Epic of Gilgamesh & Hammarabis Code of Law

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5 February 2013 Quiz #1 essay question 3. Describe the (a) Epic of Gilgamesh and (b) Hammurabi’s Code of Laws, especially with regard to property, gender, and class. (a) The Epic of Gilgamesh was a tale based on an actual historical figure who was a king that reigned over Uruk a city-state in Sumeria in or around the year 2700 B.C.E., unlike the heroes of stories in Greek or Celtic mythology. Uruk, also called Erech in the Hebrew Bible was one of the great cities of ancient Mesopotamia located between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, which is in today’s modern Iraq. The tale was written in Akkadian, the Babylonians’’ language on twelve tablets that were discovered, and were excavated along with 25,000 other stone tablets in 1839 from the ruins of Nineveh, and translated into English by Henry Rawlinson sometime in 1872. The prelude of the epic is a general description of the king of Uruk, Gilgamesh who was 2/3 god and 1/3 mortal. He had built great walled cities with magnificent temple towers called ziggurats all by forced labor from his subjects whom he lorded over very cruelly; he would physically rape any women under his rule no matter what her status or whom she belonged. His subjects cried to the gods because of this oppression, and the gods heard their pleas and created a wild man named Enkidu who they sent to put Gilgamesh in check. The wild man who lived with beasts was controlled, and tamed by what the Greeks called Hetaerae who has sex with him. A hetaerae was like a harlot but more of a priestess, afterwards when Enkidu has been tamed and educated he then goes to Gilgamesh and confronts him, the two wrestle and fight for a longtime, in the end Gilgamesh prevails but is impressed with Enkidu and the two become inseparable friends like brothers. The two go on mischief adventures causing trouble that the gods must stop, so they decide to kill off Enkidu

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