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Translated by William Muss-Arnolt


Of this tablet only a few fragments are preserved. The correct beginning of the first tablet has been determined by Professor Haupt. It reads thus:

He who has seen the history of Gilgamesh,
[He who] knows all [that has happened to him]
* * * together * * *
[He who] has seen all kinds of wisdom,
[and] knows the mysteries and has seen what is hidden,
he bringeth news dating farther back [than the deluge?];
He has travelled far-distant roads,
and become weary * * *
[and now he has written] on a memorial tablet all the other things
* * * the wall of Uruk-supuru

[Lines ten and eleven are wanting.]

He spoke a charm which does not leave [him]
* * * the god who from distant days * * *

So far page 1 of Haupt's text; to the same tablet, as Haupt and Jeremias have pointed out, belongs page 51, narrating a siege of the city of Erech.

* * * his cattle forsook him.
* * * he went down to the river,
pushed into the river his boat and covered (it).
* * * full of sorrows he wept bitterly.
He returned (?) to the city of Gan-gan-na, which the enemy had destroyed completely.
The she-asses have trampled down their foals;
The cows in madness turn upon their calves.
And as the cattle were frightened, so were the people.
Like the doves, the maidens sigh and mourn.
The gods of Uruk, the strong-walled,
Assume the shape of flies and buzz about the streets.
The protecting deities of Uruk, the strong-walled,
take on the shape of mice and hurry into their holes.
Three years the enemy besieged the city of Uruk;
the city's gates were barred, the bolts were shot.
And even Ishtar, the goddess, could not make head against the enemy.
But Bel opened his mouth, said
to Ishtar, the queen, and spoke to her thus:

[The rest of the text is broken off; traces still allow to read (21) "Babylon the city of joy" (?). The death of the king must have created consternation in the city, described above, so graphically. Then Gilgamesh comes to the city as her saviour, and later on appears as her king.]


With the exception of Column I the text of this tablet is preserved almost completely. Gilgamesh is introduced as the ruler of Uruk, but his rule soon became unpopular, since he compelled all the young men of the city to enter his service, and carried off the maidens to his court. The parents complained, saying:

Not does Gilgamesh leave the son to his father,
nor the maiden to the warrior, nor the wife to her husband.
Their wailing and lament [is heard everywhere?].
"Ye gods of heaven, and thou Bel of Uruk,
who didst bring my son into existence, [save us!?],
He (Gilgamesh) has not a rival [in all the land?]
Thy people now come [to thee for help?].
Gilgamesh leaves not to the father his child." Day and night [they poured out their plaint]:
"He the ruler of Uruk the strong-walled.
He their ruler and
the strong, the lofty, the cunning [* * *]
Gilgamesh does not leave a daughter to [her mother?]
nor the maiden to the warrior, nor the wife to her husband."
[The gods of heaven] heard their cry.
They also cried aloud to Aruru, the goddess, saying: "Aruru, who hast created him,
Create now a rival (?) to him, for the time when his heart shall be [* * *],
Let them fight together and Uruk [shall be the spectator?]!"
Upon hearing this Aruru created in her heart a man after the likeness of Anu.
Aruru washed her hands, took a bit of clay, and cast it on the ground.
Thus she created Enkidu, the hero, a lofty offspring, the possession (?) of Ninib.
His whole body was covered with hair; he had long hair on his head Tike a woman;
His flowing hair was luxuriant like that of the corn-god.
Contrary to [?] the custom of the people and of the land, he was clothed with garments, as god Ner;
He ate herbs with the gazelles.
He quenched his thirst with the beasts.
He sported about with the creatures of the water.
Sa-a-a-du, the hunter of men.
Lay in wait for him at the entrance to the well.
The first, the second, and the third day he lay in wait for
him at the entrance to the well.
But when he saw him the hunter's face looked troubled,
[beholding Enkidu and?] his cattle, and he returned to his home.
* * * he was sad, and moaned, and wailed;
his heart grew heavy], his face became clouded,
and sadness [entered] into his mind.
His face became like unto [the distant * * * (?)]

The hunter, obeying the command of Gilgamesh, intended to advance against Enkidu; but at the sight of him he drew back in fear, and was unable to catch him.

The hunter opened his mouth and said unto [Ea, or Shamash, his father?]:
"My father, one hero, going there [is not strong enough?].
In heaven is * * *
Like that of a Kisir Anuis his strength;
he roams over [all] the mountains;
with the beasts of the field he regularly [feeds].
His feet are regularly set toward the entrance of the well.
I am afraid of him, I do not dare to go near him.
He has filled up the pit that I digged,
and has destroyed the hunter's nets which I [had spread over it?].
From my hands he has made to escape the cattle and the beasts of the field,
and does not allow me to hunt them."
His father opened his mouth and] spoke thus to the hunter:
["Go and wend thy way] to Uruk, the city of Gilgamesh.

The fragments of lines following show that the hunter was to find there a tempter called Shamhat, in order to entice, with her assistance, the sensuous Enkidu, and bring him to Uruk. Obeying the advice of his father, the hunter goes to Uruk [the city of Gilgamesh].

Into the presence] of Gilgamesh [stepped the hunter, and said:]

And now follows a repetition of the same report of the hunter concerning his failure to capture Enkidu, the address " my father," of course, being omitted. Thereupon:

Gilgamesh spoke to the hunter and said:
"Go, hunter mine, and take the ensnarer Shamhat with thee.
And when the beasts come down to the well,
then let her tear off her dress and disclose her nakedness.
Enkidu will see her, and he shall approach unto her,
and the cattle, which gather around him on the field, shall forsake him."
The hunter departed, and took with him the woman Shamhat.
Together they proceeded straightway, and
On the third day they reached the appointed field.
There the hunter and the ensnarer rested at their seat.
One day, two days, they lurked at the entrance to the well,
where the cattle were accustomed to slake their thirst,
where the creatures of the waters were sporting.
Then [came] Enkidu, whose home was the mountains,
who with gazelles ate herbs,
and with the cattle slaked his thirst,
and with the creatures of the waters rejoiced his heart.
And Shamhat, the enticer of men, beheld him * * *
"Behold, there he is" (the hunter exclaimed); "now disclose thy womb,
uncover thy nakedness, and let him enjoy thy favours.
Be not ashamed, but yield to his sensuous lust.
He shall see thee and shall approach unto thee;
Remove thy garment, and he shall lie in thine arms;
satisfy his desire after the manner of women;
then his cattle, raised with him on the field, shall forsake him
while he firmly presses his breast upon thine."
And Shamhat disclosed her womb, uncovered her nakedness, and let him enjoy her favours.
She was not ashamed, but yielded to his sensuous lust.
She removed her garment, he lay in her arms,
and she satisfied his desire after the manner of women.
He pressed his breast firmly upon hers.
For six days and seven nights Enkidu enjoyed the love of Shamhat.
And when he had sated himself with her charms,
he turned his countenance toward his cattle.
The gazelles, resting, beheld Enkidu; they and
the cattle of the field turned away from him.
This startled Enkidu and his body grew faint;
his knees became stiff, as his cattle departed,
and he became less agile than ever before.
And as he hearkened, he made a resolve.
He turned again, in love enthralled, to the feet of the harlot,
and gazed up into the face of the ensnarer.
And while the ensnarer spoke, his ears listened attentively;
and the siren spoke to Enkidu and said:
"Lofty thou art, Enkidu, thou shalt be like a god;Why, then, doest thou lie down with the beasts of the field?
Come, I will take thee to strong-walled Uruk;
to the glorious house, the dwelling of Anu and Ishtar,
the palace of Gilgamesh, (the hero) who is perfect in strength,
surpassing, like a mountain bull, men in power."
While she spoke thus to him, he hearkened unto her
wise speech, and his heart yearned for a friend.
And Enkidu spoke unto her, the ensnarer:
"Come then, Shamhat, take me, and lead me
to the glorious dwelling, the sacred seat of Anu and Ishtar,
to the palace * of Gilgamesh, (the hero) who is perfect in
strength, surpassing, like as a mountain bull, men in power."

Here the text becomes very broken, only the latter half of a number of lines being preserved. As to the contents, this much may be said: Enkidu intends to test the strength of the famous hero (Gilgamesh)—whose friendship he desires—by means of a "lion, born in the desert and powerful in strength." New fragments found and skilfully placed together by Professor Haupt, have enabled Dr. Jeremias to partially restore the following narrative:

The Shamhat leads Enkidu to Uruk. As they arrived, the inhabitants of Uruk, clothed "in festive garments," were celebrating a festival—perhaps the Tammuz festival. The end of Col. V seems to be a warning to Enkidu, received in a dream:

"Gilgamesh will behold [thee].
I behold [* * *] his face,
it glows with heroic courage.
Strength he possesses, [magnificent?] is his whole body.
His power is stronger than thine.
He rests not [nor tires?], neither by day nor by night.
O Enkidu, change thy [intention?].
Shamash loves Gilgamesh;
Anu, Bel, and Ea are whispering (wisdom) into his ear.
Ere thou earnest down from the mountain
Gilgamesh beheld thee in a dream in Uruk."

Here the address seems to end, and the narrative returns to its hero, Gilgamesh, who also had a dream, and was troubled because he could not interpret it.

Gilgamesh came, to understand the dream, and said to his mother:
"My mother, I dreamed a dream in my nightly vision;
The stars of heaven, like Ami's host, fell upon me * * *"

The fragments of Col. VI contain another dream, the subject of which is likewise Enkidu and his adventures with the ensnarer Shamhat. The fragments indicate that the mother advised her son to make friendship with Enkidu, the giant. [i.e., wild man.]

[Here let us append the Pennsylvania tablet, covering the dream material and encounter with Shamhat found after the publication of this translation:]

Gilgamesh sought to interpret the dream;
Spoke to his mother:
“My mother, during my night
I became strong and moved about
among the heroes;
And from the starry heaven
A meteor(?) of Anu fell upon me:
I bore it and it grew heavy upon me,
I became weak and its weight I could not endure.
The land of Uruk gathered about it.
The heroes kissed its feet.
It was raised up before me.
They stood me up.
I bore it and carried it to thee.”
The mother of Gilgamesh, who knows all things,
Spoke to Gilgamesh:
“Some one, O Gilgamesh, who like thee
In the field was born and
Whom the mountain has reared,
Thou wilt see (him) and [like a woman(?)] thou wilt rejoice.
Heroes will kiss his feet.
Thou wilt spare [him and wilt endeavor]
To lead him to me.”
He slept and saw another
Dream, which he reported to his mother:
[“My mother,] I have seen another
[Dream.] My likeness I have seen in the streets
[Of Uruk] of the plazas.
An axe was brandished, and
They gathered about him;
And the axe made him angry.
I saw him and I rejoiced,
I loved him as a woman,
I embraced him.
I took him and regarded him
As my brother.”
The mother of Gilgamesh, who knows all things,
[Spoke to Gilgamesh]:
[“O Gilgamesh, the man whom thou sawest,]
[Whom thou didst embrace like a woman].
(means) that he is to be associated with thee.”
Gish understood the dream.
[As] Enki[du] was sitting before the woman,
[Her] loins(?) he embraced, her vagina(?) he opened.
[Enkidu] forgot the place where he was born.
Six days and seven nights
Enkidu continued
To cohabit with [the courtesan].
[The woman] opened her [mouth] and
Spoke to Enkidu:
“I gaze upon thee, O Enkidu, like a god art thou!
Why with the cattle
Dost thou [roam] across the field?
Come, let me lead thee
into [Uruk] of the plazas,
to the holy house, the dwelling of Anu,
O, Enkidu arise, let me conduct thee
To Eanna, the dwelling of Anu,
The place [where Gilgamesh is, perfect] in vitality.
And thou [like a wife wilt embrace] him.
Thou [wilt love him like] thyself.
Come, arise from the ground
(that is) cursed.”
He heard her word and accepted her speech.
The counsel of the woman
Entered his heart.
She stripped off a garment,
Clothed him with one.
Another garment
She kept on herself.
She took hold of his hand.
Like [a god(?)] she brought him
To the fertile meadow,
The place of the sheepfolds.
In that place they received food;
[For he, Enkidu, whose birthplace was the mountain,]
[With the gazelles he was accustomed to eat herbs,]
[With the cattle to drink water,]
[With the water beings he was happy.]
(Perhaps one additional line missing.)
Milk of the cattle
He was accustomed to suck.
Food they placed before him,
He broke (it) off and looked
And gazed.
Enkidu had not known
To eat food.
To drink wine
He had not been taught.
The woman opened her mouth and
Spoke to Enkidu:
“Eat food, O Enkidu,
The provender of life!
Drink wine, the custom of the land!”
Enkidu ate food
Till he was satiated.
Wine he drank,
Seven goblets.
His spirit was loosened, he became hilarious.
His heart became glad and
His face shone.
[The barber(?)] removed
The hair on his body.
He was anointed with oil.
He became manlike.
He put on a garment,
He was like a man.
He took his weapon;
Lions he attacked,
(so that) the night shepherds could rest.
He plunged the dagger;
Lions he overcame.
The great [shepherds] lay down;
Enkidu was their protector.
The strong man,
The unique hero,
To [the shepherds(?)] he speaks:

(About thirteen lines missing.)

Making merry.
He lifted up his eyes,
He sees the man.
He spoke to the woman:
“O, courtesan, lure on the man.
Why has he come to me?
His name I will destroy.”
The woman called to the man
Who approaches to him and he beholds him.
“Away! why dost thou [quake(?)]
Evil is the course of thy activity.”
Then he opened his mouth and
Spoke to Enkidu:
“[To have (?)] a family home
Is the destiny of men, and
The prerogative(?) of the nobles.
For the city(?) load the workbaskets!
Food supply for the city lay to one side!
For the King of Uruk of the plazas,
Open the hymen(?), perform the marriage act!
For Gilgamesh, the King of Uruk of the plazas,
Open the hymen(?),
Perform the marriage act!
With the legitimate wife one should cohabit.
So before,
As well as in the future.
By the decree pronounced by a god,
From the cutting of his umbilical cord
(Such) is his fate.”
At the speech of the hero
His face grew pale.

(About nine lines missing.)

[Enkidu] went [in front],
And the courtesan behind him.
He entered into Uruk of the plazas.
The people gathered about him.
As he stood in the streets
Of Uruk of the plazas,
The men gathered,
Saying in regard to him:
“Like the form of Gilgamesh he has suddenly become;
shorter in stature.
[In his structure high(?)], powerful,
.......... overseeing(?)
In the land strong of power has he become.
Milk of cattle
He was accustomed to suck.”
Steadily(?) in Uruk .....
The heroes rejoiced.
He became a leader.
To the hero of fine appearance,
To Gilgamesh, like a god,
He became a rival to him.
For Ishtar a couch
Was stretched, and
Gilgamesh [lay down, and afterwards(?)]
In the night he fled.
He approaches and
[Enkidu stood] in the streets.
He blocked the path
of Gilgamesh.
At the exhibit of his power,

(About seven lines missing.)

Strong(?) …
Against him [Enkidu proceeded],
[His hair] luxuriant.
He started [to go]
Towards him.
They met in the plaza of the district.
Enkidu blocked the gate
With his foot,
Not permitting Gilgamesh to enter.
They seized (each other), like oxen,
They fought.
The threshold they demolished;
The wall they impaired.
Gilgamesh and Enkidu
Seized (each other).
Like oxen they fought.
The threshold they demolished;
The wall they impaired.
Gilgamesh bent
His foot to the ground,
His wrath was appeased,
His breast was quieted.
When his breast was quieted,
Enkidu to him
Spoke, to Gilgamesh:
“As a unique one, thy mother
bore thee.
The wild cow of the stall,
Has exalted thy head above men.
Kingship over men
Enlil has decreed for thee.
Second tablet,
enlarged beyond [the original(?)].
240 lines.

[End supplement.]


A great and important factor in the subsequent adventures of Gilgamesh is the fact that Enkidu becomes the friend and companion of the hero. Two fragments, published on pages 14 and 15 of Professor Haupt's edition, are supposed by Dr. Jeremias to have belonged to Cols. III and IV of this tablet. The former seems to be an address to a woman (the Shamhat?):

* * * the gods let thee enter
* * * forsaken was
* * * the consort * * *
* * * and he saw it alone,
and he relieved his heart and spoke to his friend.
* * * a dream I dreamed in my night's sleep,
[The stars?] of heaven fell upon the earth.
[Frightened?] I stood there.
* * * his face became disturbed
* * * like lion's claws were his nails
* * * the dream?] strengthened me * * *

The second fragment was a dialogue between Shamash, the sun god, and Enkidu, in consequence of which Enkidu's "angry heart became quieted." It seems that Shamash induced Enkidu, who is anxious to return to his mountain home, to remain. The Shamhat again plays a prominent role, and we hear of the promise to Enkidu of royal honours, the friendship and brotherly love of Gilgamesh. Says Shamash:

"Come, and on a fine, grand couch,
on a fine couch he [Gilgamesh] will let thee recline.
He will place thee upon a couch, a seat to the left.
The kings of the earth shall kiss thy feet.
The people of Uruk shall whine before thee * * *
and the nations shall work for thee.
* * * after thee shall be carried, whatever there be
* * * in the midst thereof he shall encamp."
Enkidu listened to the word of Shamash, the warrior hero,
* * * his angry heart became quieted.

A continuation of this tablet Dr. Jeremais believes to have found on page 87 of Haupt's edition. Here Gilgamesh promises to Enkidu precisely the same that Shamash promises on page 15 (see above). The gods have a purpose in view in bringing about friendship between Enkidu and Gilgamesh. The fragments of Tablets IV and V give us the key to it. They relate the battle of the city of Uruk against the Elamitic despot Humbaba, ending in the death of the latter and the enthronement of Gilgamesh as King of Uruk. The gods, being deeply interested in the destruction of Humbaba and the end of the rule of the hostile god [giant] Humba, take part in the fight. It is evident that this poetic narrative is simply the mythical representation of a great national upheaval, by means of which an Elamitic dynasty was overthrown and a Babylonian rule established.


is represented by only a few small fragments, which, however, enable us to see that the tablet describes the preparation for the capture of the fortress of the Elamitic king, Humbaba. These two tablets (IV and V) then contain the historic kernel of the narrative of the epic. According to Dr. Jeremias, Tablet IV contained something like this: Col. I. Enkidu stands before the king of the gods (Marduk?), speaking probably of Humbaba, whom he and Gilgamesh intended to kill, and whose corpse vultures (?) may devour; they asked the god to be favourable to their fight.

We did look after thee, O king [of the gods?].
Now look thou also after us.
Gilgamesh then advises Enkidu to go
To the lofty palace of the great queen, who knoweth all.

Thereupon both go to the great prophetess, who is described in Col. II, her breast ornaments and her crown being especially mentioned. After this the narrative continues as follows:

[Before] Shamash he sacrificed a smoke-offering,
poured out a drink-offering;
lifted up before Shamash his hand,1 (praying):
"Why hast thou disquieted the heart of Gilgamesh?
Now thou hast taught him, and
a far road he travels unto Humbaba.
An unknown fight he is about to enter,
To an unknown war he is about to set forth.
From the day that he goeth, until he returneth again,
until he comes to the (splendid) cedar wood,
until he shall have killed Humbaba the despot,
all the many evils which shall befall him, shall ruin him.
On the day when thou * * *

The end of Col. II narrates the preparation for the great fight.

The forces of the country assembled together;
the army completed its preparations;
and the heroes put on their armour.

Then the two friends set out together. Col. V opens with these words:

In order that the cedar wood remain intact, Bel has made it a terror for the people.
The roaring of Humbaba was like that of a storm cyclone;
his mouth was (full of) blasphemy, his breath (killing?)
like hot wind;
* * * hears a roaring in the forest;
whosoever descends into his park.
In order that the cedar forest remain intact, Bel has
made it a terror for the people.
Whosoever enters it, pestilence (?) will overtake him.
And Gilgamesh spoke unto Enkidu, and said:

Plates 57 and 58 Dr. Jeremias assigns to the last column of Tablet IV. Gilgamesh recounts to Enkidu

a favourable dream,
a splendid dream,

in which he saw the corpse of Humbaba. Then they set out on their way in the morning;

every twenty double leagues they took a meal;
every thirty double leagues they took a rest.
Before Shamash they dug a hole.
Then Gilgamesh went up to * * *
and poured his sacrificial meal into the hole (saying):
"Mountain, bring a dream unto Enkidu!
Let him see dream-visions, O Shamash."

Then they go to sleep. About midnight Gilgamesh awakes, arises, and speaks to his friend Enkidu:

"My friend, hast thou called me?" Then he tells him of a
third dream that he had seen.
The dream that I dreamed was very terrible (?);
heaven thundered, earth quaked;
day grew dark, darkness came up;
lightning set in, fire flared up
sated [with destruction] and filled with death.
Then suddenly the light darkened, the fire was quenched
* * * fell down, turned into smoke * * *”
Enkidu heard this dream and said to him:

[The rest of this tablet is broken away.]

[Here let us append the Babylonian Yale tablet, which relates material about the preparations for battle with Humbaba.]

.................. (my friend?)
[Something] that is exceedingly difficult,
[Why] dost thou desire
[to do this?]
.... something (?) that is very [difficult (?)],
[Why dost thou] desire
[to go down to the forest]?
A message [they carried] among [men]
They carried about.
They made a ....
.............. they brought

(About 17 lines missing.)

................... my friend
................ they raised .....
answer [they returned.]
[To] the woman
They proceeded to the overthrowing

(About eleven lines missing.)

.......... name(?) .............
[The one who is] a rival [to him]
subdue and ................
Wailing ................
The mother [of Gilgamesh, who knows everything]
Before [Shamash raised her hand]
Now(?) [why]
hast thou stirred up the heart for my son,
[Restlessness imposed upon him (?)]

(About four lines missing.)

The eyes [of Enkidu filled with tears].
[He clutched] his heart;
[Sadly(?)] he sighed.
[The eyes of En]kidu filled with tears.
[He clutched] his heart;
[Sadly(?)] he sighed.
The face [of Gilgamesh was grieved].
[He spoke] to Enkidu:
[“My friend, why are] thy eyes
[Filled with tears]?
Thy [heart clutched]
Dost thou sigh [sadly(?)]?”
[Enkidu opened his mouth] and
spoke to Gilgamesh:
“Attacks, my friend,
have exhausted my strength(?).
My arms are lame,
my strength has become weak.”
Gilgamesh opened his mouth and
spoke to Enkidu:

(About four lines missing.)

..... [until] Ḫumbaba, [the terrible],
............ [I destroyed].
[I will go down to the] cedar forest,
................... the jungle
............... tambourine (?)
................ I will open it.
Enkidu opened his mouth and
spoke to Gilgamesh:
“Know, my friend, in the mountain,
when I moved about with the cattle
to a distance of one double hour into the heart of the forest,
[Alone?] I penetrated within it,
[To] Ḫumbaba, whose roar is a flood,
whose mouth is fire,
whose breath is death.
Why dost thou desire
To do this?
To advance towards
the dwelling(?) of Ḫumbaba?”
Gilgamesh opened his mouth and
[spoke to Enkidu:
“... [the covering(?)] I will destroy.
....[in the forest]
To .................
The dwelling [of Ḫumbaba]
The axe ..........
Thou ..........
I will [go down to the forest].”
Enkidu opened his mouth and
spoke to [Gilgamesh:]
“When [together(?)] we go down
To the [cedar] forest,
whose guardian, O warrior Gilgamesh,
a power(?) without [rest(?)],
Ḫumbaba, an offspring(?) of ....
Adad ......................
He ........................
To keep safe [the cedar forest],
[Enlil has decreed for it] seven-fold terror.”
Gilgamesh [opened] his mouth and
spoke to [Enkidu]:
“Whoever, my friend, overcomes (?) [terror(?)],
it is well (for him) with Shamash for the length of [his days].
Mankind will speak of it at the gates.
Wherever terror is to be faced,
Thou, forsooth, art in fear of death.
Thy prowess lacks strength.
I will go before thee.
Though thy mouth calls to me; “thou art afraid to approach.”
If I fall, I will establish my name.
Gilgamesh, the corpse(?) of Ḫumbaba, the terrible one,
has snatched (?) from the time that
My offspring was born in ......
The lion restrained (?) thee, all of which thou knowest.
.............. thee and
................ open (?)
........ like a shepherd(?) .....
[When thou callest to me], thou afflictest my heart.
I am determined
[to enter] the cedar forest.
I will, indeed, establish my name.
[The work(?)], my friend, to the artisans I will entrust.
[Weapons(?)] let them mould before us.”
[The work(?)] to the artisans they entrusted.
A dwelling(?) they assigned to the workmen.
Hatchets the masters moulded:
Axes of 3 talents each they moulded.
Lances the masters moulded;
Blades(?) of 2 talents each,
A spear of 30 mina each attached to them.
The hilt of the lances of 30 mina in gold
Gilgamesh and [Enki]du were equipped with 10 talents each
.......... in Uruk seven its ....
....... the people heard and ....
[proclaimed(?)] in the street of Uruk of the plazas.
..... Gilgamesh [brought him out(?)]
[In the street (?)] of Uruk of the plazas
[Enkidu(?)] sat before him
..... [thus] he spoke:
“........ [of Uruk] of the plazas
............ [before him]
Gilgamesh of whom they speak, let me see!
whose name fills the lands.
I will lure him to the cedar forest,
Like a strong offspring of Uruk.
I will let the land hear (that)
I am determined to lure (him) in the cedar (forest).
A name I will establish.”
The elders of Uruk of the plazas
brought word to Gilgamesh:
“Thou art young, O Gish, and thy heart carries thee away.
Thou dost not know what thou proposest to do.
We hear that Humbaba is enraged.
Who has ever opposed his weapon?
To one [double hour] in the heart of the forest,
Who has ever penetrated into it?
Ḫumbaba, whose roar is a deluge,
whose mouth is fire, whose breath is death.
Why dost thou desire to do this?
To advance towards the dwelling (?) of Ḫumbaba?”
Gilgamesh heard the report of his counsellors.
He saw and cried out to [his] friend:
“Now, my friend, thus [I speak].
I fear him, but [I will go to the cedar forest(?)];
I will go [with thee to the cedar forest].

(About five lines missing.)

May ................... thee
Thy god may (?) ........ thee;
On the road may he guide [thee in safety(?)].
At the rampart of [Uruk of the plazas],
Gilgamesh kneeled down [before Shamash(?)],
A word then he spoke [to him]:
“I will go, O Shamash, [thy] hands [I seize hold of].
When I shall have saved [my life],
Bring me back to the rampart [in Uruk].
Grant protection [to me ?]!”
Gilgamesh cried, "[my friend] ......
His oracle ..................
When (?)

(About two lines missing.)

“[I(?)] Gilgamesh, the strong one (?) of the land.
...... A road which I have never [trodden];
........ food ...... do not (?) know.
[When] I shall have succeeded,
[I will praise] thee in the joy of my heart,
[I will extol (?)] the superiority of thy power,
[I will seat thee] on thrones.”
.................. his vessel(?)
The masters [brought the weapons (?)];
[bow] and quiver
They placed in hand.
[He took] the hatchet.
................. his quiver.
..... [to] the god(?) a second time
[With his lance(?)] in his girdle,
......... they took the road.
[Again] they approached Gilgamesh!
“How long] till thou returnest to Uruk?”
[Again the elders] approached him.
[For] the road they counselled Gilgamesh:
“Do [not] rely, O Gilgamesh, on thy strength!
Provide food and save thyself!
Let Enkidu go before thee.
He is acquainted with the way, he has trodden the road
[to] the entrance of the forest.
of Ḫumbaba all of them his ......
[He who goes] in advance will save the companion.
Provide for his [road] and [save thyself]!
(May) Shamash [carry out] thy endeavor!
May he make thy eyes see the prophecy of thy mouth.
May he track out (for thee) the closed path!
May he level the road for thy treading!
May he level the mountain for thy foot!
During thy night the word that wilt rejoice
may Lugal-banda convey, and stand by thee
in thy endeavor!
Like a youth may he establish thy endeavor!
In the river of Ḫumbaba as thou plannest,
wash thy feet!
Round about thee dig a well!
May there be pure water constantly for thy libation
Goblets of water pour out to Shamash!
[May] Lugal-banda take note of it!”
[Enkidu] opened his mouth and spoke to Gilgamesh:
“[Since thou art resolved] to take the road.
Thy heart [be not afraid,] trust to me!
[Confide] to my hand his dwelling(?)!”
[on the road to] Ḫumbaba they proceeded.
....... command their return

(Three lines missing.)

............... were filled.
.......... they will go with me.
.................. joyfully.
[Upon hearing] this word of his,
Alone, the road(?) [he levelled].
“Go, O Gish [I will go before thee(?)].
May thy god(?) go .........
May he show [thee the road !] .....
Gish and [Enkidu]
Knowingly ....................
Between [them] ................

[End supplement]


Col. I. The heroes are in the sacred forest, surrounding the stronghold of Humbaba. They had apparently forced open its gate:

There they stood, lofty arose the forest, and
(astonished) they gazed at the height of the cedars
and at the entrance of the cedar wood,
where Humbaba was wont to walk with lofty steps.
Ways were laid out and paths well kept.
They saw the cedar hill, the dwelling of gods, the sanctuary
of Ernini. In front of the hill (mountain) a cedar stood of great
splendour, fine and good was its shade, filling with gladness (the heart?).

The remainder of the column is broken off, but it probably gave a further description of the palace and its surroundings.

Page 27 contains fragments of an address by Gilgamesh to Enkidu in which again is mentioned

The corpse to be devoured by the vultures.

In Cols. II and III (pp. 25 and 28, and perhaps also pp. 74 and 86) the heroes recount their former glorious deeds, a favourable indication for the success of their imminent battle with Humbaba. Of the other columns only a fragment of the closing lines of Col. V is preserved (p. 26), where, in the last line, the "head of Humbaba" is mentioned, a fact which proves that the preceding lines contained an account of the fight and slaying of Humbaba. Immediately upon this line follow, according to the custom of Babylonian scribes, two lines, one giving the first line of the next (VI) tablet, and the other stating that it was the V tablet of the whole series, the words of the first line of Tablet I being used as "catchword" for the whole epic. Both served as a guide for the reader of the whole series.


narrates the celebration of the victory of Gilgamesh, and his repulse of Ishtar's love advances (Haupt, pp. 42-50).

He cleansed his weapons, he polished his arms.
He took off the armour that was upon him. He put away
his soiled garments and put on clean raiment;
clothed himself with his ornaments, put on his diadem (?).
Gilgamesh placed upon his head the crown and put on his diadem (?).
To win the favour and love of Gilgamesh, Ishtar, the lofty goddess desired (and said unto him):
"Come, Gilgamesh, be thou my spouse,
Give, O give unto me thy manly strength.
Be thou my husband, let me be thy wife, and I will set thee in a chariot (embossed) with precious stones and gold,
with wheels made of gold, and shafts of sapphires (?).
Large kudanu-lions thou shalt harness to it.
Under sweet-smelling cedars thou shalt enter into our house.
And] when thou enterest into our house
Thou shalt sit upon?] a lofty throne, and people shall kiss thy feet;
kings and lords and rulers shall bow down before thee.
Whatever mountain and country produces, they shall bring to thee as tribute.
* * *] thy sheep shall bear twin-ewes.
* * *] mules they shall bring as tribute.
Thy [majesty?] shall sit upon a chariot that is splendid,
drawn?] by a span that has no equal.
But Gilgamesh opened his mouth and spoke unto her; said unto the lofty goddess Ishtar:

The beginning lines of his speech are almost lost, only a few fragments being preserved. Gilgamesh refused the proffered love of Ishtar, reminding her that all her former lovers have come to grief through her, and said that he was not willing to share their fate.

"Where is thy husband Tammuz, who was to be forever?
What, indeed, has become of the allallu-bird * * *?
Well, I will tell thee plainly the dire result of thy coquetries.
To Tammuz, the husband of thy youth,
thou didst cause weeping and didst bring grief upon him every year.
The allallu-bird, so bright of colours, thou didst love;
But its wing thou didst break and crush,
so that now it sits in the woods crying: 'O my wing!'
Thou didst also love a lion, powerful in his strength,
seven and seven times didst thou dig a snaring pit for him.
Thou didst also love a horse, pre-eminent in battle,
but with bridle (?), spur, and whip thou didst force it on,
didst force it to run seven double-leagues at a stretch.
And when it was tired and wanted to drink, thou still didst force it on,
thereby causing weeping and grief to its mother Si-li-li.
Thou didst also love a shepherd of the flock * * *
who continually poured out incense before thee,
and, for thy pleasure, slaughtered lambs day by day.
Thou didst smite him, and turn him into a tiger,
so that his own sheep-boys drove him away,
and his own dogs tore him to pieces.
Thou didst also love a farmer, a gardener of thy father,
who continually brought unto thee dainties,
and daily adorned thy table for thee.
Thine eye thou didst cast on him and turn his mind, saying:
'Oh, my farmer boy, let us enjoy thy manly strength.
Let thy hand come forth and take away my virginity' (?).
But the farmer spoke unto thee and said:
'Me!—what is this that thou askest of me?
Mother, thou hast not baked, and I will not eat;
The food that I shall eat is bad and bitter,
and it is covered with cold and numbness.'
And when thou didst hear such words,
thou didst smite him and change him into a cripple(?)
And didst thus compel him to lie on a couch,
so that he could no more rise up from his bed.
And now thou wouldst also love me; but like unto them I would fare."
When Ishtar heard such words
she became enraged, and went up into heaven,
and came unto Anu [her father], and
To Antum (her mother) she went, and thus spoke (unto them):
"My father, Gilgamesh has insulted me;
Gilgamesh has upbraided me with my evil deeds,
my deeds of evil and of violence."
And Anu opened his mouth and spoke—
said unto her, the mighty goddess Ishtar:
"Thou shalt not remain so disconsolate,
even though Gilgamesh has upbraided thee with thy evil deeds,
thy deeds of evil and of violence."
And Ishtar opened her mouth and said,
she spoke unto Anu, her father:
"My father, create [for me] a heaven-bull."

The following seventy lines have come down in a very mutilated condition; and the meaning can only be surmised. As Dr. Jeremias has ingeniously pointed out, the lines remind us of the threat of Gilgamesh, spoken before the ocean palace (Tablet X, Col. I), and especially of the analogous conditions found in the account of the "Descent of Ishtar into the Netherworld," where the courageous goddess in her wrath forces entrance to the Netherworld. As she threatened there, so now here, in heaven, she would smash everything, if her will and wish is not granted. Anu, her father, though hesitating, is forced to accede and creates the heaven-bull. And now Ishtar breaks out in these words: "I will have revenge." The account of the fight of the two heroes, Gilgamesh and Enkidu, against the heaven-bull is almost completely lost. Lines 122 and 123 appear to say:

They?] hunted him and Enkidu [attacked?] the heaven-bull,
* * * and grasped him by his heavy tail.

On an old Babylonian cylinder representing the fight we see the bull standing on its hind feet, Enkidu holding the monster by its head and tail, while Gilgamesh plunges the dagger into its heart. We can also gather from the remains of the lines that three hundred heroes took part in the fight. After the heroes had killed the bull and had thus satisfied their hearts, they brought unto Shamash, the sun god, a thank offering. The narrative then continues:

Then Ishtar went up to the wall of Uruk, the strong-walled;
she uttered a piercing cry and broke out into a curse, (saying):
"Woe to Gilgamesh, who thus has grieved me,
and has killed the heaven-bull."
But Enkidu, hearing these words of Ishtar,
tore out the right side of the heaven-bull,
and threw it into her face, (saying):
"And thus I will, indeed, defeat thee;
and I will do unto thee even as I have done to him;
I will hang its heart(?) upon thy side, forsooth."
Then Ishtar gathered her followers, that ruin men,
the hierodules and the sacred prostitutes.
Over the right side of the heaven-bull she wept and lamented.
But Gilgamesh assembled the people, and all his workmen.
The workmen admired the size of its horns.
Thirty minas of precious stones was their value;
half of an inch (?) in size was their thickness (?).
Six measures of oil they both could hold.
For the anointing of his god Lugal-tur-da8 he dedicated it.
He brought the horns and hung them up in the shrine of his lordship.
Then they washed their hands in the river Euphrates,
took the road, and set out (for the city),
and rode through the streets of the city of Uruk.
The people of Uruk assembled and looked with astonishment [at the heroes?].
Gilgamesh then spoke to the servants (?) of [his palace?]
and cried out unto them, (saying):
"Who is glorious among the heroes?
Who shines among the men?"
"Gilgamesh?] is glorious among the heroes,
Gilgamesh?] shines among the men!"

[Lines 204 to 206 are lost.]

and Gilgamesh held a joyful feast in his palace.
Then the heroes slept, stretched out upon their couches.
And Enkidu slept, and saw a vision in his sleep.
He arose (in the morning) and "solved" the dream,
and spoke unto Gilgamesh thus:
"My friend, wherefor have the great gods thus taken counsel?"

The last line of the sixth tablet represents, no doubt, the beginning of the next (the seventh) tablet. This line is followed as usual by the colophon, thus:

The sixth tablet of: "He who has seen the history of Gilgamesh."


Only a few fragments have been preserved, and very scanty information can be gathered from them. Tablet VII must have begun with Enkidu's account of his dream on the morning after the victory-jubilee in Uruk, and closed with the death of that hero, brought about by the goddess Ishtar. Pages 53 and 54 (cf. 55) of Professor Haupt's edition are said, by Dr. Jeremias, to belong to Tablet VIII, because the preceding column (a Column VI), being the obverse of the same tablet, speaks of the sickness and death of Enkidu (see Tablet IX). In Col. I, Enkidu calls on his friend to perform some heroic deed, worthy of his renown. They are halting in front of a forest gate, which Enkidu thus addresses:

There is none other tree like unto thee;
Six gar [1 gar = 12 or 14 cubits] is thy height and two gar thy thickness.

Enkidu also says of it, "I know thee." And in Col. VI he moans:

"In good health I went forth, my friend. * * *
But the dream which I dreamed has been fulfilled."
And there lay Enkidu for twelve days [on the first and the second day?]
on which Enkidu on his couch [lay sick?];
On the third and the fourth * * *;
On the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, etc., day
on which Enkidu [lay sick on his couch?]
The eleventh, the twelfth day * * *
On which Enkidu lay on his couch * * *
Then he called to Gilgamesh.

The few traces of the following lines still show that the hero received his wound in a fight which in fearful premonition "he had feared." The lament for the dead in Tablet XII shows that it must have been a very severe and unusual fight. Of his end, narrated, no doubt, on Tablet IX, it is said repeatedly in Tablet XII: "Earth has snatched him away."


begins with the lament of Gilgamesh for the death of his friend, and with his resolve to go to his ancestor Utnapishtim, that he may learn the mystery of the latter's apotheosis, and, at the same time, secure recovery from a loathsome disease, with which Ishtar has smitten him.

Gilgamesh wept bitterly over the loss of his friend
Enkidu, and he lay stretched out upon the ground, (saying):
"I will not die like Enkidu,
But weeping has entered into my heart;
Fear of death has befallen me, and
I lie here stretched out upon the ground.
To (test) the strength of Utnapishtim, the son of Kidin- Marduk,
I will set out, and I will go at once."
"At the mountain ravine I arrived by night-time,
* * * Lions I saw, and I was afraid;
* * * but I lifted my head to god Sin and I prayed.
To the [great?] majesty of the god came my cry,
[and he hearkened] and saved me, even me."
And in the night he saw?] a vision and a dream,
Lions * * *] were enjoying themselves."
And he lifted the axe in his hand,
and drew out the sword from his belt.
Like a javelin he threw himself between them;
he wounded, killed, and scattered [them?]

[The rest of the column is lost.]

Col. II narrates the meeting of Gilgamesh with the scorpion-men, at the foot

of a mountain whose name is Mashu.
As he came to the mountain of Mashu,
whose entrance is guarded daily by monsters,
whose back extends to the dam of heaven,
and whose breast reaches down to Aralu,
Scorpion-men guard its gate;
Dreadful terror they spread, and it is death to behold them.
Their splendour is fearful, overthrowing the mountains;
From sunrise to sunset they guard the sun.
Gilgamesh beheld them, and with fear
and terror his face grew dark.
His mind became confused at the wildness of their aspect.
But one scorpion-man said to his wife:
"He that there cometh to us, flesh of the gods is his body."
And the wife answered the scorpion-man:
"Two (thirds) he resembles a god, and one third only a man."
And the scorpion-man replied and said unto her:
["One] of the gods has given the order;
[and] he has travelled over far-distant roads,
until he should come unto me.
The mountains] which he has crossed are steep."

[The remainder is broken away.]

Col. III, as far as the fragments permit us to see, narrates that Gilgamesh, seeing that the monster regarded him with friendly eyes, recovered from his fright and told the scorpion-man of his intention to go “to Utnapishtim, his ancestor, who had been removed into the assembly of the gods and [had thus power over] life and death." The scorpion-man replied by describing to Gilgamesh the difficulties and dangers connected with such a march through the mountain of Mashu. Nobody has yet been able to do so, twelve miles of heavy darkness in all directions having to be penetrated. But the hero was not discouraged, and the scorpion-man acceded to his urgent request and opened to him the gate of the mountain; and now begins the wearisome march:

One mile he marches, thick is the darkness, not does it grow light.
Two miles he marches, thick is the darkness, not does it grow light.

Col. V (p. 65) continues the description of the twelve-mile walk in the same diffuse epic style; then the hero leaves the mountain and—on the shore of the sea—beholds a beautiful and wonderful tree:

And as he saw it, he ran toward it.
Diamonds (?) it bore as fruit,
Branches were hanging (down?), beautiful to behold.
Crystal (antimony?) the branches bore;
with fruit it was laden, dazzling the eye (of the hero).
Other precious trees are also there.

In Col. VI Gilgamesh must have reached the seacoast, for


commences, as shown in the colophon to Tablet IX:

The (divine) girl Siduri, sitting upon the throne of the sea,

probably a poetic expression for the ocean-palace, in which she resides, as we are told later. In Col. II, Gilgamesh finds another obstacle in his way, as he arrived "clothed with a skin." Again, he began to lament and was angered at the " distant roads " that he had yet to travel.

Sirudi sees him from afar off,
and she speaks to herself
and [takes counsel] with herself:
"Because this * * *

How shall he succeed (?) in [his endeavour?]
And as Sirudi sees him approach she closes [her ocean-

Its gate she closes and closes * * *
But Gilgamesh listens to * * *
Lifts up his finger (?) and * * *
Then Gilgamesh spoke unto Sirudi and said:
"Sirudi, what doest thou gaze [at me?].
Why doest thou bolt the gate against me?];
For I will break [thy gate"

The lower part of the plate is destroyed, and we can only conjecture that Sirudi described to the hero the impossibility of continuing his journey, which would lead him across an impassable sea. In Col. II the hero again tells the reason for his journey, and laments the loss of his beloved friend, Enkidu, who has now returned to dust, and to share whose lot seems unbearable to him.

And Gilgamesh said unto her, the Sirudi:
Tell me, O Sirudi, which is the way to Utnapishtim?
What is its direction, O Sirudi, tell me its direction.
If it be possible, I will cross the sea;
But if it is impossible, I will run there across the field."
And Sirudi answered unto Gilgamesh, and said:
"Gilgamesh, there has never been a crossing (here),
and no one since eternal days has ever crossed the sea.
Shamash, the hero, crosses it; but besides Shamash who
can cross it? Difficult is the crossing, and extremely dangerous the way,
and closed are the Waters of Death,which bolt its entrance.
How, then, Gilgamesh, wilt thou cross the sea?
And if thou should'st reach the Waters of Death, what wouldst thou do?
But Gilgamesh, there is Urshinabi, the sailor of Utnapishtim
at the side of those with stones'; in the forest he fells a cedar.
Him may thy countenance behold.
If possible, cross over with him; but if impossible, go back."
When Gilgamesh heard this,
he lifted up the axe at his arm,
drew the sword from his belt, slipped in and descended to [***];
and fell like a javelin between them.

The hero stands at the entrance to the Waters of Death, which are supposed to surround the ocean. The "Isle of the Blessed" is thought to be beyond these Waters of Death, just as in the case of the Netherworld. In Col. III Gilgamesh tells Urshinabi of his grief, using undoubtedly the same words as before, and closes with the request to ferry him over.

Urshinabi said unto Gilgamesh:

"Thy hand, O Gilgamesh, has prevented [the crossing].
Thou hast smashed 'those with stones' * * *
'Those with stones ' are now smashed and the * * * is no more.
Take, Gilgamesh, the axe at thy side,
go into the wood and make one hundred and twenty oars [punting-poles] five gar long."

He is also to make other preparations for his journey.

And Gilgamesh on hearing this (i. e., Urshinabi's instructions),
took the axe at his side, and [drew the sword from his belt].
He went into the woods and felled trees for one hundred and twenty oars five gar in length,
smeared them over with pitch and brought them [to Urshinabi].
Then Gilgamesh and Urshinabi embarked;
the ship tossed to and fro while they were on their way.
A journey of forty and five days they accomplished within three days,
and thus Urshinabi arrived at the Waters of Death.

And now they begin to face the most serious dangers. Col. IV relates that the ferryman advises the hero not to give in, as long as the journey upon the Waters of Death lasts. Many a day they spent on their journey, and day after day Gilgamesh stuck to the oar;

and then Gilgamesh loosened his belt (i. e., rested from his exertions),
for he was weary.
And Utnapishtim looking at him from the distance
Began thinking within himself, and
With himself he thus meditated:
"Why are ['those with stones'] of the ship smashed?
And one, who has not my * * * rides in [the ship].
He that comes there [is he?] not a man, and has he not
the 'right side' of a man?
I look: (Is that) * * * not [a human being?]
I look: (Is that) * * * not [a man?]
I look: (Is that) * * * [not a god?]
He resembles me in every respect."

At the beginning of Col. V, Gilgamesh drew nigh unto the shore safely and, while still sitting in the ship, he poured out his tale of woe before his ancestor; he told him of the adventures which he and his friend had encountered, among which was one with a " panther of the field "; then follows an account of the killing of the heaven-bull; the slaying of Humbaba, the despot, who had lived in a cedar forest; other adventures with tigers; his friend's sickness and sad death; and "now I weep because of him"; then he tells how he had wandered across all the countries, passed over steep mountains, and crossed dreadful seas, but all in vain:

"The friend whom I loved has been turned to clay; Enkidu, my friend.
And I will not, like unto him, lie down; not will I sink to where my friend is now."
And Gilgamesh said unto Utnapishtim:
"Here I have come, and Utnapishtim, whom people call the 'distant,' I will see.
To him I will turn (for help?); I have travelled through all the lands,
I have crossed over the steep mountains, and I have traversed all the seas," etc.

Col. VI must have contained a lengthy reply of Utnapishtim, telling him that he could do nothing to help him to escape from death. He told him that death comes to all, that none could escape from it.

As long as houses are built, as long as tablets are sealed,
as long as brothers are at enmity,
as long as there exist strife and hatred in the land,
as long as the river carries the waters (to the sea?), etc.,
so long is there no likeness of death drawn (i. e., no man can tell when his own time might come).
When the alu-demon and the eziz-demon greetaman,
then the Anunnaki, the great gods [assemble]
and the goddess of fate, she who with them determines fate, will do so,
For they determine death and life.
But the days of death are unknown to mankind.

Then follows the colophon stating that this was the tenth tablet of the great epic.


contains the famous account of the deluge. The text of this tablet is published by Friedrich Delitzsch in his "Assyrische Lesestticke," third edition, pp. 101-109; andmore recently, by Professor Haupt in the second part of his "Das Babylonische Nimrodepos," pp. 133-150, this latter being a complete, critical text, giving all the variant readings and additional remarks beneath the text.1 The original publication on plates 50 and 51 in the fourth volume of the "Inscriptions of Western Asia" has been re-edited, with many improvements, in the second edition of this volume, by Theophilus G. Pinches, in 1891 (plates 43 and 44).—Translations of the deluge story (lines 1-104 of Haupt's edition), or of parts thereof, have been made, since the days of George Smith, by many Assyriologists—e. g., Fox Talbot, Jules Oppert, F. Lenormant. Special attention is called here to the following translations: I. Peter Jensen, in his " Cosmology of the Babylonians" (pp. 365446), and in "Assyrisch-babylonische Mythen und Epen," pp. 228-257; 2. Alfred Jeremias, in his " Izdubar-Nimrod" (pp. 32-40, translating the whole eleventh tablet); 3. H. Winckler, " Keilinschriftliches Textbuch zum Alten Testament " (pp. 70-87); 4. Heinrich Zimmern in Gnnkel's book on " Creation and Chaos" (pp. 423-428); 5. L. W. King, "First Steps in Assyrian" (London, 1898, pp. 161-181, text, transliteration, and translation), and the same author's "Babylonian Religion and Mythology" (London, 1899, chap, iv, pp. 121-146); 6. C. J. Ball, "Light from the East, or the Witness of the Monuments" (London, 1899, pp. 34 foll.); 7. According to Professor Jastrow's statement on p. 730 of his "Religion of Babylonia and As Syria," the transliteration and translation of the deluge text, together with critical notes and commentary, by Professor Haupt in the forthcoming third edition of Schrader's "Die Keilinschriften und das Alte Testament," is to be by far the best ever published.—In general, see also the article "Deluge," by H. Zimmern and T. K. Cheyne in Cheyne and Black's "Encyclopaedia Biblica," London, 1899, vol. i, cols. 1055-1066.

Tablet XI continues the dialogue between Utnapishtim and Gilgamesh, begun in Cols. V and VI of the preceding tablet.

Gilgamesh said to him, to Utnapishtim, the distant:"I gazeupon thee (in amazement), O Utnapishtim!
Thy appearance has not changed, like unto me thou art also.
And thy nature itself has not changed, like unto me thou art also,
though thou hast departed this life. But my heart has still to struggle
against all that no longer (?) lies upon thee.
Tell me, How didst thou come to dwell (here?) and obtain eternal life among the gods?"

[From the shore Utnapishtim, the favourite of the gods, now relates the story of the deluge to the hero, who, sitting in his ship, is listening to him.]

Utnapishtim then said unto Gilgamesh:
"I will reveal unto thee, O Gilgamesh, the mysterious story,
and the mystery of the gods I will tell thee.
The city of Shurippak, a city which, as thou knowest,
is situated on the bank of the river Euphrates.
That city was corrupt, so that the gods within it
decided to bring about a deluge, even the great gods,
as many as?] there were: their father, Anu;
their counsellor, the warrior Bel;
their leader, Ninib;
their champion, the god En-nu-gi.
But Ea, the lord of unfathomable wisdom, argued with them.
Their plan he told to a reed-hut, (saying):
'Reed-hut, reed-hut, clay-structure, clay-structure!
Reed-hut, hear; clay-structure, pay attention!
Thou man of Shurippak, son of Ubara-Tutu,
Build a house, construct a ship;
Forsake thy possessions, take heed for thy life!
Abandon thy goods, save (thy) life,
and bring living seed of every kind into the ship.
As for the ship, which thou shalt build,
let its proportions be well measured:
Its breadth and its length shall bear proportion each to each,
and into the sea then launch it.'
I took heed, and said to Ea, my lord:
'I will do, my lord, as thou hast commanded;
I will observe and will fulfil the command.
But what shall I answer to (the inquiries of) the city,
the people, and the elders?'
Ea opened his mouth and spoke,
and he said unto me, his servant:
'Man, as an answer say thus unto them:
"I know that Bel hates me. No longer can I live in your city;
Nor on Bel's territory can I live securely any longer; I will go down to the 'deep,' I will live with Ea, my lord.
Upon you he will (for a time?) pour down rich blessing.
He will grant you] fowl [in plenty] and fish in abundance,
Herds of cattle and an abundant] harvest.
Shamash has appointed a time when the rulers of darkness
at eventide will pour down upon you] a destructive rain."'

The lower part of Col. I is unfortunately much mutilated. Line 48 seems to read:

As soon as early dawn appeared.

Then continues line 55:

The brightness [of day?] I feared;
All that was necessary I collected together.
On the fifth day I drew its design;
In its middle part its sides were ten gar high;
Ten gar also was the extent of its deck;
I added a front-roof to it and closed it in.
I built it in six stories,
thus making seven floors in all;
The interior of each I divided again into nine partitions.
Beaks for water within I cut out.
I selected a pole and added all that was necessary.
Three (variant, five) shar of pitch I smeared on its outside;
three shar of asphalt I used for the inside (so as to make
it water-tight).
Three shar of oil the men carried, carrying it in vessels.
One shar of oil I kept out and used it for sacrifices,
while the other two shar the boatman stowed away.
For the temple of the gods (?) I slaughtered oxen;
I killed lambs (?) day by day.
Jugs of cider (?), of oil, and of sweet wine,
Large bowls (filled therewith?), like river water (i. e., freely)
I poured out as libations.
I made a feast (to the gods) like that of the New-Year's Day.
To god Shamash my hands brought oil.
[* * *] the ship was completed.
[* * *] heavy was the work, and
I added tackling above and below, [and after all was finished] ,
The ship sank into water] two thirds of its height.
With all that I possessed I filled it;
with all the silver I had I filled it;
with all the gold I had I filled it;
with living creatures of every kind I filled it.
Then I embarked also all my family and my relatives,
cattle of the field, beasts of the field, and the uprighteous people—all them I embarked.
A time had Shamash appointed, (namely):
'When the rulers of darkness send at eventide a destructive rain,
then enter into the ship and shut its door.'
This very sign came to pass, and
The rulers of darkness sent a destructive rain at eventide.
I saw the approach of the storm,
and I was afraid to witness the storm;
I entered the ship and shut the door.
I intrusted the guidance of the ship to Purur-bel, the boatman,
the great house, and the contents thereof.
As soon as early dawn appeared,
there rose up from the horizon a black cloud,
within which the weather god (Adad) thundered,
and Nabu and the king of the gods (Marduk) went before.
The destroyers passed across mountain and dale (literally, country).
Dibbara, the great, tore loose the anchor-cable (?).
There went Ninib and he caused the banks to overflow;
the Anunnaki lifted on high (their) torches,
and with the brightness thereof they illuminated the universe.
The storm brought on by Adad swept even up to the heavens
and all light was turned into darkness.
[ ] overflooded the land like * * *
It blew with violence and in one day (?) it rose above the mountains (??).
Like an onslaught in battle it rushed in on the people.
Not could brother look after brother.
Not were recognised the people from heaven.
The gods even were afraid of the storm;
they retreated and took refuge in the heaven of Anu.
There the gods crouched down like dogs, on the inclosure of heaven they sat cowering.
Then Ishtar cried out like a woman in travail
and the lady of the gods lamented with a loud voice, (saying):
'The world of old has been turned back into clay,
because I assented to this evil in the assembly of the gods.
Alas! that when I assented to this evil in the council of the gods,
I was for the destruction of my own people.
What I have created, where is it?
Like the spawn of fish it fills the sea.'
The gods wailed with her over the Anunnaki.
The gods were bowed down, and sat there weeping.
Their lips were pressed together (in fear and in terror).
Six days and nights
The wind blew, and storm and tempest overwhelmed the country.
When the seventh day drew nigh the tempest, the storm, the battle
which they had waged like a great host began to moderate.
The sea quieted down; hurricane and storm ceased.
I looked out upon the sea and raised loud my voice,
But all mankind had turned back into clay.
Like the surrounding field had become the bed of the rivers.
I opened the air-hole and light fell upon my cheek.
Dumfounded I sank backward, and sat weeping, while over my cheek flowed the tears.
I looked in every direction, and behold, all was sea.
Now, after twelve (days?) there rose (out of the water) a strip of land.
To Mount Nisir the ship drifted.
On Mount Nisir the boat stuck fast and it did not slip away.
The first day, the second day, Mount Nisir held the ship fast, and did not let it slip away. The third day, the fourth day, Mount Nisir held the ship fast, and did not let it slip away.
The fifth day, the sixth day, Mount Nisir held the ship,fast, and did not let it slip away.
When the seventh day drew nigh
I sent out a dove, and let her go.
The dove flew hither and thither,
but as there was no resting-place for her, she returned.
Then I sent out a swallow, and let her go.
The swallow flew hither and thither,
but as there was no resting-place for her she also returned.
Then I sent out a raven, and let her go.
The raven flew away and saw the abatement of the waters.
She settled down to feed, went away, and returned no more.
Then I let everything go out unto the four winds, and I offered a sacrifice.
I poured out a libation upon the peak of the mountain.
I placed the censers seven and seven,
and poured into them calamus, cedar-wood, and sweet incense.
The gods smelt the savour;
yea, the gods smelt the sweet savour;
the gods gathered like flies around the sacrificer.
But when now the lady of the gods (Ishtar) drew nigh,
she lifted up the precious ornaments (?)which Anu had made according to her wish (and said):
'Ye gods here! by my necklace, not will I forget.
These days will I remember, never will I forget (them).
Let the gods come to the offering;
But Bel shall not come to the offering,
Since rashly he caused the flood-storm,
and handed over my people unto destruction.'
Now, when Bel drew nigh,
and saw the ship, the god was wroth,
and anger against the gods, the Igigi, filled his heart, (and he said):
'Who then has escaped here (with his life)?
No man was to survive the universal destruction.'
Then Ninib opened his mouth and spoke,
saying unto Bel, the warrior:
'Who but Ea could have planned this!
For does not Ea know all arts?'
Then Ea opened his mouth and spoke,
saying unto Bel, the warrior:
'Ay, thou wise one among the gods, thou warrior,
how rash of thee to bring about a flood-storm!
On the sinner visit his sin,and on the wicked his wickedness;
but be merciful, forbear, let not all be destroyed! Be considerate, let not everything be [confounded]!
Instead of sending a flood-storm,
let lions come and diminish mankind;
Instead of sending a flood-storm,
let tigers come and diminish mankind;
Instead of sending a flood-storm,
let famine come and smite the land;
Instead of sending a flood-storm,
let pestilence come and kill off the people.
I did not reveal the mystery of the great gods.
(Some one?) caused Atrachasis to see (it) in a dream, and so he (Utnapishtim) heard the mystery of the gods."
Thereupon Bel arrived at a decision.
Bel went up into the ship, took me by the hand and led me out.
He led out also my wife and made her kneel beside me;
He turned us face to face, and standing between us, blessed us, (saying)
'Ere this Utnapishtim was only human;
But now Utnapishtim and his wife shall be lofty like unto the gods;
Let Utnapishtim live far away (from men) at the mouth of the (two?) rivers.'
Then they took me and let us dwell far away at the mouth of the rivers."

After Utnapishtim had finished this account, he turned to Gilgamesh and said:

"Now as for thee, which one of the gods shall give thee strength,
that the life thou desirest thou shalt obtain?
Now sleep!" And for six days and seven nights
Gilgamesh resembled one lying lame.
Sleep came over him like a storm wind.
Then Utnapishtim said to his wife:
"Behold, here is the hero whose desire is life (= recovery)!
Sleep came upon him like a storm wind."
And the wife replied to Utnapishtim, the distant:
"Transform him; let the man eat of the charm-root.
Let him, restored in health, return on the road on which he came.
Let him pass out through the great door unto his own country."
And Utnapishtim said to his wife:
"The suffering (and torture) of the man pain thee.
Well, then, cook now for him the food and place it at his head."
And while Gilgamesh slept on board of his ship,
she cooked the food to place it at his head.
And while he slept on board of his ship,
firstly, his food was prepared (?);
secondly, it was peeled;
thirdly, it was moistened;
fourthly, his food (?) was cleaned;
fifthly, shiba (i. e., old age) was added;
sixthly, it was cooked;
seventhly, of a sudden the man was transformed, having eaten of the magic food.
Then spoke Gilgamesh, and said unto Utnapishtim, the distant:
"I had sunk down, and sleep had befallen me.
Of a sudden thou didst charm me, and thus help me" (?).
And Utnapishtim said unto Gilgamesh:
"* * * Gilgamesh partake of (?) thy food.
* * * shall be told unto thee:
firstly, thy food was prepared (?);
secondly, it was peeled;
thirdly, it was moistened;
fourthly, thy food (?) was cleaned;
fifthly, shipa was added;
sixthly, it was cooked;
seventhly, I transformed thee suddenly,
and thou didst eat of the magic food."
And Gilgamesh said unto Utnapishtim, the distant:
"What?] shall I do, Utnapishtim? whither shall I go?
The demon (of the dead?) has seized my [friend?].
Upon my couch death now sits.
And where my * * * there is death."
And Utnapishtim said to Urshabani, the ferryman:
"Urshabani, thou * * * at thy side (?), let the boat carry thee;
whosoever attempts to board [the ship?] exclude him from it.
The man, before whom thou goest,
has his body covered with sores,
and the eruption of his skin has altered the beauty of his body.
Take him, Urshabani, and bring him to the place of purification,
where he can wash his sores in water that they may become white as snow;
Let him cast off his (sore?) skin and the sea will carry it away;
His body shall then appear well (and healthy);
Let the turban also be replaced on his head,
and the garment that covers his nakedness.
Until he returns to his city,
until he arrives at his road.
The garment shall not shed [hair?], it shall remain entirely new."
And Urshabani took him and brought him to the place of purification,
where he washed his sores in water so that they became white as snow;
he cast off his (sore?) skin and the sea carried it away;
his body appeared well (and healthy) again;
He replaced also the turban on his head;
and the garment that covered his nakedness;
until he should return to his city;
until he should arrive at his road;
[the garment did not shed hair], it remained entirely new.
Then Gilgamesh and Urshabani embarked again,
and during their journey the ship tossed to and fro.

[After Gilgamesh and Urshabani had returned from the place of purification:]

The wife of Utnapishtim spoke unto her husband, the distant, (saying):
"Gilgamesh did go away, laboured, and has pulled (the oar?).
What now wilt thou do (or give), that he may return to his country?"
And Gilgamesh lifted up the pole, and drew the boat nearer to the shore.
Then Utnapishtim spoke unto Gilgamesh (and said):
"Gilgamesh, thou didst go away, didst labour and pull (the oar?).
What now shall I give thee, that thou mayest return to thy country?
I will reveal unto thee, Gilgamesh, a mystery,
and [the decision of the gods] I will announce unto thee.
There is a plant resembling buckthorn, its thorn (?) stings like that of a bramble.
When thy hands can reach that plant * * *
[The following lines 286-293 are greatly mutilated]
When Gilgamesh had heard this he opened the * * *
bound heavy stones [to his feet],
which dragged him down to the sea [and thus he found the plant].
Then he grasped the (magic) plant.
He removed [from his feet] the heavy stones [and one fell down?],
and a second he threw down to the [first?].
And Gilgamesh said unto Urshabani, the ferryman:
"Urshabani, this plant is a plant of great renown (or transformation?);
and what man desires in his heart, he obtains.
I will take it to Uruk the strong-walled, I will nurse (plant?) it there and then cut it off.
Its name is (?): 'Even an old man will be rejuvenated!'
I will eat of this and return (again) to the vigour of my youth."

[And now they start out to return home to Uruk the strong-walled.]

Every twenty double-leagues they then took a meal:
and every thirty double-leagues they took a rest.
And Gilgamesh saw a well wherein was cool (and refreshing) water;
He stepped into it and poured out some water.
A (demon in the shape of a) serpent darted out; the plant slipped [away from his hands];
he came [out of the well?], and took the plant away,
and as he turned back, he uttered a curse (?).
And after this Gilgamesh sat down and wept.
Tears flowed down his cheeks,
and he said unto Urshabani, the ferryman:
"Why, Urshabani, did my hands tremble?
Why did the blood of my heart stand still?
Not on myself did I bestow any benefit.
On the ground-lion (?) this benefit has been bestowed.
After a journey of only twenty double-leagues the plant has been snatched away,
As I opened the well, and lowered the vessel (?).
I see the sign, that has become an omen to me. I am to return,
leaving the ship on the shore."
Then they continued to take a meal every twenty double-leagues,
and every thirty double-leagues they took a rest,
until they arrived at Uruk the strong-walled.
Gilgamesh then spoke to Urshabani, the ferryman, (and said):
"Urshabani, ascend and walk about on the wall of Uruk,
Inspect the corner-stone, and examine its brick-work,
whether its wall is not made of burned brick, and its foundation (overlaid with?) pitch.
'Sevenfold is thy name' (?).

[The closing lines can not be correctly translated.]

Then follows the first line of Tablet XII; and the usual colophon indicating that the tablet is the eleventh of the Gilgamesh epic, copied faithfully from the original, and the property of Ashurbanipal.


Only the second half of Col. I is preserved, and relates how Gilgamesh, after his return from this long journey, continued to lament over the loss of his friend Enkidu. Addressing him, though absent, he said:

"To a temple [thou goest no more?]
white garments [thou puttest on no more].
Like an ordinary mortal (?) thou art fallen.
With sweet-smelling bull's fat dost thou no more anoint thyself,
and people no more gather around thee on account of this sweet odour.
The bow no longer dost thou stretch upon the ground;
and those that were slain with the bow now are round about thee.
The staff no longer dost thou carry in thy hand;
The spirits of death have taken thee captive.
Sandals no longer dost thou tie to thy feet;
A (war) cry no longer dost thou shout here on earth;
Thy wife whom thou lovedst, no longer dost thou kiss;
Thy wife whom thou hatedst, no longer dost thou smite.
Thy son whom thou lovedst, no longer dost thou kiss;
Thy son whom thou hatedst, no longer dost thou smite.
The woes of the netherworld have overtaken thee; as well as
she that is dark, she that is dark, mother Nin-azu, who is dark,
whose white, shining body is not clothed with a garment,
whose breast like the bowl (lid?) of a case [is not * * *]." [Note: refers to Ereshkigal]

In Cols. II and III Gilgamesh goes alone into the temple of the god Ningul, and laments over the loss of his friend in similar words:

"His wife whom he loved, no longer does he kiss;
His wife whom he hated, no longer does he smite;
His son whom he loved, no longer does he kiss;
His son whom he hated, no longer does he smite.
The woes of earth have snatched him away, and
she that is dark, she that is dark, mother Nin-azu, who is dark,
whose white, shining body is not clothed with a garment,
whose breast like the bowl (lid?) of a box [is not * * *].
Enkidu has [gone down?] from earth into [darkness?]
pestilence has not snatched him away, consumption has not snatched him away;
earth has snatched him away.
The lurking demon of Nergal, the merciless, has not snatched him away,
earth has snatched him away.
The battlefield has not slain him; earth has snatched him away."
[While Gilgamesh spoke thus?] Ningul wept for his servant Enkidu.
Then Gilgamesh went alone to E-kur the Temple of Bel (Marduk?) (and prayed):
"Father Bel, the sting of a fly has cast me down upon the ground;
Insects have brought me low to the ground.
Enkidu [has sunk down] to the shades;
Pestilence has not snatched him away, etc. * * *
The lurking demon of Nergal, the merciless [has not snatched him away].
The battlefield has not slain him."
But father Bel could not help him.

[In his sorrow, Gilgamesh addresses himself then to the Moon-god, saying:]

"Father Sin, the sting of a fly has cast me down upon the ground;
Insects have brought me low to the ground.
Enkidu [has sunk down] to the shades;
Pestilence has not snatched him away, etc.
The lurking demon of Nergal, the merciless [has not snatched him away]."

[But Sin also could not do anything for Gilgamesh, nor could Ea, to whom he appealed with the same lament. But Ea besought Nergal, the god of the dead, the "hero and lord" (saying):]

"Break open the chamber of the grave [and open the ground],
that the spirit of Enkidu, like a wind,
may rise out of the ground."
When Nergal, the hero and lord, heard this prayer,
He broke open the chamber of the grave and opened the ground;
and caused the spirit of Enkidu to rise out of the ground, like a wind.

Col. IV begins with a dialogue between Gilgamesh and Enkidu; the former asking his friend to describe unto him the netherworld:

"Tell me, my friend, O tell me, my friend;
the appearance (?, looks) of the land, which thou hast seen, O tell me!"

But Enkidu replied:

"I can not tell thee, my friend, I can not tell thee.
If I would describe to thee the appearance of the land that I have seen,
[surely, Gilgamesh, thou wouldst?] sit down and weep."
[And Gilgamesh said unto him?]: "Then let me sit down and weep!
[Bitter and sad?] is all that formerly gladdened thy heart.
[All is there—i. e., in the netherworld?] like an old garment that the worm does eat.
What thou hast done [while in this life?], what formerly gladdened thy heart.
[All is gone?] is cloaked in dust.'

The rest of Col. IV and the whole of Col. V are lost. Col. VI closes the whole epic, with Enkidu's description of the joys awaiting the hero slain in battle and having received due burial; and bewailing the unhappy, miserable lot of the man to whom are denied the last burial rites; the important lesson for all readers of the poem being, "Take good care of your dead." He is properly cared for who--

rests on a soft couch, and drinks pure water; the hero slain in battle--
Thou and I have often seen such an one—
His father and mother support his head,
and his wife [kneels] at his side.
Yea! the spirit of such a man is at rest.
But the man whose corpse remains [unburied] upon the field--
Thou and I have often seen such an one—
His spirit does not find rest in the earth (i. e., Hades).
The man whose spirit has no one who cares for it--
Thou and I have often seen such an one—
consumes the dregs of the bowl, the broken remnants of food,
that are cast into the street.

Then follows the colophon of Tablet XII, and of the whole poem, which thus has come to an end.

According to Professor Haupt ("Contributions to Assyriology," vol. i, pp. 318, 319), plates 16-19 of his edition of the Nimrod-epic belong to Tablet XII; Dr. Jeremias, on the other hand, is inclined to believe that these fragments formed part of another recension of the same poem. The fact that there were several recensions of the account of the deluge goes far to strengthen the contention of Dr. Jeremias. The fragments, printed on plates 16-19, are portions of Cols. III and IV of (?) tablet. The mention of the hunter (see above, p. 327); of the Shamhat; the address, "my friend," show that Enkidu is the speaker. In Col. III he curses the Shamhat, who with the assistance of the crafty hunter had "brought a curse upon him." He hopes that "she will be imprisoned in the great prison," curses "her charms," "her sisters," and "her maidens." Col. IV (pp. 17 and 19 of Haupt's edition) states the reason why Enkidu curses the Shamhat (or perhaps Ishtar directly). Enkidu has gone down into the netherworld, and he tells his friend, who with the help of witchcraft has succeeded in bringing him up again, what he has seen there:

"* * * has brought me back
* * * like as the bird of darkness.
I have descended?] to the house of darkness, the dwelling of the goddess Irkalla;
to the house, whence he that enters goes out no more;
to the road, whose way turns not back;
to the house, whose inhabitants are deprived of light;
to the place where dust is their sustenance, their food clay.
They are clothed, like a bird, with feathered raiment (?).
Light they see not, they sit in darkness.
In] the house, my friend, which I have entered,
in that house] crowns are cast down on the ground,
and there live those who had worn crowns, who in days of old had ruled countries;
to whom Anu and Belit had given roasted meat to eat.
Now, cold meals are prepared, and water from leather bottles is poured out for them.
In the house, my friend, which I have entered,
there dwell also priests and ministers;
There dwell soothsayers and enchanters;
there dwell the temple-anointers of the great gods.
There dwells Etana, and there dwells Ner;
There dwells also the queen of the earth (i. e., of Hades), the goddess Ereshkigal (i. e., Allatu).
[There dwells?] the scribe of the earth, bowed down before her.
* * * and reads before her,
and Ereshkigal lifted up] her head and saw me."

William Muss Arnolt, "The Gilgamesh Narrative, Usually Called the Babylonian Nimrod Epic," in Assyrian and Babylonian Literature: Selected Translations, ed. Robert Francis Harper (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1901), 324-368.

Morris Jastrow, Jr. and Albert T. Clay, An Old Babylonian Version of the Gilgamesh Epic on the Basis of Recently Discovered Texts, Yale Oriental Series, Researches IV, no. 3 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1920).