Study Guide

Epic of Gilgamesh

1. Characters and places

*Uruk: a main setting (know where it is! -Mesopotamia)

*Gilgamesh: main character

*Enkidu: main character

*Humbaba: a star of chapter 2, also a fun name to say aloud

*Ishtar: star of chapter 3, and an interesting goddess in any case (goddess of love / desire, here --interestingly-- always negative)

*Bull of Heaven: important supporting role in chap. 3, seems to symbolize drought (sort of)

*Anu: king of gods, thus too important to omit (not really a very prominent character though)

*Utnapishtim-'The Faraway'; given immortality by the gods

*Siduri-'maker of wine'

*Urshanabi-the ferryman of Utnapishtim

*Dilmum - the faraway land in the garden of the sun, where Utnapishtim lives

[Many gods are mentioned just in passing, and thus don't seem worth memorizing in relation to these particular tales: such as Adad, Aruru, Ninurta, Nisaba, Sumaqan, or even Enlil (who, despite being an important god, is not prominent in this reading)

A couple of gods are somewhat minor figures, probably not worth actively memorizing, but should be recognized in the context of the tale:

Shamash: god of sun, helps Gilg. & Enkidu in the forest

Ninsun: Gilgamesh's mother ]

2. Principal stories

Story of the civilizing of Enkidu and how Enkidu and Gilgamesh became friends (chap. 1)

Story of the journey to the forest and the killing of Humbaba (chap. 2)

Story of Ishtar and Gilgamesh, and the Bull of Heaven (chap. 3

Story of the death of Enkidu (chap. 3)

Story of Gilgamesh's journey to Utnapishtim (chaps. 4-6)

Story of the flood (chap. 5)

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