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An Old Babylonian Version of the Gilgamesh Epic von Tobias Clay, Albert (eBook)

  • Erscheinungsdatum: 25.08.2016
  • Verlag: anboco
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An Old Babylonian Version of the Gilgamesh Epic

The Epic of Gilgamesh is an epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia. Dating from the Third Dynasty of Ur (circa 2100 BC), it is often regarded as the earliest surviving great work of literature. The literary history of Gilgamesh begins with five Sumerian poems about 'Bilgamesh' - Sumerian for 'Gilgamesh', king of Uruk. These independent stories were later used as source material for a combined epic. The first surviving version of this combined epic, known as the 'Old Babylonian' version, dates to the 18th century BC and is titled after its incipit, Sh?tur eli sharr? ('Surpassing All Other Kings'). Only a few tablets of it have survived. The later 'Standard' version dates from the 13th to the 10th centuries BC and bears the incipit Sha naqba ?muru ('He who Saw the Deep', in modern terms: 'He who Sees the Unknown'). Approximately two thirds of this longer, twelve-tablet version have been recovered. Some of the best copies were discovered in the library ruins of the 7th-century BC Assyrian king Ashurbanipal.


    Format: ePUB
    Kopierschutz: watermark
    Seitenzahl: 500
    Erscheinungsdatum: 25.08.2016
    Sprache: Englisch
    ISBN: 9783736411319
    Verlag: anboco
    Größe: 953 kBytes
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An Old Babylonian Version of the Gilgamesh Epic

Esigga-tuk and its equivalent Gish-tuk = "the one who is a hero."

Furthermore, the name occurs frequently in "Temple" documents of the Ur dynasty in the form d Gish-bil-ga-mesh 52 with d Gish-bil-gi(n)-mesh as a variant. 53 In a list of deities ( CT XXV, 28, K 7659) we likewise encounter d Gish-gibil(or bíl)-ga-mesh, and lastly in a syllabary we have the equation 54

d Gish-gi-mas-[si?] = d Gish-bil-[ga-mesh].

The variant Gish-gibil for Gish-bil may be disposed of readily, in view of the frequent confusion or interchange of the two signs Bil (Brünnow No. 4566) and Gibil or Bíl (Brünnow No. 4642) which has also the value Gi (Brünnow 4641), so that we might also read Gish-gi-ga-mesh. Both signs convey the idea of "fire," "renew," etc.; both revert to the picture of flames of fire, in the one case with a bowl (or some such obiect) above it, in the other the flames issuing apparently from a torch. 55 The meaning of the name is not affected whether we read d Gish-bil-ga-mesh or d Gish-gibil(or bíl)-ga-mesh, for the middle element in the latter case being identical with the fire-god, written d Bil-gi and to be pronounced in the inverted form as Gibil with -ga (or ge ) as the phonetic complement; it is equivalent, therefore, to the writing bil-ga in the former case. Now Gish-gibil or Gish-bíl conveys the idea of abu , "father" (Brünnow No. 5713), just as Bil (Brünnow No. 4579) has this meaning, while Pa-gibil-(ga) or Pa-bíl-ga is abu abi , "grandfather." 56 This meaning may be derived from Gibil, as also from Bíl = isatu , "fire," then essu , "new," then abu , "father," as the renewer or creator. Gish with Bíl or Gibil would, therefore, be "the father-man" or "the father-hero," i.e., again the hero par excellence , the original hero, just as in Hebrew and Arabic ab is used in this way. 57 The syllable ga being a phonetic complement, the element mesh is to be taken by itself and to be explained, as Poebel suggested, as "hero" ( itlu . Brünnow No. 5967).

We would thus obtain an entirely artificial combination, "man (or hero), father, hero," which would simply convey in an emphatic manner the idea of the Ur-held , the original hero, the father of heroes as it were-practically the same idea, therefore, as the one conveyed by Gish alone, as the hero par excellence . Our investigation thus leads us to a substantial identity between Gish and the longer form Gish-bil(or bíl)-ga-mesh, and the former might, therefore, well be used as an abbreviation of the latter. Both the shorter and the longer forms are descriptive epithets based on naive folk etymology, rather than personal names, just as in the designation of our hero as mu tablu , the "fighter," or as âlik pâna , "the leader," or as Esigga imin , "the seven-fold hero," or Esigga tuk , "the one who is a hero," are descriptive epithets, and as Atra-h asis, "the very wise one," is such an epithet for the hero of the deluge story. The case is different with Gi-il-ga-mesh, or Gish-gì(n)-mash, which represent the popular and actual pronunciation of the name, or at least the approach to such pronunciation. Such forms, stripped as they are of all artificiality, impress one as genui

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