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The Epic of Gilgamish, tr. by R. Campbell Thompson [1928], at

p. 32



Column I.

(Gilgamish is removing the stains of combat).

 1(Now) is 2 he washing his stains, (and) is cleansing his garments in tatters,
Braiding (?) (the locks of) his hair (to descend loose) over his shoulders,
Laying aside his garments besmirchen, (and) donning his clean ones,
Putting on armlets (?), and girding his body about with a baldric,
5.Gilgamish bindeth his fillet, and girdeth himself with a baldric.

(Ishtar sees him and seeks to wed him).

(Now) Lady Ishtar espieth the beauty of Gilgamish: (saith she),
"Gilgamish, come, be a bridegroom, to me of the fruit (of thy body)
Grant me largesse: (for) my husband shalt be and I'll be thy consort.
10.O, but I'll furnish a chariot for thee, (all) azure and golden,
Golden its wheel, and its yoke precious stones 3, each day to be harness'd
Unto great mules: (O), enter our house with the fragrance of cedar.
15.(So) when thou enterest into our house shall threshold and dais
Kiss thy feet, (and) beneath thee do homage kings, princes, and rulers,
Bringing thee yield of the mountains and plains as a tribute: thy she-goats
Bring forth in plenty, thy ewes shall bear twins, thy asses 4 attaining
20.(Each) to the size of a mule, (and) thy steeds 4 in thy chariot winning
Fame for their gallop: [thy mules 4] in the yoke shall ne’er have a rival."


[Gilgamish] open’d his mouth in reply, Lady Ishtar [to answer]:
"Aye, but what must I give] thee, (if (?)) I should take thee in marriage?
25.[I must provide thee with oil] for (thy) body, and clothing: (aye, also)
[Give thee (thy)] bread and (thy) victual: (sooth), must be sustenance [ample]
Meet for divinity—[I, (too), must give thee (thy) drink] fit for royalty.
30.. . . . I shall be bound, . . . let us amass (?), . . . clothe with a garment.
[What, then, will be my advantage, supposing) I take thee in marriage?
[Thou’rt but a ruin which giveth no shelter (?) to man] from the weather,
Thou’rt but a back door [not] giving resistance to blast or to windstorm,

p. 33

35.Thou’rt but a palace which dasheth the heroes [within it to pieces],
Thou’rt but a pitfall (which letteth) its covering [give way (all treach’rous)],
Thou art but pitch which [defileth] the man who doth carry it with him,
Thou’rt but a bottle which [leaketh] on him who doth carry it with him,
Thou art but limestone which [letteth] stone ramparts [fall crumbling in ruin].
40.Thou’rt but chalcedony [failing to guard (?)] 1 in an enemy's country,
Thou’rt but a sandal which causeth its owner [to trip (by the wayside)].
Who was ever [thy] husband [thou faithfully lovedst] for all time?
Who hath been ever thy lord who hath gain’d [over thee the advantage?
Come, and I will unfold thee [the endless tale] of thy husbands.


45.(Sooth), thou shalt vouch (?) for the truth (?) of (this) list—Thy maidenhood's consort,
Tammuz, each year dost make him the cause of Wailing 2, (then cometh
Next) the bird Roller 3 gay-feather’d thou lovedst, and (yet) thou didst smite him
50.Breaking his wing: in the grove doth he stand, crying kappi 'my wing!'
Lovedst thou also a Lion, in (all) the full strength of (his) vigour,
(Yet) thou didst dig for him seven and seven (deep) pits (to entrap him).
Lovedst thou also a Stallion, magnificent he in the battle,
Thou wert the cause of a bridle, a spur, and a whip to him: (also)
55.Thou wert the cause of his fifty miles galloping; thou wert the cause, too,
(Eke), of exhaustion and sweating (?); (thereafter), ’twas thou who didst (also)
Unto his mother Silili give cause for (her deep) lamentation.
Lovedst thou also a Shepherd, a neatherd, for thee without ceasing
60.Each day to sacrifice yeanlings for thee would heap thee his charcoal,
(Yet) thou didst smite him, transforming him into a jackal: his herd boy
Yea, his own herd boy drove him away, and his dogs tore his buttocks.
Lovedst thou, too, Ishullanu, the gardener he of thy sire,
65.Bringing delights (?) to thee ceaseless, while daily he garnish’d thy platter;
’Twas for thee only to cast thine eyes on him, and with him be smitten 4.
'O Ishullanu of mine, come, let me taste of thy vigour,
Put forth thy hand, too, . . . . . . . . . .  5'

p. 34

70.                                 But he, Ishullanu,
Said to thee 'What dost thou ask me? Save only my mother hath baked (it),
Nought have I eaten—(and) what I should eat would be bread of transgression,
(Aye) and iniquity! (Further), the reeds are a cloak against winter. 1'
75.Thou this [his answer] didst hear, didst smite him and make him a spider(?) 2,
Making him lodge midway up a [dwelling(?)] 3—not to move upwards
Lest there be drainage 4; nor down, lest a crushing [o’erwhelm him].
     So, too, me in my turn thou wouldst love and (then) [reckon] me like them."


80.[Heard] this (then) Ishtar: she 5 burst into rage and [went up] to Heaven,
Hied her (thus) Ishtar to Anu, [her father], to Antu, her mother,
85.Came she [to tell (them)]: "O father, doth Gilgamish load me with insult,
Gilgamish tale of my sins, my sins and iniquities telleth."


Anu made answer, (thus) speaking, and said unto Ishtar the Lady:
"Nay, thou didst ask him [to grant thee largesse of the fruit of his body],
90.(Hence) he 6 the tale of thy sins, thy sins and iniquities telleth."

(The Creation of the Divine Bull which is to destroy the heroes).

Ishtar made answer (thus) speaking, and said unto [Anu, her father]:
"Father, O make (me) a Heavenly Bull, which shall Gilgamish [vanquish],
95.Filling [its body] with flame . . . .
But if thou’lt [not] make [this Bull], then . . . .
I'll smite . . . ., I'll put . . . ., I'll . . . .
100.More than the . . . will be the . . . . . . .  7


Anu [made answer, (thus) speaking, and said unto] Ishtar, the Lady:
"[If I the Heavenly Bull shall create, for which] thou dost ask me,
(Then) seven years of (leer) husks [must needs follow after his onslaught (?)].
105.Wilt thou [for man] gather [corn (?)], and increase [for the cattle(?)] the fodder (?)."

p. 35

[Ishtar made answer, (thus) speaking [and said unto] Anu, her father:
"[Corn for mankind] have I hoarded, have grown [for the cattle the fodder],
110.[If seven] years of (leer) husks [must needs follow after his onslaught (?)]
[I will for man] gather [corn and increase for the cattle] the fodder."

(Perhaps a small gap.)

(About seven lines are so badly mutilated that little can be gleaned from them except that the fight with the Heavenly Bull is about to take place in Erech. After these [a hundred men] descend [upon the Bull], but with his (fiery) breath [he annihilates them]. Then come two hundred with the same result, and then three hundred more, again to be overcome).

130.Enkidu girded (?) his middle; (and straightway) Enkidu, leaping,
Seized on the Heavenly Bull by [his] horns, and (headlong) before him
Cast down the Heavenly Bull his full length, . . . .
(Aye), by the thick of his tail.

(Gap of thirteen mutilated lines.)

147.Chased him did Enkidu, . . . the Heavenly Bull . . .
Seized him and by [the thick] of his tail . . . .

(Gap of about fourteen mutilated lines in which the Bull is slain.)

153.(So), what time they the Bull of the Heavens had kill’d, its heart they removéd,
Unto the Sun-god they offer’d in sacrifice; when the libation
155.Unto the Sun they had voided, they sate them down, the two brothers.


(The Frenzy of Ishtar).

(Then) mounted Ishtar (the crest of) the ramparts of Erech, the high-wall’d,
(So) to the roof-top ascended, (and there) gave voice to her wailing;
160."Woe unto Gilgamish—he who by killing the Bull of the Heavens,
Made me lament." When Enkidu heard this, the shrieking of Ishtar,
Wrenching the member from out of the Bull, he toss’d (it) before her;
165."If I could only have reach’d thee, i’faith, I’d ha’ served thee the same way,
I’d ha’ let dangle his guts on thy flanks (as a girdle about thee)."
Ishtar assembled the girl-devotees, the hetaerae and harlots,
Over the member (torn out) from the Bull she led the lamenting.

p. 36

(The Triumph of Gilgamish).

170.Gilgamish call’d to the masters of craft, the artists, (yea), all of them,
That at the size of its horns (all) the guilds of the crafts speak their praises
Each had of azure in weight thirty minas to be as their setting,
Two fingers their . ... ... . . . . . . . . . . .
175.Both of them held six measures of oil; to his god Lugal-banda
He for (his) unguent devoting, brought in, and (thus) let them hang (there),
(There) in the shrine of his forbears.
                                       (And now) in the River Euphrates
Washing their hands, they start (on their progress) and come (to the city);
(Now) are they striding the highway of Erech, the heroes of Erech
180.Thronging (about them) to see them. (Then) Gilgamish utter’d a riddle
Unto the notables (?):

Who, pr’ythee, is most splendid of heroes,
Who, pr’ythee, is most famous of giants?
Gilgamish—he is most splendid of heroes,
185.[Enkidu—he is most] famous of giants.

(Three mutilated lines follow.)


190.So in his palace did Gilgamish hold high revel: (thereafter),
(While all) the heroes asleep, on their nightly couches were lying
Enkidu, too, was asleep, and a vision beheld, and (so) coming
Enkidu (now) his dream to reveal: (thus) spake he unto his comrade.


32:1 Assyrian Version.

32:2 The tense here is properly past, but the historic present will serve.

32:3 Elmeshu, an uncertain kind of gem.

32:4 Singular in the text. A fragment of a Semitic tablet from Boghaz Keui (Keils. Boghazk, IV. 12, p. 12) includes among her gifts "great horses" and "crystal for thy feet."

33:1 a seal-cylinder or amulet of chalcedony.

33:2 The Annual festival of the Wailing for Tammuz. Tammuz, the husband of Ishtar, representing vegetation, dies each year in the Autumn, and his faithful spouse goes down to the Underworld to bring him back with the return of Spring.

33:3 The Roller, a brightly coloured bird which lives in the palm groves of Southern Babylonia, uttering a hoarse cry which may be identified with kappi. During the breeding season it has a curious irregular flight which probably gave rise to the legend of the broken wing.

33:4 The force of the tense of the last verb appears to demand this form of translation.

33:5 This, the invitation of Ishtar, (two words) is omitted.

34:1 The reply of Ishullanu is difficult. when the goddess falls in love with him, he refuses, saying in contempt that his mother's baking is enough for him, and, as for the cold, the reeds provide him with ample covering.

34:2 Dallalu, an unknown word, perhaps lit. "the spinner," from a cognate Syriac root dall.

34:3 Only half the word left which might be restored "dwelling."

34:4 From the roof.

34:5 Text "Ishtar."

34:6 Text "Gilgamish."

34:7 It is usual to restore this passage from the Legend of the descent of Ishtar to Hades where she, outside the door, threatens to break it down and release the ghosts, who shall then be more numerous than the living. The incident of the creation of the Bull is found on a Semitic fragment from Boghaz Keui (Keils. Boghazk. iv. 12, p. 12): the Bull is to be a young steer of six months, but there is little else that is new. This is the other part of the tablet quoted in the note to the Sixth Tablet, l. 20.

Next: The Seventh Tablet: The Death of Enkidu