The Epic of Gilgamesh


1. What are the main points in the praise of Gilgamesh with which the poem begins?

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The story begins with a prologue introducing us to the main character, Gilgamesh, the Priest-King of Uruk. Gilgamesh’s mother is Ninsun, sometimes referred to as the Lady Wildcow Ninsun. She was a goddess, endowing Gilgamesh with a semi-divine nature. Lugulbanda, a priest, was his father. Gilgamesh constructed the great city of Uruk along the Euphrates River in Mesopotamia, and surrounded it intricately decorated walls. He also built a temple for the goddess Ishtar, the goddess of love, and her father Anu, the father of the gods. Gilgamesh is credited with opening passages through the mountains. He traveled to the Nether World and beyond it, where he met Utnapishtim, the sole survivor of the great flood that almost ended the world, the one who had been given immortality. When he returned to Uruk, he wrote everything down on a tablet of lapis lazuli and locked it in a copper chest.