The Epic of Gilgamesh

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The Deluge tablet of the Gilgamesh epic in Akkadian

The Epic of Gilgamesh is based on an ancient story from Sumer; the standard version is written in Babylonian. It is about the plight of a god-like man, Gilgamesh (the king of Uruk), who befriends Enkidu, a man who grew up alone in the wilderness and who initially persuades Gilgamesh to be a better, less tyrannical ruler. Gilgamesh and Enkidu's adventures include slaying the ogre Humbaba in order to claim his stores of timber. The goddess Ishtar attempts to seduce Gilgamesh, but he rejects her, enraging the gods, who send the Bull of Heaven to punish him. Gilgamesh and Enkidu slay the bull, but when Enkidu taunts the gods about this, they decree his death. Gilgamesh mourns his friend at length, then travels in search of his ancestor, Uta-napishtim, who possesses the secret of immortality. Although he finds Uta-napishtim, the gods refuse to grant him immortality, and he becomes a governor of the Sumerian underworld, known as the House of Dust. The epic is considered to be the oldest literary work in existence, and refers to a great flood, a boat and a bird sent to search for land, resembling the story of Noah's ark and the Flood in the Bible.

In Lost

Season 2, Collision, Locke is working a crossword puzzle in the hatch.

Q42: Who was Enkidu's friend? A: Gilgamesh.

Similarities and shared themes

The story of Gilgamesh was found in cuneiform on 12 stone tablets in the Akkadian language. These tablets were found in the ruins of King Assur-banipal in Assyria circa 669-633 BC. Tablet 1: Gilgamesh had all knowledge and wisdom, he was "He who saw the Deep." Gilgamesh is a man of great beauty and physical prowess and because he is young, Gilgamesh was not well received by his people. His people call a sky god, Anu, who tells the people to create a wild man, “Enkidu.” This wild man is referred to as a “brute.” Enkidu is equal in strength to Gilgamesh and serves as his rival. By Tablet 7: Enkidu has a dream and tells Gilgamesh he knows that he is going to die. Enkidu recounts the dream: a great demon comes to him, turns him into a dove, and drags him to "the house of darkness." Enkidu then asks Gilgamesh not to forget him. Enkidu lays sick for twelve days, expressing regret he does not die in combat, then he finally dies. By Tablet 9 Gilgamesh continues to mourn, and wanders in the wild, contemplating that he will also die. He fears death, and seeks eternal life.

A similar epic is the one of Mahabharata

Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics in Hindu mythology and it is set in ancient India. It’s where the term “dharma” comes from = referring to “duty” or “doing right” – along with “artha” = purpose, “kama” = pleasure, and “maksha” = liberation. It is the inter relationships of these that explains the concept of “self” and “karma.” This epic dates to 8th century BC. The story is about a struggle for power of the throne. There is a kingdom ruled by the Kuru clan and two branches of the family struggle over power. In the end, the one who is in power decides to renounce everything because power brought too much bloodshed. They journey to the Himalayan mountains and a dog travels with them. One by one the family members fall down or stumble and the storyteller relays why or what they had done that was so terrible in their life and at the end the last man standing is a virtuous person and the dog… who turns out to be a god called Yama Dharmaraja. The dog/god takes the last virtuous person to Hindu heaven, telling him that he had to go to the underworld because he had told one lie in his life… and the dog/god tells him he would then be reunited with his family.


  • Though the answer is clearly 'GILGAMESH' from the clue, this doesn't actually fit with the other 'across' clues offered, which lends extra credence to the idea that the answer itself was intentionally emphasized by the writers (because they edited the entire thing in to make it fit). See crossword puzzles for more details.

See also

External links

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