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(2,500 BC) Mesopotamia




EnkiduTales of heroic deeds by Enkidu are recounted in the world's earliest known epic poem, "Gilgamesh". Enkidu is created by the god Anu (his name means "Ea is creator") to oppose the Uruk king, Gilgamesh, but becomes his friend and lover. In one version of the tale, Gilgamesh is so distraught when Enkidu dies that he travels to the underworld in an attempt to retrieve him.

Read here some excerpts from the text:

"... O Enkidu, you who love life, I will show you Gilgamesh, a man of many moods; you shall look at him well in his radiant manhood. His body is perfect in strenght and maturity; he never rests by night or day. He is stronger than you, so leave your boasting ... ... Gilgamesh will know in his dream that you are coming."

Now Gilgamesh got up to tell to his mother, Ninsun, one of the wise gods, "Mother, last night I had a dream. I was full of joy, the young heroes were round me and I walked through the night under the stars of firmament, and one, a meteor of the stuff of Anu, fell down from heaven. I tried to lift it but it proved too heavy. ... and to me its attracion was like the love of a woman..."

Then Nisun ... said to Gilgamesh, "This star of heaven which descend like a meteor ... is the strong comrade, the one who brings help to his friend in his need. He is the strongest of wild creatures, ... when you will see him you will be glad; you will love him as a woman and he will never forsake you. This is the meaning of the dream."

Gilgamesh said, "Mother, I dreamed a second dream. In the streets of strong-walled Uruk there lay an axe; the shape of it was strange and the people thronged round. I saw it and was glad. I bent down, deeply drawn towards it; I loved it like a woman and wore it at my side."

Nisun answered, "That axe, which you saw, which drew you so powerfully like love of a woman, that is the comrade whom I give you, and he will come in his strenght like one of the host of heaven. He is the brave companion who rescues his friend in necessity."


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