Gosh there’s some powerful stuff in Gilgamesh!
What instances and expressions of friendship were striking to you?
Here’s one that made me stop:
“Gilgamesh knew his friend was close to death. He tried to recollect aloud their life together that had been so brief, so empty of gestures they never felt they had to make.”
Gosh! How much of our lives we lose to not telling our friends that we appreciate their presence in our lives, no?
It’s fascinating to me to read this, on one page is something so foreign: the weird Ishtar and their weirder treatment of her; and then something so shatteringly human like this scene of Gilgamesh anxious over his friend’s injury and sickness.
So what do you think of Ishtar?
“Your love only brings war!”
“We outgrow our naïveté in thinking goddesses return our love.”
“The goddess stood on Uruk’s walls, and cried aloud: Grief to those who have insulted me and killed the bull of heaven!”
And then Ekidu threw a bull leg at her. Boo! Get outta here!
The Babylonians were way superstitious peoples. They were solving quadratic equations and had 800 years’ of astronomical observations but they still went daily to the dream-interpreter. Most of the tablets that have been translated are dream interpretations.
I’m reading Gilgamesh now.
So far, Gilgamesh can’t turn around without needing to get his dreams interpreted by someone. I’m only about 1/3 of the way through, and we’ve already had four dream interpretations.
I think Enkidu lies to him about the dream Gilgamesh has the night before the do battle with Humbaba. “Oh, everything will be just hunky-dory, go get ‘im, Tiger!” he tells Gilgamesh, trembling in fear.
I like the translation I have. It’s Mariner Books, translation by Herbert Mason. In my Beth Retelling above, how do I know that Enkidu is startled and frightened by Gilgamesh’s dream?
“That you will be victorious against Humbaba, Enkidu said, or someone said through him because he could not hear his voice or move his limbs although he thought he spoke, and soon saw his friend asleep beside him.”
Enkidu isn’t frightened by this dream, he’s terrified!