Sacred Texts  Ancient Near East 

The Epic of Gilgamish

tr. by R. Campbell Thompson


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This is one of the first essentially complete academic translations of the epic of Gilgamesh. It includes all of the principal episodes of the epic: the wild man Enkidu; the battle with Humbaba, the cedar forest demon; the death of Enkidu, the journey of Gilgamesh to find the secret of eternal life, in the course of which he encounters the Babylonian Noah, Uta-Napishtim, and hears the story of the great flood.

Oxford trained Thompson (1876-1941), was an Assyriologist associated with the British Museum. He was a teacher both of T.E. Lawrence and Max Mallowan, husband of Agatha Cristie. He excavated at Ur, Ninevah and Carchemish.

While often cited, this book is almost never seen. This work is long out of print (in fact it has never been reprinted) and extremely rare, even in libraries. However, it has a huge significance because it is one of the baseline translations of Gilgamesh. Because of its date of publication, under US copyright law it is formally still under copyright. Since there was no copyright notice in the original, the US copyright lasts for 70 years following the death of the author (i.e., 2011). We have attempted to locate the current copyright holder with no success. If one comes forward and requests that this electronic text be removed, it will be taken down without notice.

Title Page
Addenda et Corrigenda
The First Tablet: Of the Tyranny of Gilgamish, and the Creation of Enkidu
The Second Tablet: Of the Meeting of Gilgamish and Enkidu
The Third Tablet: The Expedition to the Forest of Cedars against Humbaba
The Fourth Tablet: The Arrival at the Gate of the Forest
The Fifth Tablet: Of the Fight with Humbaba
The Sixth Tablet: Of the Goddess Ishtar, Who Fell In Love With the Hero After His Exploit Against Humbaba
The Seventh Tablet: The Death of Enkidu
The Eighth Tablet: Of the Mourning of Gilgamish, and What Came of It
The Ninth Tablet: Gilgamish In Terror of Death Seeks Eternal Life
The Tenth Tablet: How Gilgamish Reached Uta-Napishtim
The Eleventh Tablet: The Flood
The Twelfth Tablet: Gilgamish, In Despair, Enquires of the Dead