is the king of Uruk, ruling 126 years, according to the Sumerian
king list. He was said to be contemporary with some of the earliest archaeologically-known
figures, placing his reign ca. 2500 BC. Gilgamesh,
and his son Urlugal, rebuilt the sanctuary of the goddess Ninlil, in Tummal, a
sacred quarter in her city of Nippur. His father was Lugalbanda and his mother was Ninsun, a goddess. Gilgamesh is credited with
having been a demigod of superhuman strength who built a great city wall to defend
his people from external threats and travelled to meet Utnapishtim, the sage who
had survived the Great Deluge.
Gilgamesh is credited with the building of the legendary walls of Uruk. An alternative
version has Gilgamesh telling Urshanabi, the ferryman, that the city’s walls
were built by the Seven Sages. In historical times, Sargon of Akkad claimed
to have destroyed these walls to prove his military power..
Fragments of an epic text
found in Me-Turan (modern Tell Haddad) relate that at the end of his life Gilgamesh
was buried under the river bed. The people of Uruk diverted the flow of the
Euphrates passing Uruk for the purpose of burying the dead king within the river
is generally accepted that Gilgamesh was a historical figure, since inscriptions
have been found which confirm the historical existence of other figures associated
with him: such as the kings Enmebaragesi and Aga of Kish. If Gilgamesh was a historical
king, he probably reigned in about the 26th century BC. Some of the earliest Sumerian
texts spell his name as Bilgames. Initial difficulties in reading cuneiform resulted
in Gilgamesh making his re-entrance into world culture in 1891 as “Izdubar”.
The Epic of Gilgamesh is
epic poetry from Mesopotamia and is among the earliest known works of literature.
Scholars believe that it originated as a series of Sumerian legends and poems
about the protagonist of the story, Gilgamesh, which were fashioned into a longer
Akkadian epic much later. The most complete version existing today is preserved
on 12 clay tablets from the library collection of 7th-century BC Assyrian king
Ashurbanipal. It was originally titled He who Saw the Deep (Sha naqba i-muru)
or Surpassing All Other Kings (Shu-tur eli sharri-).
story revolves around a relationship between Gilgamesh (probably a real ruler
in the late Early Dynastic II period ca. 27th century BC) and his close companion,
Enkidu. Enkidu is a wild man created by the gods as Gilgamesh’s equal to distract
him from oppressing the citizens of Uruk. Together they undertake dangerous quests
that incur the displeasure of the gods. Firstly, they journey to the Cedar Mountain
to defeat Humbaba, its monstrous guardian. Later they kill the Bull of Heaven
that the goddess Ishtar has sent to punish Gilgamesh for spurning her advances.
latter part of the epic focuses on Gilgamesh’s distressed reaction to Enkidu’s
death, which takes the form of a quest for immortality. Gilgamesh attempts to
learn the secret of eternal life by undertaking a long and perilous journey to
meet the immortal flood hero, Utnapishtim. Ultimately the poignant words addressed
to Gilgamesh in the midst of his quest foreshadow the end result: “The life
that you are seeking you will never find. When the gods created man they allotted
to him death, but life they retained in their own keeping.” Gilgamesh, however,
was celebrated by posterity for his building achievements, and for bringing back
long-lost cultic knowledge to Uruk as a result of his meeting with Utnapishtim.
The story is widely read in translation, and the protagonist, Gilgamesh, has become
an icon of popular culture.
Content of the standard
story starts with the introduction of Gilgamesh, king of Uruk. Gilgamesh, two-thirds
god and one-third man, oppresses the city’s citizens who cry out to the gods for
help. For the young women of Uruk this oppression takes the form of a droit de
seigneur or “lord’s right” to newly married brides on
their wedding night. For the young men it is conjectured that Gilgamesh exhausted
them through games, tests of strength, or perhaps forced labour on building projects.
The gods respond to the citizens’ plea for intervention by creating an equal to
Gilgamesh who will distract him from these objectionable activities. They create
a primitive man, Enkidu, who is covered in hair and lives in the wild with the
animals. He is spotted by a trapper, as he has been uprooting traps and thus ruining
the trapper’s livelihood. The trapper tells Gilgamesh of the man and seduces him
with a skilled harlot. His seduction by Shamhat, a temple prostitute, is the first
step in his civilization, and she proposes to take him back to Uruk after making
love. Gilgamesh, meanwhile, has been having dreams that relate to the imminent
arrival of a new companion.
brings Enkidu to the shepherds’ camp where he is introduced to a human diet and
becomes the camp’s night watchman. Learning from a passing stranger about Gilgamesh’s
treatment of new brides, Enkidu is incensed and travels to Uruk to intervene at
a wedding. When Gilgamesh attempts to visit the wedding chamber, Enkidu blocks
his way and they fight. After a fierce battle, Enkidu acknowledges Gilgamesh’s
superior strength and they become friends. Gilgamesh proposes that they journey
together to the Cedar Forest to slay the monstrous demi-god Humbaba, in order
to gain fame and renown. Despite warnings from both Enkidu and the council of
elders, Gilgamesh will not be deterred.
elders give Gilgamesh advice for his journey. Gilgamesh visits his mother, the
goddess Ninsun, who seeks the support and protection of the sun-god Shamash for
the two adventurers. Ninsun adopts Enkidu as her son, Gilgamesh leaves instructions
for governing Uruk in his absence, and they embark on their quest.
and Enkidu journey to the Cedar Forest. Every few days they make camp on a hill
or mountain to perform a dream ritual. Gilgamesh has five terrifying dreams that
involve falling mountains, thunderstorms, wild bulls, and a thunderbird that breathes
fire. Despite similarities between the dream figures and earlier descriptions
of Humbaba, Enkidu interprets all of the dreams as good omens, denying that any
of the frightening images represent the forest guardian. As they approach the
cedar mountain, they hear Humbaba bellowing and have to encourage each other not
to be afraid.
heroes enter the cedar forest and their fears return. Humbaba, the ogre-guardian
of the Cedar Forest, insults and threatens them. He accuses Enkidu of betrayal,
then vows to disembowel Gilgamesh and feed his flesh to the birds. Gilgamesh is
afraid, but with some encouraging words from Enkidu the battle commences. The
mountains quake with the tumult and the sky turns black. The god Shamash sends
his 13 winds to bind Humbaba and he is captured. The monster pleads for his life,
and Gilgamesh pities him. Enkidu, however, is enraged and asks Gilgamesh to kill
the beast. Humbaba curses them both and Gilgamesh dispatches him with a blow to
the neck. The two heroes cut down many cedars, including a gigantic tree that
Enkidu plans to fashion into a door for the temple of Enlil. They build a raft
and return home along the Euphrates with the giant tree and the head of Humbaba.
rejects the advances of the goddess Ishtar because of her mistreatment of previous
lovers like Dumuzi. Ishtar asks her father Anu to send Gugalanna the “Bull
of Heaven” to avenge her. When Anu rejects her complaints, Ishtar threatens
to raise the dead who will “outnumber the living” and “devour them”.
Anu becomes frightened and gives in. The bull of heaven (apparently the constellation
Taurus) is led to Uruk by Ishtar, and causes widespread devastation. It dries
up the reed beds and marshes, then dramatically lowers the level of the Euphrates
river. It opens up huge pits in the ground that swallow 300 men. Enkidu and Gilgamesh
attack and slay the beast without any divine assistance and offer up its heart
to Shamash. When Ishtar cries out in agony, Enkidu hurls one of the bull’s hindquarters
at her. The city of Uruk celebrates, but Enkidu has an ominous dream.
Enkidu’s dream, the gods decide that one of the heroes must die for slaying the
Bull of Heaven and Humbaba. Despite the protestations of Shamash, Enkidu is marked
for death. Enkidu considers the great door he fashioned for Enlil’s temple, and
curses it. He also curses Shamhat and the trapper for removing him from the wild.
Then Shamash speaks from heaven, reminding Enkidu of how Shamhat fed and clothed
him, and introduced him to Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh will bestow great honors upon
him at his funeral, and will later wander the wild consumed with grief. Enkidu
regrets his curses and blesses Shamhat, temporarily calmed. In a second dream,
however, he sees himself being taken captive to the Netherworld by a terrifying
Angel of Death. The underworld is a “house of dust” and darkness whose
inhabitants eat clay and are clothed in bird feathers, supervised by terrifying
beings. For twelve days, Enkidu’s condition worsens. Finally, after a last lament
that he could not meet a heroic death in battle, he dies.
delivers a long lamentation for Enkidu, in which he calls upon forests, mountains,
fields, rivers, wild animals, and all of Uruk to mourn for his friend. Recalling
their adventures together, Gilgamesh tears at his hair and clothes in grief. He
commissions a funerary statue and provides valuable grave gifts from his treasury
to ensure a favourable reception for Enkidu in the realm of the dead. A great
banquet is held where the treasures are ceremonially offered to the gods of the
Netherworld. There is a possible reference to the damming of a river before the
text breaks off, which might suggest a riverbed burial as in the corresponding
Sumerian poem, The Death of Gilgamesh.
nine opens with Gilgamesh grieving for Enkidu and roaming the wild clothed in
animal skins. Fearful of his own death, his object is to find the legendary Utnapishtim
(“the Faraway”), and learn the secret of eternal life. Among the few
survivors of the Great Flood, Utnapishtim and his wife are the only humans to
have been granted immortality by the gods. Early in his travels, Gilgamesh crosses
a mountain pass at night and encounters a pride of lions. He prays for protection
to the moon god Sin before sleeping. Then, waking from an encouraging dream, he
slays the lions and takes their skins for clothing. Eventually, after a long and
perilous journey, Gilgamesh comes to the twin peaks of Mt Mashu at the ends of
the earth. The entrance, which no man has ever crossed, is guarded by two terrible
scorpion-men. After questioning him and recognising his semi-divine nature, they
allow Gilgamesh to pass and travel through the mountains along the Road of the
Sun. He follows it for twelve “double hours” in complete darkness. Managing
to complete the trip before the sun catches up to him, Gilgamesh arrives in a
garden paradise full of jewel-laden trees.
meets the alewife Siduri, who first believes Gilgamesh is a murderer from his
dishevelled appearance, and tells her the purpose of his journey. Siduri attempts
to dissuade him from his quest but sends him to Urshanabi, the ferryman, to help
him cross the sea to Utnapishtim. Urshanabi is in the company of stone-giants.
Gilgamesh considers them hostile and kills them. When he tells Urshanabi his story
and asks for help, he is told that he just killed the only creatures able to cross
the Waters of Death. The Waters of Death, analogous to the River Styx of Greek
mythology, are deadly to the touch, so Urshanabi asks him to cut 300 trees and
fashion them into punting poles. Finally, they reach the island of Utnapishtim.
Utnapishtim sees that there is someone else in the boat and asks Gilgamesh who
he is. Gilgamesh tells him his story and asks for help, but Utnapishtim reprimands
him because fighting the common fate of humans is futile and diminishes life’s
earliest Sumerian Gilgamesh stories date from as early as the Third Dynasty of
Ur (2100 BC-2000 BC). The earliest Akkadian versions are dated to ca. 2000-1500
BC. The five extant Sumerian Gilgamesh stories do not include a separate account
of his journey to Utnapishtim (Ziusudra in Sumerian), but they do refer to it.
In a list of Gilgamesh’s accomplishments, found in the story of his death, we
read of his journey to meet Ziusudra and the cultic knowledge that he brought
back to the people of Uruk. There is also a short description of the flood in
the same context, as the gods debate whether to grant Gilgamesh eternal life like
they did for Ziusudra. The “standard” Akkadian version, of course, included
a complete flood story and was edited by Sin-liqe-unninni sometime between 1300
BC and 1000 BC. This longer flood story is, itself, based on the one contained
in the Epic of Atrahasis (circa 1800 BC). (see Gilgamesh flood myth for references).
argues that Utnapishtim is not different from him and asks him his story, and
why he has a different fate. Utnapishtim tells him about the great flood. His
story is a summary of the story of Atrahasis but skips the previous plagues sent
by the gods. He reluctantly offers Gilgamesh a chance for immortality, but questions
why the gods would give the same honor as himself, the flood hero, to Gilgamesh
and challenges Gilgamesh to stay awake for six days and seven nights first. However,
just when Utnapishtim finishes his words Gilgamesh falls asleep. Utnapishtim ridicules
the sleeping Gilgamesh in the presence of his wife and tells her to bake a loaf
of bread for every day he is asleep so that Gilgamesh cannot deny his failure.
When Gilgamesh, after seven days, discovers his failure, Utnapishtim reprimands
him and sends him back to Uruk with Urshanabi.
moment that they leave, Utnapishtim’s wife asks her husband to have mercy on Gilgamesh
for his long journey. Utnapishtim tells Gilgamesh of a boxthorn-like plant at
the very bottom of the ocean that will make him young again. Gilgamesh obtains
the plant by binding stones to his feet so he can walk the bottom of the sea.
He does not trust the plant and plans to test it on an old man’s back when he
returns to Uruk. Unfortunately he places the plant on the shore of a lake while
he bathes, and it is stolen by a serpent. Gilgamesh weeps at the futility of his
efforts, having now lost all chance of immortality. He then returns to Uruk, where
the sight of its massive walls prompts him to praise this enduring work to Urshanabi.
tablet is to a large extent an Akkadian translation of an earlier Sumerian poem,
Gilgamesh and the Netherworld (also known as “Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the
Netherworld” and variants), although it has been suggested that it is based
on an unknown version of that story. The contents of this last tablet are inconsistent
with previous ones: Enkidu is still alive, despite having been killed off earlier
in the epic. Because of this, its lack of integration with the other tablets,
and the fact that it is almost a copy of an earlier version, it has been referred
to as an ‘inorganic appendage’ to the epic. Alternatively, it has been suggested
that “its purpose, though crudely handled, is to explain to Gil-gamesh (and
the reader) the various fates of the dead in the Afterlife” as “an awkward
attempt to bring closure”, a connection between the Gilgamesh in the epic
and the Gilgamesh as King of the Netherworld in Mesopotamian religion, or even
“a dramatic capstone whereby the twelve-tablet epic ends on one and the same
theme, that of “seeing” (= understanding, discovery, etc.), with which
complains to Enkidu that various objects he possessed (the tablet is unclear exactly
what different translations include a drum and a ball) fell into the underworld.
Enkidu offers to bring them back. Delighted, Gilgamesh tells Enkidu what he must
and must not do in the underworld in order to come back. Enkidu does everything
he was told not to do. The underworld keeps him. Gilgamesh prays to the gods to
give him his friend back. Enlil and Suen dont bother to reply but Ea and
Shamash decide to help. Shamash cracks a hole in the earth and Enkidu’s ghost
jumps out of it. The tablet ends with Gilgamesh questioning Enkidu about what
he has seen in the underworld.
permissiom from Paolo
7/fighter 25/ranger 10/Reaping mauler 5/Rogue 1
d10 + 17 d8 +1d6 + 480 (777 hp)
(+7 armour, +5 bracers, +6 Dexterity, +5 natural), touch 21, flat-footed 27
49 touch, or + 55 Greatclub (1d10 + 25 x2), or + 56 Battleaxe (1d6 + 22 + 3d6
fire, x 3 + 9d6 fire); or + 45 shortbow (1d6 +4 x3) ranged, or spell +49 melee
touch, or +41 ranged touch
55/50/45/40 Greatclub two-handed (1d10 + 32, 19-20 x2), or +56/51/46/39 Battleaxe
(1d6 +22 + 3d6 fire, x3 + 9d6 fire), or +53/48/43/38 (1d10 + 25 x2) (primary hand,
Greatclub) and +53/48 (1d6 +22 + 3d6 fire, x3 + 9d6 fire) (off-hand, Battleaxe),
or grapple (four grapple checks/round, 1d3 +14 + 6 every winning check, plus 1d8/round,
plus 1d12 if opponent pinned), or +45/40/35/30 shortbow (1d6 + 4 x3) , or spell
+49 melee touch, or +41 ranged touch
ft. x 5 ft./5 ft.
grapple, Favored enemy, Sneak attack +1d6, Sleeper lock, Turn undead,
grapple, Divine bloodline, Evasion, Iron skin, Swift tracker, Trapfinding, Wild
empathy, Woodland stride
+43, Ref +28, Will +27.
39, Dexterity 23, Constitution 31, Intelligence 13, Wisdom 19, Charisma 30
+24, Concentration +15, Diplomacy +20, Escape Artist +21, Heal +9, Knowledge (Arcana)
(religion) +11, Knowledge
(Geography) +11, Knowledge
+ 6, Handle Animal+20, Intimidate +24, Jump +22, Ride (Dexterity)+11, Swim +22, Hide +16,
Listen +14, Move
Silently +16, Search +11, Spot +14, Survival +14, Tumble +11,
Use Rope +16,
Clever wrestling, Combat
embrace, Endurance, Improved Bull
Critical (Greatclub), Improved
Improved Initiative, Improved
Two Weapon fighting, Improved Unarmed
Leadership, Mobility, Power
Attack, Track, Two
Weapon Fighting, Weapon Focus (Battleaxe),
Weapon Focus (grapple), Weapon Focus (Greatclub), Weapon Specialisation (Greatclub),
Weapon Specialisation (Battleaxe), Weapon Specialisation (grapple)
Prowess x2, Epic weapon specialisation (grapple),
Epic weapon specialisation (Greatclub), Energy resistance (fire), Infinite
Wrestler, Penetrate Damage Reduction (adamantine), Penetrate damage
iron), Spectral strike, Superior
or any terrain
or with Enkidu, or with servants
in his palace at Uruk, and see possessions below.
(evil tendencies, shifted to good tendencies)
grapple :When grappling or pinned, Gilgamesh can attempt either a grapple
check or an Escape Artist check opposed by his opponent’s grapple check to free
himself. If he fails the check he has chosen, he can immediately attempt the other
check as a free action.
grapple : if Gigamesh pins his opponent while grappling and maintains the
pin for three consecutive rounds, the opponent must make a fortitude save (DC
19) at the end of the third round or die. A creature with no discernible anatomy
is immune to the effect of this ability.
bloodline :+1 hp per HD (es, 6,5 instead of 5,5 on a d10), immune to polymorphing,
petrification or any form-altering attack, energy drain, ability drain and ability
damage; +15 vs disease, poison, Paralysis, death effects, disintegration; +10
vs binding, soul bind, Temporal Stasis, Trap the soul; Spell
: If Gilgamesh makes a successful Reflex saving throw against an attack that
normally deals half damage on a successful save, he instead takes no damage.
enemy : (evil outsider, aberration, abomination) Gilgamesh has a +6 bonus
on Bluff, Listen, Sense
Motive, Spot and Survival, and a +6 bonus on damage rolls,
against evil outsiders. Those bonuses are at +4 versus aberrations and at +2 versus
skin : Gilgamesh has an unnatural resilient skin, providing him +5 natural
bonus on AC, damage reduction 5/- and energy resistance (all) 5
lock: If Gigamesh pins his opponent while grappling and maintains the pin
for one full rounds, the opponent must make a fortitude save (DC 19) at the end
of the round or fall unconscious for 1d3 rounds. A creature with no discernible
anatomy is immune to the effect of this ability.
tracker : Gilgamesh can move at his normal speed while following tracks without
taking the normal -5 penalty. He takes only a -10 penalty (instead of the normal
-20) when moving at up to twice normal speed while tracking.
: Gilgamesh can use the Search skill to locate traps when the task has a Difficulty
Class higher than 20.
undead : Gilgamesh turns or destroy undeads 13/day as a 7-level cleric, with
a +2 bonus on turning check and 1d6 bonus on turning damage rolls.
empathy: Gilgamesh can improve the attitude of an animal. This ability functions
just like a Diplomacy check made to improve the attitude of a person: he rolls
1d20 and adds +20 to determine the wild empathy check result. Gilgamesh and the
animal must be able to study each other, which means that they must be within
30 feet of one another under normal conditions. Influencing an animal in this
way takes 1 minute but, as with influencing people, it might take more or less
time. Gilgamesh can also use this ability to influence a magical
beast with an
Intelligence score of 1 or 2, but she takes a -4 penalty on the check.
stride : Gilgamesh may move through any sort of undergrowth (such as natural
thorns, briars, overgrown areas, and similar terrain) at his normal speed and
without taking damage or suffering any other impairment. However, thorns, briars,
and overgrown areas that have been magically manipulated to impede motion still
spells/day (0-4) 6/5+1/4+1/3+1/2+1. Caster level 7°. Save DC: 14 + spell level.
Domains Glory (granted power: +2 bonus on turning check and 1d6 bonus on turning
damage rolls), Strength (once per day, duration one round, +7 enhancement bonus
to Strength. Activating the power is a free action)
spells/day (1-2) 2/2. Caster level 5. Save DC: 14 + spell level
Greatclub (1d10, x2) of smiting (any critical hit dealt to a construct completely
destroys it, any critical to an outsider deals x4 damage instead of x2), and mighty
disruption (destroy undead if fails a fortitude save dc21)
Battleaxe of fiery blast
leather armour (+2, max Dexterity +6) of acid warding (absorbs the first 50 acid damage/round),
with spikes on the surface, causing 1d8/round damage to opponents grappled or
pinned by the wearer. The damage is considered to be epic for DR bypassing
+5 bracers of armour.
Worlds of Mankind is owned and created by Mark John Goodwin
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