Monday, October 14, 2013


Last week while in Toronto, I went to see the ROM's Mesopotamia exhibit.  As part of the exhibit, they had a piece of the Epic of Gilgamesh (Tablet VI).  When we got to the exhibit gift shop, in the books they had Stephen Mitchell's New English Version of Gilgamesh, which I bought and promptly started reading.

When I read a book like this for the first time, I usually skip the introduction until after I've read the actual work.  I don't want to be biased when reading (and honestly just want to avoid spoilers if I'm unfamiliar with the story).

Gilgamesh is credited as the oldest recorded story.  Its title character is a king who is 2/3 divine, 1/3 mortal.  He goes on adventures, ultimately searching for the secret to immortality.

I'm not going to lie, when I first finished reading it, I wasn't a big fan.  It was entertaining enough, but overall the story just seemed okay.  So I am really glad that I went back and read the introduction at that point.  The introduction made me appreciate the poem a lot more than I did after initially reading it (including the ending, where I kind of missed what exactly had happened!)

So overall, I enjoyed reading it, but mainly because of the introduction.  Without that, I probably wouldn't have liked it as much.

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