The Epic of Gilgamesh

Gilgamesh's journey into the underworld

How did Urshanabi help Gilgamesh in his journey to the underworld?
Asked by
Last updated by Aslan
Answers 1
Add Yours

Urshanabi says he will take Gilgamesh to Utnapishtim, but that Gilgamesh has made the task much more difficult because he has destroyed the Stone Things and the Urnu-snakes, which propelled and protected his boat. Instead, Urshanabi says, Gilgamesh must go into the forest and fashion hundreds of poles. Each pole must be exactly sixty cubits in length (approximately ninety feet). Urshanabi instructs him to fit the poles with rings and cover them with pitch, and then they will attempt the voyage.

Gilgamesh cuts the poles, and they sail off together across the perilous sea. In three days, they sail as far as an ordinary boat would have sailed in two months. When they arrive at the Waters of Death, the boatman tells Gilgamesh to use the punting poles but to be sure that his hands do not touch the water.