Previously Unknown Lines to the Epic of Gilgamesh discovered in Stolen Cuneiform Tablet

Previously Unknown Lines to the Epic of Gilgamesh discovered in Stolen Cuneiform Tablet


We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

An Assyriologist at the University of London (UCL) has discovered that a stolen clay tablet inscribed with ancient cuneiform text that was recently acquired by a museum in Iraq, contains 20 previously unknown lines to the epic story of Gilgamesh, the oldest known epic poem and widely regarded as the first great work of literature ever created. The discovery provides new details about Gilgamesh, king of Uruk, and Enkidu, a wild man created by the gods to rid Gilgamesh of his arrogance, as they travel to the Cedar Forest, home of the gods, to defeat the monstrous giant Humbaba.

Live Science reports that the tablet, which measures 11 cm x 9.5 cm, was purchased in 2011 by the Sulaymaniayh Museum in Slemani, Iraq, from a known smuggler of Mesopotamian antiquities. While such a move is controversial, in that it feeds the black market in antiquities dealing, the museum argues that it is the only way to regain some of the valuable artifacts that have been looted from historical sites in Iraq.

While the exact provenance of the tablet is unknown, the style of script and the circumstances of acquisition, lead experts to believe it was unearthed at a Babylonian site, and may date back ask far as the Old Babylonian period (2003 – 1595 BC).

When the text was translated by Farouk Al-Rawi, a professor in the Department of Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East at UCL, with the help of Andrew George, associate dean of languages and culture at UCL, the pair soon discovered that it added fascinating new details to the fifth tablet in the Epic of Gilgamesh.

Statue of Gilgamesh with a possible representation of Enkidu, from the palace of Sargon II at Dur Sharrukin (now Khorsabad, near Mossul), 713-706 BC. ( Wikipedia)

A new perspective on the Cedar Forest

The Cedar Forest is the glorious realm of the gods of Mesopotamian mythology, described in Tablets 4 – 6 of the Epic of Gilgamesh. The forest, guarded by the demigod Humbaba, was generally thought to be a quiet and reflective place. However, the new section of Tablet 5 translated by Al-Rawi offers an entirely different perspective.

“Perhaps more surprising is the revelation that the Cedar Forest was, in the Babylonian literary imagination, a dense jungle inhabited by exotic and noisy fauna. The chatter of monkeys, chorus of cicada, and squawking of many kinds of birds formed a symphony (or cacophony) that daily entertained the forest’s guardian, Humbaba,” writes Al-Rawi and George in their paper ‘ Back to the Cedar Forest: The Beginning and End of Tablet V of the Standard Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh’ . “Humbaba emerges not as a barbarian ogre and but as a foreign ruler entertained with music at court in the manner of Babylonian kings, but music of a more exotic kind, played by a band of equally exotic musicians”

The newly translated text reads:

17 [Through] all the forest a bird began to sing:

18 […] were answering one another, a constant din was the noise,

19 [A solitary(?)] tree-cricket set off a noisy chorus,

20 […] were singing a song, making the … pipe loud.

21 A wood pigeon was moaning, a turtle dove calling in answer.

22 [At the call of] the stork, the forest exults,

23 [at the cry of] the francolin, the forest exults in plenty.

24 [Monkey mothers] sing aloud, a youngster monkey shrieks:

25 [like a band(?)] of musicians and drummers(?),

26 daily they bash out a rhythm in the presence of Ḫumbaba.

From the newly translated text, Al-Rawi and George .

Early translators of the Epic assumed that the "Cedar Forest" refers to the Lebanon Cedars. A Cedar Forest in Lebanon ( Wikipedia)

The remorse of Enkidu

The newly discovered verse also reveals new details about the inner conflict experienced by Enkidu as he and Gilgamesh kill Humbaba, guardian of the Cedar Forest and a childhood friend of Enkidu.

After slaughtering Humbaba and destroying the Cedar Forest, cutting down its trees and ripping down branches, Enkidu expresses remorse for his actions.

“Their reaction after the event is now tinged with a hint of guilty conscience,” write Al-Rawi and George in their paper. “The anxiety about offending the gods seems to a modern reader compounded by ecological regret…. This newly recovered speech of Enkidu adds to the impression that, to the poets’ minds, the destruction of Humbaba and his trees was morally wrong.”

302 [Enkidu] opened his mouth to speak, saying to Gilgameš:

303 “[My friend,] we have reduced the forest [to] a wasteland,

304 [how] shall we answer Enlil in Nippur?

305 ‘[In] your might you slew the guardian,

306 what was this wrath of yours that you went trampling the forest?’ ”

From the newly translated text, Al-Rawi and George .

The translation of the new text reveals that, even thousands of years after it was first inscribed, the epic tale of Gilgamesh is still offering new and exciting discoveries.

The tablet and its translation is now on display at the Sulaymaniyah Museum in Iraq.

Featured image: This clay tablet in inscribed with one part of the Epic of Gilgamesh. It was most likely stolen from a historical site before it was sold to a museum in Iraq. Credit: Farouk Al-Raw


New passage of the Epic of Gilgamesh had us waiting even more than G R R Martin does between books

The Sulaymaniyah Museum in Iraq uncovered 20 new lines of the Epic of Gilgamesh, the nearly 3000 years old Mesopotamian poem, considered to be one of the world’s first great works of literature. They belong to a passage in which Gilgamesh enters a cedar forest and slays a demigod named Humbaba, with the setting and the demigod himself described differently and in more detail, writes Ted Mills for Open Culture.

A newly discovered tablet V of the epic of Gilgamesh. The left half of the whole tablet has survived and is composed of 3 fragments, currently held at the Sulaymaniyah Museum, Iraq.
Image credits to Osama S.M. Amin.

The Epic of Gilgamesh dates back to the 18th century B.C. and tells the story of Gilgamesh, a Sumerian king who travels the world with a wild companion named Enkidu. The version we are most familiar with today is the one discovered in Nineveh in 1853, but being such an incredibly old piece of literature, archaeologists had to piece it together from disparate passages and scholars are well aware that new fragments of the poem could turn up.

During the chaos of the US-led invasion of Iraq, looters descended upon ancient sites and started smuggling an incredible amount of artifacts. So the Sulaymaniyah Museum, directed by the council of ministers of Iraqi Kurdistan, started an initiative: they would pay smugglers to ‘intercept’ archaeological artifacts on their journey to other countries. No questions were asked about who was selling the piece or where it came from. The Museum believed this condition kept smugglers from selling their merchandise to other buyers, as they would have otherwise done so ‘with ease and without any legal consequences.’

Among the artifacts that smugglers wanted to sell were a set of clay tablets that caught Professor Farouk Al-Rawi’s eye.

“The collection was composed of 80-90 tablets of different shapes, contents and sizes. All of the tablets were, to some degree, still covered with mud. Some were completely intact, while others were fragmented. The precise location of their excavation is unknown, but it is likely that they were illegally unearthed from, what is known today as, the southern part of the Babel (Babylon) or Governorate, Iraq (Mesopotamia),” according to Osama S.M. Amin at Ancient History Et Cetera.

The new lines were etched onto a tablet that broke into three fragments, dating some 3,000 years ago, during the Neo-Babylonian period.


Lost fragment of The Epic of Gilgamesh Discovered

At least there is a little good news coming out of the hell hole that is the middle east.


A serendipitous deal between a history museum and a smuggler has provided new insight into one of the most famous stories ever told: "The Epic of Gilgamesh."

The new finding, a clay tablet, reveals a previously unknown "chapter" of the epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia. This new section brings both noise and color to a forest for the gods that was thought to be a quiet place in the work of literature. The newfound verse also reveals details about the inner conflict the poem's heroes endured.

In 2011, the Sulaymaniyah Museum in Slemani, in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, purchased a set of 80 to 90 clay tablets from a known smuggler. The museum has been engaging in these backroom dealings as a way to regain valuable artifacts that disappeared from Iraqi historical sites and museums since the start of the American-led invasion of that country, according to the online nonprofit publication Ancient History Et Cetera.


Among the various tablets purchased, one stood out to Farouk Al-Rawi, a professor in the Department of Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London. The large block of clay, etched with cuneiform writing, was still caked in mud when Al-Rawi advised the Sulaymaniyah Museum to purchase artifact for the agreed upon $800. [In Photos: See the Treasures of Mesopotamia]

With the help of Andrew George, associate dean of languages and culture at SOAS and translator of "The Epic of Gilgamesh: A New Translation" (Penguin Classics, 2000), Al-Rawi translated the tablet in just five days. The clay artifact could date as far back to the old-Babylonian period (2003-1595 B.C.), according to the Sulaymaniyah Museum. However, Al-Rawi and George said they believe it's a bit younger and was inscribed in the neo-Babylonian period (626-539 B.C.).


What Al-Rawi and George translated is a formerly unknown portion of the fifth tablet, which tells the story of Gilgamesh, king of Uruk, and Enkidu (the wild man created by the gods to keep Gilgamesh in line) as they travel to the Cedar Forest (home of the gods) to defeat the ogre Humbaba.

The new tablet adds 20 previously unknown lines to the epic story, filling in some of the details about how the forest looked and sounded.

"The new tablet continues where other sources break off, and we learn that the Cedar Forest is no place of serene and quiet glades. It is full of noisy birds and cicadas, and monkeys scream and yell in the trees," George told Live Science in an email.

In a parody of courtly life, the monstrous Humbaba treats the cacophony of jungle noises as a kind of entertainment, "like King Louie in 'The Jungle Book,'" George said. Such a vivid description of the natural landscapes is "very rare" in Babylonian narrative poetry, he added

I would never of thought there were monkeys in the highlands of Mesopotamia.
It is a fascinating find


SomaliNet Forums

The Epic of Gilgamesh recounts the story of Gilgamesh, the king of Uruk, Babylonia's ancient city. Gilgamesh is joined is his journey by Enkidu, a wild man initially created by the gods to kill Gilgamesh and stop the king from terrorizing his own people.

The two men became friends after an initial fight and journeyed to far lands together defeating monsters along the way.

The story is considered literature's first great accomplishment. Its chapters were etched in ancient tablets and the story was pieced together from the fragments recovered over the years. The story traces its roots to the 18th century B.C. Followers of the epic are familiar with the 1853 version discovered in Nineveh, the ancient Mesopotamian City which is now modern-day Iraq.

During the U.S.-led war in Iraq, ancient sites and museums were sacked. The initiative to 'intercept' the black market trade of archeological artifacts was started by the Sulaymaniyah Museum. Smugglers were paid to 'intercept' these treasures during their journey abroad. The scheme worked.


In 2011, the Sulaymaniyah Museum was able to acquire a collection of tablets from a smuggler. Some of the tablets were intact but covered with mud while the others were broken in fragments. The excavation site remains unknown but experts believed they were retrieved somewhere in Iraq (Mesopotamia) and Babel (Babylon).

Professor Farouk Al-Rawi from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, England examined the collection of tablets being sold by the smuggler. The assyriologist even found fake tablets. The smuggler said there was a tablet for the Epic of Gilgamesh in the collection and asked for a large sum of money. Al-Rawi examined the three-piece fragmented tablet and advised Sulaymaniayh Museum Director Hashim Hama Abdullah to buy it.


Reading and translating the cuneiform texts on the tablet took five days in November 2012. Experts believe the text was engraved by a writer in the neo-Babylonian era (626-539 BCE). Twenty new lines were discovered and added to the Epic of Gilgamesh. The lines described Gilgamesh and Enkidu's adventure into the 'Cedar Forest' where they killed a forest demigod called Humbaba.

"Gilgamesh and Enkidu cut down the cedar to take home to Babylonia, and the new text carries a line that seems to express Enkidu's recognition that reducing the forest to a wasteland is a bad thing to have done, and will upset the gods," said Andrew George, the associate dean fo the School of Oriental and African Studies who assisted in translating the cuneiform texts.

The new Epic of Gilgamesh tablet was given the code T.1447 tablet and now resides at the Sulaymaniyah Museum in Iraq.

Photo: D. Gordon E. Robertson

Re: New lines of Epic of Gilgamesh found

Post by PrinceNugaalHawd » Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:37 pm

Re: New lines of Epic of Gilgamesh found

Post by gurey25 » Fri Oct 09, 2015 12:40 pm

Re: New lines of Epic of Gilgamesh found

Post by LiquidHYDROGEN » Fri Oct 09, 2015 1:20 pm

Re: New lines of Epic of Gilgamesh found

Post by Lancer » Fri Oct 09, 2015 5:25 pm

Re: New lines of Epic of Gilgamesh found

Post by Itrah » Fri Oct 09, 2015 7:49 pm

Re: New lines of Epic of Gilgamesh found

Post by Lancer » Fri Oct 09, 2015 7:56 pm

Re: New lines of Epic of Gilgamesh found

Post by Alpharabius » Fri Oct 09, 2015 8:44 pm

The epic of Gilgamesh contains true stories mixed with polytheism and myths , given the similarities it has with the Old testament i think it may have been a Book of Allah that was later corrupted by Babylonian paganism , or maybe it was an actual historical account ? allahu a'lam.

Take the story of Nuux (a.s) told in the bible and the story of Utnappishtim in EOG they are almost identical.

Question: "What similarities are there between the Gilgamesh flood account and the biblical flood account?"


Answer: There are many similarities between the Gilgamesh flood account and the biblical flood account (Genesis 6—8), beginning most importantly with God choosing a righteous man to build an ark because of an impending great flood. In both accounts, samples from all species of animals were to be on the ark, and birds were used after the rains to determine if flood waters had subsided anywhere to reveal dry land. There are other similarities between the Gilgamesh flood account and the biblical flood account.

One major point of clear agreement is that a global flooding disaster occurred in ancient times. Portions of the Gilgamesh account (Chaldean Flood Tablets) have been found dating back to 2000 BC or earlier. Tablets containing the full story, however, date to approximately 650 BC, or well after the Genesis account (c. 1450—1410 BC). These Chaldean tablets, from the city of Ur (modern-day southern Iraq), describe how the Babylonian God Ea decided to end all life except for the ark dwellers with a great flood. Ea, believed by the Babylonians to be the god who created the earth, selected Ut-Napishtim (or Utnapishtim) to construct a six-story square ark.

During the mid-nineteenth century, this complete “Epic of Gilgamesh” (from 650 BC) was unearthed in some ruins at Nineveh’s great library, and the depth and breadth of similarities and differences became evident. Here is a more extensive listing of the similarities and differences:

• God (or several gods in the Gilgamesh account) decided to destroy humankind because of its wickedness and sinfulness (Genesis 6:5–7).

• A righteous man (Genesis 6:9) was directed to build an ark to save a limited and select group of people and all species of animals (Noah received his orders directly from God, Utnapishtim from a dream).

• Both arks were huge, although their shapes differed. Noah’s was rectangular Utnapishtim’s was square.

• Both arks had a single door and at least one window.

• A great rain covered the land and mountains with water, although some water emerged from beneath the earth in the biblical account (Genesis 7:11).

• Biblical flooding was 40 days and nights (Genesis 7:12), while the Gilgamesh flood was much shorter (six days and nights).

• Birds were released to find land (a raven and three doves in the biblical account, Genesis 8:6–12 a dove, swallow, and raven in the other).

• After the rains ceased, both arks came to rest on a mountain, Noah’s on Ararat (Genesis 8:4) Utnapishtim’s on Nisir. These mountains are about 300 miles apart.

• Sacrifices were offered after the flood (Genesis 8:20).

• God was (or gods were) pleased by the sacrifices (Genesis 8:21), and Noah and Utnapishtim received blessings. Noah’s blessing was to populate the earth and have dominion over all animals (Genesis 9:1–3) Utnapishtim’s was eternal life.

• God (or the many gods) promised not to destroy humankind again (Genesis 8:21–22).

Perhaps most interesting is how the stories remain consistent over time. Although the complete Epic of Gilgamesh was discovered in the mid-nineteenth century, much earlier segments (before the writing of Genesis) have been discovered and dated. Yet most significant is the greater fidelity of the Hebrew account. This is attributed to the importance of Jewish oral tradition and the possibility that some of the story was recorded by Noah or from his time, which would make the Hebrew account precede the Babylonian version.

Some scholars hypothesize the Hebrews borrowed the Babylonian account, but no conclusive proof has been offered to support this. Based on the many and varied differences and details within these stories, it seems unlikely that the biblical version depended upon an existing Sumerian source. Further, given the Jews’ reputation for passing down information scrupulously from one generation to another and maintaining a consistent reporting of events, Genesis is viewed by many as far more historical than the Epic of Gilgamesh, which is regarded as mythological because of its numerous gods and their interrelationships and intrigues in deciding the fate of humankind.

Certainly, for those who believe the Bible is God’s Word, it is sensible to conclude He chose to preserve the true account in the Bible through the oral traditions of His chosen people. By God’s providence, His people kept this account pure and consistent over the centuries until Moses ultimately recorded it in the Book of Genesis. The Epic of Gilgamesh is believed to contain accounts which have been altered and embellished over the years by people not following the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

There are also other stories in the EOG that bear a striking resemblance to other biblical stories and characters , it's really interesting. It's such a shame though that Archaeologists and Anthropologists show interest and study these "myths" while religious scholars dont seem to care at all


20 New Lines from The Epic of Gilgamesh Discovered in Iraq, Adding New Details to the Story

The Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the oldest narratives in the world, got a surprise update last month when the Sulaymaniyah Museum in the Kurdistan region of Iraq announced that it had discovered 20 new lines of the Babylonian-Era poem of gods, mortals, and monsters. Since the poem has existed in fragments since the 18th century BC, there has always been the possibility that more would turn up. And yet the version we’re familiar with — the one discovered in 1853 in Nineveh — hasn’t changed very much over recent decades. The text remained fairly fixed — that is, until the fall of Baghdad in 2003 and the intense looting that followed yielded something new.

the [Sulaymaniyah] museum has a matter of policy paid smugglers to keep artifacts from leaving the country, no questions asked. The tablet was acquired by the museum in late 2011 as part of a collection of 80-90 tablets sold by an unnamed shady character. Professor Farouk Al-Rawi examined the collection while the seller haggled with museum official Abdullah Hashim. When Al-Rawi saw this tablet, he told Hashim to pay whatever the seller wanted: $800.

That’s a pretty good deal for these extra lines that not only add to the poem’s length, but have now cleared up some of the mysteries in the other chapters. These lines come from Chapter Five of the epic and cast the main characters in a new light. Gilgamesh and his companion Enkidu are shown to feel guilt over killing Humbaba, the guardian of the cedar forest, who is now seen as less a monster and more a king. Just like a good director’s cut, these extra scenes clear up some muddy character motivation, and add an environmental moral to the tale.

The History Blog article has an in depth description of the translation, with links to a scholarly paper on this very important find, and prompts the question, how much more is there to be discovered?

In the video above, Hazha Jalal, manager of the tablet’s section of the Sulaymaniyah Museum talks (in Kurdish) about the new discovery, saying (in translation): “The tablet dates back to the Neo-Bablyonian period, 2000-1500 BCE. It is a part of tablet V of the epic. It was acquired by the Museum in the year 2011 and [then] Dr. Farouk Al-Raw transliterated it. It was written as a poem and many new things this version has added, for example Gilgamesh and his friend met a monkey. We are honored to house this tablet and anyone can visit the Museum during its opening hours from 8:30 morning to noon. The entry is free for you and your guests. Thank you.”


Previously Unknown Lines to the Epic of Gilgamesh discovered in Stolen Cuneiform Tablet - History

By Ellie Zolfagharifard For Dailymail.com 19:24 BST 05 Oct 2015 , updated 00:22 BST 06 Oct 2015

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • e-mail
  • e-mail
  • e-mail
  • WhatsApp
  • flipboard
  • fbmessenger
  • native
  • 3.1k shares
  • Poem tells the story of Gilgamesh, king of Uruk, and his friend Enkidu
  • Together, they go to the Cedar Forest and defeat Humbaba, its guardian
  • Tablet gives a description of this forest, which is rare in its level of detail
  • It was discovered when a museum in Iraq made a deal with a smuggler

A missing chapter has been found for one of the first great works of literature.

Researchers have discovered a new clay tablet that adds 20 previously unknown lines to the 'Epic of Gilgamesh'.

The famous poem, which dates back to 2100 BC, tells the story of Gilgamesh, king of Uruk, and Enkidu, a man created by the gods to stop him from oppressing the people of Uruk.

The new lines from the poem were discovered by accident when a history museum in Iraq made a deal with a smuggler to purchase a set of 80 to 90 clay tablets.

The Sulaymaniyah Museum in Slemani had been involved engaging in these dealings as a way to regain valuable artifacts following the Iraq War, according to Ancient History Et Cetera.

Farouk Al-Rawi, a professor in the Department of Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London was the first to spot the tablet.

After realising its significant, he purchase the block of clay, which featured cuneiform writing, for $800 (£530).

It is 11cm (4.3 inches) high, 9.5cm (3.7 inchs) wide and 3cm (1.2 inches) thick and reveals a previously unknown 'chapter' of the epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia.

Mesopotamia was an ancient region in the eastern Mediterranean bounded in the northeast by the Zagros Mountains and in the southeast by the Arabian Plateau.

Related Articles

WHAT IS THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH?

The Epic of Gilgamesh is thought to be one of the first great works of literature.

It is a poem from ancient Mesopotamia that dates from the Third Dynasty of Ur around 2100 BC.

It involves five poems about 'Gilgamesh', king of Uruk, which were combined to make a combine epic.

The first half of the story discusses Gilgamesh, king of Uruk, and Enkidu, a man created by the gods to stop him from oppressing the people of Uruk.

After an initial fight, Gilgamesh and Enkidu become close friends. Together, they journey to the Cedar Mountain and defeat Humbaba, its guardian.

Later they kill the Bull of Heaven, which the goddess Ishtar sends to punish Gilgamesh for spurning her advances. As a punishment for these actions, the gods sentence Enkidu to death.

In the second half of the epic, distress about Enkidu's death causes Gilgamesh to undertake a long and perilous journey to discover the secret of eternal life.

He eventually learns that 'Life, which you look for, you will never find. For when the gods created man, they let death be his share, and life withheld in their own hands'.

The first surviving version of this combined epic, known as the 'Old Babylonian' version, dates to the 18th century BC.

It is titled after its incipit, Shūtur eli sharrī ('Surpassing All Other Kings') and only a few tablets of it have survived.

The later 'Standard' version dates from the 13th to the 10th centuries BC and bears the incipit Sha naqba īmuru ('He who Sees the Unknown').

Around two thirds of this longer, twelve-tablet version have been recovered.

It corresponds to today's Iraq, mostly, but also parts of modern-day Iran, Syria and Turkey.

The first half of the poem discusses Gilgamesh, king of Uruk, and Enkidu, a man created by the gods to stop him from oppressing the people of Uruk.

After an initial fight, Gilgamesh and Enkidu become close friends. Together, they journey to the Cedar Mountain and defeat Humbaba, its guardian.

Later they kill the Bull of Heaven, which the goddess Ishtar sends to punish Gilgamesh for spurning her advances. As a punishment for these actions, the gods sentence Enkidu to death.

The new section provides a more detailed description of the 'forest for the gods' in the Cedar Mountains which is part of the fifth tablet, according to an in-depth report in Live Science.

They also reveal the inner through process of the poem's protagonists, detailing the guilt they feel when destroying the forest.

Another line reveals how Enkidu and Humbaba were childhood friends.

'The new tablet continues where other sources break off, and we learn that the Cedar Forest is no place of serene and quiet glades. It is full of noisy birds and cicadas, and monkeys scream and yell in the trees,' Andrew George, associate dean of languages and culture at SOAS, told Live Science.

WHAT NEW DETAILS DOES THE NEW TABLET PROVIDE?

The new section provides a more detailed description of the 'forest for the gods' in the Cedar Mountains which is part of the fifth tablet.

Humbaba views the noise of the jungle as a form of entertain, in a very vivid and rare description of the surroundings, George added.

They also reveal the inner through process of the poem's protagonists, detailing the guilt they feel when destroying the forest.

Another line reveals how Enkidu and Humbaba were childhood friends.

'The new tablet continues where other sources break off, and we learn that the Cedar Forest is no place of serene and quiet glades. It is full of noisy birds and cicadas, and monkeys scream and yell in the trees,' George told Live Science.

Humbaba views the noise of the jungle as a form of entertain, in a very vivid and rare description of the surroundings, George added.

'The chatter of monkeys, chorus of cicada, and squawking of many kinds of birds formed a symphony (or cacophony) that daily entertained the forest's guardian, Ḫumbaba,' wrote Al-Rawi.

'The passage gives a context for the simile 'like musicians' that occurs in very broken context in the Hittite version's description of Gilgameš and Enkidu's arrival at the Cedar Forest.

'Ḫumbaba emerges not as a barbarian ogre and but as a foreign ruler entertained with music at court in the manner of Babylonian kings, but music of a more exotic kind, played by a band of equally exotic musicians.'

The Sulaymaniyah Museum says the clay artefact could date as far back to the old-Babylonian period (2003-1595 B.C.), according to the Sulaymaniyah Museum.

But the researchers who recognised the significance of the tablet say it is likely to have been younger, inscribed somewhere between 626-539 B.C.

The new tablet is currently on display at the Sulaymaniyah Museum. A full translation of the fifth tablet can be found here.


MORE LINES TO THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH DISCOVERED

Many of you shared this story with me, and I have to blog about it because of all its inherently interesting possibilities for our trademark high actane speculation. In Iraq, a tablet has been recovered which contains, apparently, twenty lines from the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh, part of ancient Uruk's mythology and cosmology. Here's the story:

This sparks two very different lines of high octane speculation for the day, the first concerning the lines themselves, as summarized in the first article linked above:

The tablet adds new verses to the story of how Gilgamesh and Enkidu slew the forest demigod Humbaba. Gilgamesh, King of Uruk, gets the idea to kill the giant Humbaba, guardian of the Cedar Forest, home of the gods, in Tablet II. He thinks accomplishing such a feat of strength will gain him eternal fame. His wise companion (and former wild man) Enkidu tries to talk him out of it -- Humbaba was set to his task by the god Enlil -- but stubborn Gilgamesh won't budge, so Enkidu agrees to go with him on this quest. Together they overpower the giant. When the defeated Humbaba begs for mercy, offering to serve Gilgamesh forever and give him every sacred tree in the forest, Gilgamesh is moved to pity, but Enkidu's blood is up now and he exhorts his friend to go through with the original plan to kill the giant and get that eternal renown he craves. Gilgamesh cuts Humbaba's head off and then cuts down the sacred forest. The companions return to Uruk with the trophy head and lots of aromatic timber.(Emphasis added)

And then this summary from the second article linked above:

The aftermath of the heroes’ slaying of Ḫumbaba is now better preserved (300–308). The previously available text made it clear that Gilgameš and Enkidu knew, even before they killed Ḫumbaba, that what they were doing would anger the cosmic forces that governed the world, chiefly the god Enlil.
(Emphasis added)

What I find suggestive here is the possible link to the whole idea of the "cosmic war" hypothesis: a cedar forest representing "the cosmic forces that govern the world," and a combat and slaying of a giant - a very distant echo of the gigantomachy of Greek mythology - and the resulting divine displeasure from Enlil. This is intriguing, because of course, in the standard Greek, and even Old Testament view, the war with the giants was a good thing, as was their destruction. But here, the opposite moral assessment is implied.

What is more intrguing to me, however, are the implications of the discovery itself, and how it was made:

How the tablet was discovered is notable as well. Since 2011, the Sulaymaniyah Museum in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq was been paying smugglers to intercept artifacts leaving the country, no questions asked. The tablet was likely illegally excavated from the southern part of Iraq, and the museum paid the seller of this particular tablet $800 to keep it in the country.

This intrigues me because years ago, in writing about the Baghdad Museum Looting incident in the wake of the US invasion of Iraq, I speculated that there were deep, and covert agendas in play. The first was signaled by the presence of French and German archaeological teams in Saddam Hussein's Iraq, digging up and cateloging any number of priceless finds. Then there was the looting itself, which by all accounts was executed by someone with "inside knowledge," which, according to the initial reports in the German media, was carried out by people dressed in American uniforms. While everyone rushed to blame the USA for the looting, I wasn't so sure then, and I am not so sure now. If anything, the ones with the most precise intelligence of what and where to look, outside of members of Iraq's archaeological "inner circle" themselves, would have been the French and German teams that keep the field catalogues of what they were finding. Then there was the recovery of some of these stolen artifacts, mostly art works. What we did not hear about were the stolen tablets, and these, for me, constituted the real story. To this day, what was stolen, how much, and where it went, is unclear. But this new finding of portions of the Epic of Gilgamesh might be a partial clue: some of them, at least, remained in Iraq, perhaps in the hands of guardians or perhaps even in the hands of people who saw in them the literal cuneiform equivalent of gold, as an economic hedge against the coming collapse of the country.

But if that high octane speculation be true, then it equally highlights the remaining problem: where are the other tablets, who has them, and what do they contain? And I am still of the opinion that some of them are in the hands of very high players, none of them in Iraq, and that they were looking for things in them.


Lost ‘Epic of Gilgamesh’ Verse Depicts Cacophonous Abode of Gods

The new finding, a clay tablet, reveals a previously unknown “chapter” of the epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia. This new section brings both noise and color to a forest for the gods that was thought to be a quiet place in the work of literature. The new found verse also reveals details about the inner conflict the poem’s heroes endured.

In 2011, the Sulaymaniyah Museum in Slemani, in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, purchased a set of 80 to 90 clay tablets from a known smuggler. The museum has been engaging in these backroom dealings as a way to regain valuable artifacts that disappeared from Iraqi historical sites and museums since the start of the American-led invasion of that country, according to the online nonprofit publication Ancient History Et Cetera.

Among the various tablets purchased, one stood out to Farouk Al-Rawi, a professor in the Department of Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London. The large block of clay, etched with cuneiform writing, was still caked in mud when Al-Rawi advised the Sulaymaniyah Museum to purchase artifact for the agreed upon $800.

With the help of Andrew George, associate dean of languages and culture at SOAS and translator of “The Epic of Gilgamesh: A New Translation” (Penguin Classics, 2000), Al-Rawi translated the tablet in just five days. The clay artifact could date as far back to the old-Babylonian period (2003-1595 B.C.), according to the Sulaymaniyah Museum. However, Al-Rawi and George said they believe it’s a bit younger and was inscribed in the neo-Babylonian period (626-539 B.C.).

Al-Rawi and George soon discovered that the stolen tablet told a familiar story: the story of Gilgamesh, the protagonist of the ancient Babylonian tale, “The Epic of Gilgamesh,” which is widely regarded as the first-ever epic poem and the first great work of literature ever created. Because of the time period when the story was written, the tale was likely inscribed on “tablets,” with each tablet telling a different part of the story (kind of like modern chapters or verses).

What Al-Rawi and George translated is a formerly unknown portion of the fifth tablet, which tells the story of Gilgamesh, king of Uruk, and Enkidu (the wild man created by the gods to keep Gilgamesh in line) as they travel to the Cedar Forest (home of the gods) to defeat the ogre Humbaba.

The new tablet adds 20 previously unknown lines to the epic story, filling in some of the details about how the forest looked and sounded.

“The new tablet continues where other sources break off, and we learn that the Cedar Forest is no place of serene and quiet glades. It is full of noisy birds and cicadas, and monkeys scream and yell in the trees,” George said.

In a parody of courtly life, the monstrous Humbaba treats the cacophony of jungle noises as a kind of entertainment, “like King Louie in ‘The Jungle Book,'” George said. Such a vivid description of the natural landscapes is “very rare” in Babylonian narrative poetry, he added.

Other new found lines of the poem confirm details that are alluded to in other parts of the work. For example, it shows that Enkidu and Humbaba were childhood buddies and that, after killing the ogre, the story’s heroes feel a bit remorseful, at least for destroying the lovely forest.

“Gilgamesh and Enkidu cut down the cedar to take home to Babylonia, and the new text carries a line that seems to express Enkidu’s recognition that reducing the forest to a wasteland is a bad thing to have done, and will upset the gods,” George said. Like the description of the forest, this kind of ecological awareness is very rare in ancient poetry, he added.

The tablet, now mud-free and fully translated, is currently on display at the Sulaymaniyah Museum. A paper outlining Al-Rawi and George’s findings was published in 2014 in the Journal of Cuneiform Studies.


One of the oldest chronicles in the world, the Epic of Gilgamesh has recently got a surprised update when the Sulaymaniyah Museum in the Kurdistan region of Iraq reported that it had discovered 20 new line of the Babylonian Era poem of mortals, gods and monsters. Since the poem had prevailed in fragments from the 18th century BC, there has constantly been the likelihood of more turning up.

However the one which we seem to be familiar with was in 1853 in Ninevehand does not differ much over recent times. The text seems to be equally fixed which is till the fall of Baghdad in 2003 and the forceful pillaging that followed generated in something new.

It is reported that an Assyriologist at the University of London – ULC had discovered a stolen clay tablet with inscription of ancient cuneiform text which was recently obtained by a museum in Iraq, comprising of 20 earlier unknown lines to the epic story of Gilgamesh.

Gilgamesh is the oldest known epic poem which is widely observed as the first great work of literature that was ever created. Though the precise origin of the tablet is not known, the style of the script as well as the circumstance of acquiring it has lead experts in believing that it was unearthed at Babylonian site and could date back as far as the Old Babylonian period.

Fascinating New Details – V Tablet

When the text seemed to be translated by a professor in the Department of Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East at UCL, Farouk Al-Rawi, together with the help of Andrew George, associate dean of languages and culture at UCL, they discovered that it comprised of fascinating new details to the fifth tablet in the Epic of Gilgamesh. This discovery provided new information with regards to Gilgamesh, the king of Uruk and Enkidu, a wild man created by the gods to freed Gilgamesh of his haughtiness, while they are travelling to the Cedar Forest, the home of the gods, in order to defeat Humbaba, the monstrous giant.

The Cedar Forest is the magnificent dominion of the gods of Mesopotamian mythology which is described in Tablets 4 – 6 of the Epic of Gilgamesh. The forest which is guarded by the demigod Humbaba was presumed to be a quiet as well as a reflective space, but the new segment of Tablet 5 which was translated by Al-Rawi, provides a totally diverse perspective

Humbaba Not a Barbarian Ogre – A Foreign Ruler Entertained with Music

Al-Rawi and George writes in their paper `Back to the Cedar Forest: The Beginning and End of Tablet V of the Standard Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, that more surprising was the revelation of the Cedar Forest which was in the Babylonian literary imagination, a dense jungle inhabited by unusual and noisy fauna.

The chatter of the monkeys, chorus of cicada and squawking of several types of birds created a symphony or cacophony which entertains the forest’s guardian, Humbaba, daily.Humbaba has emerged not as a barbarian ogre but as a foreign ruler entertained with music at court, like Babylonian kings but the music is of a more unusual type which is played by a band of equally unusual musicians.

According to Live Science, the tablet tends to measure 11 cm x 9.5 cm and was purchased in 2011 by Sulaymaniyah Museum in Slemani, Iraq.

It was purchased from a known smuggler of Mesopotamian antiquities. Though such a move seems controversial and feed the black market with antiquities dealing, the museum debates that it is the only option of regaining some of the treasured artifacts that had been seized from historical sites in Iraq.


Lost 'Epic of Gilgamesh' Verse Depicts Cacophonous Abode of Gods

The new finding, a clay tablet, reveals a previously unknown "chapter" of the epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia. This new section brings both noise and color to a forest for the gods that was thought to be a quiet place in the work of literature. The newfound verse also reveals details about the inner conflict the poem's heroes endured.

In 2011, the Sulaymaniyah Museum in Slemani, in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, purchased a set of 80 to 90 clay tablets from a known smuggler. The museum has been engaging in these backroom dealings as a way to regain valuable artifacts that disappeared from Iraqi historical sites and museums since the start of the American-led invasion of that country, according to the online nonprofit publication Ancient History Et Cetera.

Among the various tablets purchased, one stood out to Farouk Al-Rawi, a professor in the Department of Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London. The large block of clay, etched with cuneiform writing, was still caked in mud when Al-Rawi advised the Sulaymaniyah Museum to purchase artifact for the agreed upon $800. [In Photos: See the Treasures of Mesopotamia]

With the help of Andrew George, associate dean of languages and culture at SOAS and translator of "The Epic of Gilgamesh: A New Translation" (Penguin Classics, 2000), Al-Rawi translated the tablet in just five days. The clay artifact could date as far back to the old-Babylonian period (2003-1595 B.C.), according to the Sulaymaniyah Museum. However, Al-Rawi and George said they believe it's a bit younger and was inscribed in the neo-Babylonian period (626-539 B.C.).

Al-Rawi and George soon discovered that the stolen tablet told a familiar story: the story of Gilgamesh, the protagonist of the ancient Babylonian tale, "The Epic of Gilgamesh," which is widely regarded as the first-ever epic poem and the first great work of literature ever created. Because of the time period when the story was written, the tale was likely inscribed on "tablets," with each tablet telling a different part of the story (kind of like modern chapters or verses).

What Al-Rawi and George translated is a formerly unknown portion of the fifth tablet, which tells the story of Gilgamesh, king of Uruk, and Enkidu (the wild man created by the gods to keep Gilgamesh in line) as they travel to the Cedar Forest (home of the gods) to defeat the ogre Humbaba.

The new tablet adds 20 previously unknown lines to the epic story, filling in some of the details about how the forest looked and sounded.

"The new tablet continues where other sources break off, and we learn that the Cedar Forest is no place of serene and quiet glades. It is full of noisy birds and cicadas, and monkeys scream and yell in the trees," George told Live Science in an email.

In a parody of courtly life, the monstrous Humbaba treats the cacophony of jungle noises as a kind of entertainment, "like King Louie in 'The Jungle Book,'" George said. Such a vivid description of the natural landscapes is "very rare" in Babylonian narrative poetry, he added

Other newfound lines of the poem confirm details that are alluded to in other parts of the work. For example, it shows that Enkidu and Humbaba were childhood buddies and that, after killing the ogre, the story's heroes feel a bit remorseful, at least for destroying the lovely forest.

"Gilgamesh and Enkidu cut down the cedar to take home to Babylonia, and the new text carries a line that seems to express Enkidu's recognition that reducing the forest to a wasteland is a bad thing to have done, and will upset the gods," George said. Like the description of the forest, this kind of ecological awareness is very rare in ancient poetry, he added.

The tablet, now mud-free and fully translated, is currently on display at the Sulaymaniyah Museum. A paper outlining Al-Rawi and George's findings was published in 2014 in the Journal of Cuneiform Studies.

Copyright 2015 LiveScience, a Purch company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



Comments:

  1. Marcello

    Delightfully

  2. Faujinn

    Yes, really.

  3. Cacamwri

    I think, that you commit an error. I can prove it.

  4. Zologal

    This situation is familiar to me. I invite to discussion.

  5. Azraff

    I think this is the admirable phrase

  6. Jessy

    You are not right. I'm sure. I can defend my position. Email me at PM, we'll talk.

  7. Camren

    Fuck a sober student ... Othello missed! A loud rustle of money is heard - this goof went to spawn! FATE, AS A WOMAN, SHOULD BE SURPRISED WITH A GOOD END AND SUDDEN TURN. No matter how much you lie to the state, you still can't get yours back.



Write a message