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Epic of Gilgamesh – King of Uruk Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Jun 26th, 2021

The legacy of the oldest civilizations is the great contribution of our ancestors to modern life. Culture, science, and technology – everything was developed at the highest level. The civilization of the Sumerians, the oldest culture that ever existed on the Earth, appeared around the 4th millennium BC that is evidenced by the data discovered by scientists. Such significant discoveries of the mentioned ethnicity inspired me to create the drawing I called “Epic of Gilgamesh – King of Uruk”. It is difficult to state confidently about the period they lived as the list obtained from the famous cuneiform library of Ashurbanipal, the king of Assyria, refers only to the 7th century BC.

I read the epic telling about the adventures of the legendary founder of Ur city – the demigod Gilgamesh and his friend Enkidu. Their campaign against the ruler of the mountains of Lebanon, monster Humbaba, the death of Enkidu, and the journey of Gilgamesh to the land of Siduri motivated me to create this drawing. While there are several pieces of art that portrait Gilgamesh and his journeys, it was my idea to present my own vision of his personality. Therefore, I learned the available literature to imagine the appearance of this character and pondered over his depiction.

Looking through the evidence, I understood that an ancient person had a different life and views compared to a modern individual. Unlike that of us, his world was not divided into terrestrial and divine, and any earthly action affected the strings of the universe and had its own sacredness. Gilgamesh and his contemporaries did not believe in their God or gods as they lived in a world where the gods existed from the beginning of the world and by definition, and this was the first axiom of their being. I would also like to mention the second important characteristic of Gilgamesh that is associated with relationships and attitudes to others. I use the identified piece of art to explore Gilgamesh’s personality and relations with the world. In my painting, the main hero symbolizes strength, energy, and resoluteness, while two bulls accompanying Gilgamesh support this image.

The epic about Gilgamesh may be called the treasury of the poetry of Mesopotamia that was created by Sumerians and Akkadians thousands of years ago. Some Sumerian songs about Gilgamesh and Enkidu were preserved. They are the other source used by me to create the drawing. Such songs demonstrate the same enemies, for example, Humbaba, guarding the sacred cedars. The key idea of presenting Gilgamesh with two bulls is to show his strength of the character, courage, and power. The greatness of his soul is not in outward manifestations or confrontation with the gods, but in relation to his friend Enkidu. While combating with enemies, Gilgamesh always supported his friend and was fearless. I believe that the epic about Gilgamesh is the greatest anthem in the world literature, which not only contributes to overcoming external obstacles but also transforms them and allows modern people to become closer to the Sumerian civilization.

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