The Epic of Gilgamesh


Briefly summarize the battle of Humbaba

Asked by
Last updated by jill d #170087
Answers 1
Add Yours

The companions reach the Cedar Forest and begin to chop down trees. Upon doing so they can hear Humbaba roaring. The noise of weapons clashing surrounds them, and Gilgamesh and Enkidu are terrified. They call to each other, reminding each other to be strong and to remember that they can prevail against any odds because of their companionship.

In the heat of the battle, Gilgamesh pleads for help from Shamash. Shamash hears him and unleashes thirteen storms against Humbaba. Humbaba is subdued by this divine onslaught, and Gilgamesh is able to overtake him. Humbaba pleads for mercy and says he knows Gilgamesh is Ninsun’s son. He pledges to become his servant if Gilgamesh will only spare his life. Gilgamesh considers this, but Enkidu shouts out and tells Gilgamesh to kill Humbaba quickly.

Humbaba curses Enkidu for this. He suggests that Enkidu is jealous and fearful that Humbaba will supplant him in Gilgamesh’s affections. Humbaba reminds them that he is the servant of Enlil, the god of earth, wind, and air—a greater divinity by far than Shamash. If Gilgamesh kills him, he will bring a curse down upon himself. Enkidu ignores these warnings and tells Gilgamesh to hurry up and kill Humbaba before Enlil finds out what they are up to and tries to stop them. Only by killing Humbaba and stealing his cedars can they guarantee their fame. Thus, Humbaba dies.

Gilgamesh cuts down the tallest tree in the forest and uses it to build a new gate for Uruk as a testament to their great adventure. The companions cut down more trees and make a raft, which they use to return to Uruk. On the raft, they carry the gate and the head of Humbaba.