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Download Table of Contents (211 KB)

Download Preface: The Case for Intimacy (2.6 MB)

Download Tips for Reading Prologues and Epilogues (136 KB)

Download Tips for Reading Tablets 1 and 2 (79 KB)

Download Tips for Reading Tablet 3 (22 KB)

Download Tips for Reading Tablets 4 and 5 (21 KB)

Download Tips for Reading Tablet 6 (72 KB)

Download Tips for Reading Tablets 7 and 8 (58 KB)

Download Tips for Reading Tablets 9 and 10 (25 KB)

Download Tips for Reading Tablet 11 (60 KB)

Download Chapter One: Prologues and Epilogues (2.2 MB)

Download Chapter Two:Sex for the City (1.8 MB)

Download Excursus: "Sacred" and Other Marriages (961 KB)

Download Chapter Three: What's in a Name - Gilgamesh the King (486 KB)

Download Excursus: Kingship after the Sumerians (485 KB)

Download Chapter Four: In the House of the Mother (463 KB)

Download Chapter Five: The Sun's Path to Humbaba (131 KB)

Download Chapter Six: Bull in the Ring (269 KB)

Download Chapter Seven: Mourning and Melancholia (1.0 MB)

Download Chapter Eight: The Search for Life (276 KB)

Download Chapter Nine: Dark Wisdom (305 KB)

Download Excursus: Interpreting Gilgamesh (638 KB)

Download Chapter Ten: Enkidu in the Underworld (138 KB)

Download Bibliography (305 KB)


As early as five thousand years ago the Sumerians who were developing a complex city-state based on plow agriculture and animal husbandry in what is now southern Iraq illustrated their culture in great vases, one band of which can be interpreted as a “Sacred Marriage” between the highest power in the universe, the Great Goddess “Inanna” (in Semitic Babylonia and Assyria “Ishtar”). In the very complicated scene at the topmost band of the Uruk Vase the goddess raises the status of her human lover to semi-divine status. The position he held the Sumerians called en, and on the vase he is seen receiving from the goddess a symbolic wrap and a cap that indicate his new status.

The most famous of the Sumerian ens was an Urukean known a “Bilgamis” later “Gilgamesh,” and his exploits are recounted in a variety of poems, epics as important to his people as Odysseus and Achilles were to the ancient Greeks. From the 4th millennium BCE Uruk Vase to the 1st millennium BCE versions of Gilgamesh poems the peoples of Mesopotamia celebrated the often combative relationship between the en and the Great Goddess.



Publication Date



SUNY Brockport eBooks




Arts and Humanities



This book is dedicated to

Richard A. Henshaw

Simply the Master

Gilgamesh and the Great Goddess of Uruk