From Sumerian Tales to Babylonian Epic: An Interdisciplinary Student Guide to Gilgamesh

By Dean A. Caputo.

Published by The International Journal of Literary Humanities

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: October 27, 2016 $US5.00

Reading the “Epic of Gilgamesh” can lead to confusion insofar as the versions of the story and the variations of character names therein. Moreover, since the unearthing of the cuneiform tablets over a century ago at Nineveh, there have been exponential developments in the field that lead to a challenging literature review: continuous new discoveries of texts; progressive improvement in decipherment superseding past works; new publications of private collections; lack of accreditment to, or complete omission of, the works of early pioneering researchers; and multifarious interpretations of the Sumerian and Semitic texts among scholars. This article assists readers with a perspicuous review of nascent writing systems, geocultural timelines, Mesopotamian city-states, and the Dynastic Periods. A historical overview is provided on the works of the early pioneers of Assyriology. Modern scholarship is then briefly analyzed for the most current data available, including the questionable epilogue of Tablet XII. Students outside of philological or Assyriological studies will benefit from this comprehensive, well-encompassed guide on the discoveries of the cuneiform tablets, their decipherment, and the metamorphoses of Gilgamesh from Ancient Sumerian tales to Akkadian epic through millennia.

Keywords: Gilgamesh, Cuneiform, Sumerian, Akkadian, Mesopotamia, Babylonia, Decipherment

The International Journal of Literary Humanities, Volume 14, Issue 4, December 2016, pp.39-54. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: October 27, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 813.120KB)).

Dean A. Caputo

Graduate Student, Department of Humanities, American Military University, Miami, Florida, USA