and reviews that continued until the epic was registered at this stage, after the invention of the first writing and the first system of accounts, in the second half of the fourth millennium. Written on clay tablets, he collected the myth transmitted throughout generations from who was sure to be Bilgames, a hero-real who ruled the city of Uruk towards 2700 to.C. 


Its sources are not only reduced to literary texts but to other types of written testimonies or to a large number of works of art, for example in the nineteenth century to C. A King of Uruk claimed that he had repaired the walls that Gilgamesh had built. On the other hand, Gilgamesh also appears in another famous document, the Royal Sumerian list (written around 1950 to.C.). The most complete version that is preserved appears in a set of twelve clay tablets belonging to the library of the seventh century to. C. From the Asurbanipal Assyrian.

“Gilgamesh is the incarnation of a social prototype;He does not represent the experience of an individual but the projection of the image that makes Mesopotamian society itself ”. The myth starts from Uruk, a city that according to a specialist in this period like Oemur Harmansah considers it as the protagonist in the early urbanization of Sumer in the middle of the IV Millennium to.

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C. since at its peak, towards the beginning of the III Millennium to. C., Uruk had a walled area of about 6.5 km², a 50,000 and 80,000 inhabitants, therefore, being the largest city in the Mesopotamian world. 

If we place the historical figure of Gilgamesh in the protodinastic period II, we can appreciate an increase in palatial power, which in the case of Uruk could have been almost absolute,-the poem emphasizes the way of governing its king’s tyrannical governing-, indetriment of the power of the temple (it continues to maintain an important role). Among the cities-states, the importance of trade that serves as a cohesion element has been consolidated together with the fact of having a common pantheon;However, this relationship was sometimes damaged by conflicts that arose within a climate of violence. 

This climate of violence made the construction of defenses that protect the cities necessary. "Gilgamesh’s poem is perhaps the most typical literary example of the Sumerian-Acadia mentality, persuaded of the validity of his own civilization, achieved by force of hard work and in sharp contrast to the primitive existence of the people who populated Mesopotamia". (Hairstyle, F. L.). It is also important to set the context of the author of the written work (anonymous), as we have said it was in Paleo Babylonian era.

Where the great Mesopotamian empire of the moment, the Assyrian, was under the power of the Amore dynasties, which after being contained a long time by Sumerians and Akkadians, it definitely penetrates taking advantage of the internal disputes to conquer power. Therefore, this written work is subject to a process of reinterpretation and adaptation as the problems and situations that converge at the time change. "Gilgamesh was a conqueror at a time when the habit of conquering and imposing one’s will on other populations" (Morelli, L.). 

EPECEYA that was set throughout three great historical periods: the Babylonian paleo (in which there was still not to reach the twelve tablets or songs), the caseite (which knew the superb’s writing of Sin-Leqe-Unini) and the Assyrian(more or less retouched copies of the Assurbanipal Library). Gilgamesh’s narration -integrated by twelve tablets that correspond to the astrological order of the work.


In conclusion, it is considered one of the first jewels of universal literature, offering endless possible readings and in which the great issues that affect the human condition are addressed;In the words of Jose Luís Brones: "Everything that affects man is in this epic arising in Summer". Of that endless readings, I have chosen its relationship with Erkidú: representing the duality of the civilized and the barbarian, between culture and nature, which although opposite terms seem in the work intersect and converge in single, of which both Erkidú andGilgamesh have learned from each other.

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