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Showing posts with the label Gilgamesh

The Bull of Heaven

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Taurus is perhaps the most prominent constellation in the northern hemisphere’s winter sky. One of the oldest described constellations, dating at least from the early Bronze Age when it marked the location of the Sun during the spring equinox, Taurus is symbol for the bull in the oldest mythologies of Sumer/Babylon, Egypt, India, Minoan Crete and Greece.

Wild bulls of Europe and Asia were huge, possibly as large as 6 feet at the shoulder, Whether referenced in visual art or described in writing the bull was venerated as the embodiment of supernatural strength and virility.

In the Epic of Gilgamesh, the hero Gilgamesh angered Innana, (Sumerian Goddess of love, sex war, and… justice) with his refusal to be her mate.  So spurned, she called down “The Bull of Heaven” to destroy Gilgamesh, Uruk his city, drink up all the water, devour the pasture and strip the land bare.

The hero Gilgamesh and his best bro, the wild man Enkidu, killed “The Bull of Heaven” and saved Uruk and surrounding count…

Enkidu

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“Dat ain't a mythic memory of pre-civilized humanity, dat's a song!”
Jimmy Durante sings Inkydo!

When Enkidu was a living myth, he and his best bro Gilgamesh were described and inscribed as cuneiform writing in clay.  Their story, The Epic of Gilgamesh, first written c. 2100 BCE recounts a king’s struggle with his fear of death, and his foolish quest for immortality.

Enkidu was created by the gods as match, equal, companion and (thank the gods) solution to the extreme passions Gilgamesh exhibited as ruler of the Sumerian city-state, Uruk.

Enkidu, a child of nature, roamed the plains of Mesopotamia (land between the rivers, modern Iraq).  His friends were beasts and he protected them by thwarting hunters and destroying their traps.  Gilgamesh eventually sends a priestess of Innana (goddes of love, sexual desire, fertility, war and justice), to tame him, resulting in a prolonged sexual encounter. Enkidu’s loss of innocence is quite unique in early writing and describes a moving jo…

Gilgamesh

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The Epic of Gilgamesh, regarded as the earliest surviving great work of literature,  is an ancient Sumerian poem describing the life and ambitions of Gilgamesh the demigod, hero and king of the Sumerian city-state of Uruk.

The story first describes Gilgamesh as larger than life, beautiful to behold, with an expansive imagination and passions.  He’s the epitome of the civilized man.  He’s a builder, a dreamer but as it turns out, he’s also a despot.

His abused and oppressed subjects pray to the gods for deliverance.  The gods respond by creating an opposite, a match, for Gilgamesh.  His name is Enkidu. He’s a natural, a wild man who's friends are the beasts of the wild.  They brawl when they meet but learn quickly to respect each other. It’s a twenty-seventh century B.C.E. bromance.

With Enkidu’s tempering influence the great city of Uruk is finally ruled by a just and wise King.  Gilgamesh however is not content. His burning ambition for fame and immortality lead him and Enkidu to …