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ENG150Y1 Lecture Notes - Carpe Diem, Psalms, Chiasmus

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William Robins

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Epic of Gilgamesh [Tablets 1 5]:
we are more accustomed to abstract ideas (i.e: hours, minutes, etc…)
Babylonians developed seconds, minutes and hours; ways that we live our life, our timetable is
structured by ancient peoples
French attempted to adapt the metric system into time, but it failed and never caught on
Babylonian time adheres to the phases of the moon
Stonehenge time was attempted, but that too failed; 1 year = 40 weeks of 9 days
Babylonian concepts still implemented into our understanding of space; the sexagesimal number
When we look at the cultures of mesopantina, and thinking of the relationship between us and the
civilization, we see that in some ways the culture has persisted and not completely destroyed
Babylonians developed the first maps of the world and of canals using abstract modeling
“all subsequent variteties of scientific astronomy, in the Hellenistic world, in india, in ilsam and in
“the hero generally participates in a cyclical journey or quest, faces adversaries that try to defeat him in
his journey, and returns home and significantly transformed by his journey” = “Epic Poetry” def. in
Wikipedia the first epic revolution
These stories used for initiation rights in some early cultures
Quiet possible that Gilgamesh is foundational to the epic revolution; for 2200 years it was a big story,
a story most likely to be encountered
The introduction of writing came from mesopantina, through record keeping, literary revolution,
society becomes complex and so does its literary advancement
Characteristics of oral performance:
o Face to face interaction\the sound of the voce
o Role of memory
o Words r not signes
o Rhythm
o Repetition
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o Formulas/motif/phrases/type scenes
Transformative technology
Page 1; I10 tells us that Gilgamesh is the author of the story; parallelism; connection between the
creation of the tablet + temple of ziggurat
Lots of imperative words I15
I25 similarity between the temple and the story, EOG is viewed as story and temple
Cuneiform = wedge-shape
Gilgamesh tablets are large and broken
What‟s crucial is what is repeated despite the fragmentary scenes
Fragments adds mystery
Abrupt reading experience but missing parts don‟t take away from the understanding
Incredibly popular
Hierarchical system/society
Founded by the gods
King is crucial to social order
Gilgamesh is a king, two thirds divine and one third human
Law code of king Hammurabi: guarantees justice, protection of women and children; Gilgamesh
is not following this, making many mistakes
I40-45 does this after his journey; therefore a prologue ; it‟s a story of how he becomes a great
I60 80 STARTS tyranny; doesnot respect kingship structures; ruins basic family structures
THEME Nature vs culture:
C.levi strauss:
“man in order to intro some order into his life, classifies the empirical world in a way that reflects
underlying structures in his mind”
“the raw and the cooked” analogy; surfaces into mythology
“a binary relations is an opposition of two terms where the difference between the terms is thought
to tell us something about each of them
ENIDKU what marks his transition?
Shepard represent this inbetween transition from wild life to city (when E and S journey to reach
the city)
Page 13 doesnot eat food becasev its unfamiliar; they are the quintessential food and drink of
civilization; it‟s the mark of his movement from nature to culture
Example of question: why does Gilgamesh want to go and slay humbaba?
Lecture #4 (September 19th 2012)
The slaying of humbaba: for eternal fame, page 20, Y185 / permission from shamash, pg 24 / ppl r against it,
but he is stubborn / follows his new found friendship w/ Enidku, turns away from authoritative stigma of
himself, page 18 Y97, Shamash abhors H
H is representative of the wild, provides great fear, G wants to conquer the wild; theme of nature vs culture
E is hesitant to kill H cuz perhaps he is not ready to fully transform as a member of civilization, afraid of the
consquences from the gods, knows the dangers of slaying H/ has experience of the wild, not as naïve as G
Pg 21 II260-265 there is something bout H that is unknown
G‟s mom “Wild Cow” thinks G wants to slay H because of restless spirit, pg 24 III45-55
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