The Epic of Gilgamesh Lecture Notes

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Department
Core Curriculum
Course Code
CAS CC 101
Professor
Monica Patterson

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Description
Gilgamesh Lecture Notes Gilgamesh→ King and main hero of the story. Enkidu→ Born in the wilderness, and is Gilgamesh’s other half. Ishtar→ Main goddess (see notes below). Shamash→ Main god (see notes below). Utnapishtim→Asked Ea to build a “preserver of life” for the coming flood. Ea→ god of mischief, intelligence, and water. Akkadian→ Located in the area surrounding ancient Mesopotamia. Ziggurat→ Large stepped pyramid, whose main purpose was a temple. Cuneiform→ Earliest known way of writing on clay tablets. Hierogamy→ Sexual marriage between a god and goddess (see notes below). Uruk→Ancient Sumer city located by the Euphrates river (see notes below). ● Read the books and come to class. ● Gilgamesh was originally written on clay tablets using styluses. ● Epic→ Where you grasp the entire life of a people. ● The story of Gilgamesh was first re-constructed in 1850, up until that point the story was largely forgotten. ● This story is important because it focuses on the hero aspect and an ultimate journey. ● Gilgamesh undertakes lamenting quests, so that he can find the meaning of life. ○ He returns with the knowledge of reconciliation, through his life changing journeys. ● Gilgamesh is the main hero. ○ ⅔ part god ■ Very obsessive, has a stormy heart, and nothing satisfies him. ○ ⅓ part human ■ Experiences love, grief, terror, and he knows that his death is inevitable. ● Ancient gods were not spiritual beings, they were very large, they could be killed, and they were either male or female. ○ The only way to check the gods’power were the other gods. ● Enkidu is Gilgamesh’s light in the story and he makes Gilgamesh’s life precious. ● Uruk is the greatest city at the time. ○ While Gilgamesh did not build all of it, he did build The Keeping Place of Ishtar and Shamash in the center of Uruk. ○ The city was enclosed by a wall, and it was surrounded by grasslands. ■ Walls made civilization possible. ● Business, art, memory, luxury, and beauty all take place in walls. ○ It had brutal weather. ○ There were very few resources to use as building materials. ■ Uses brickwork made out of mud that was hardened by the sun. ● Gilgamesh is the protector of the city Uruk, as king. ○ Luga→ Large man (King). ○ The hero of a story is often a king. ● In order to be civilized, you must have a god or temple to a god or gods in your city. ● Ishtar is the main goddess in the story Gilgamesh. ○ She is the goddess of sex, joy of life, love, fertility in the land, wild animals, and humans, feminine power/psychology, war, harmony, and maturity. ■ Often times she was referred in the “Dance of Ishtar.” ■ Her purposes often are shown in opposite
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