The Epic of Gilgamesh

what role does mourning play in human society?

Epic of Gilgamesh

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Mourning obviously plays a key role in the story with respect to Ekidu's death, but more generally mourning is an ancient human custom with a variety of functions. Anthropologists often point to mourning as a process meant to commemorate the lost and edify the community who has lost. Needless to say, this is a large question which demands a large answer. This is a good start, though.