Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Gilgamesh

Whilst we're on the subject of texts from the dawn of history, the Epic of Gilgamesh is a story that is older than the bible about a real king who lived in what is now Iraq (so he presumably looked a bit like Saddam Hussein), he goes on various adventures including meeting the man who built an ark and saved all the animals from a terrible flood sent by the gods (hang on there, haven't we heard that tale somewhere before!)

There's a slightly odd cartoon-strip about it, which includes this strange
section about how a chap at the British Museum got so excited about it he took off all his clothes (is that why it's a cartoon strip?); rather bizarrely the cartoonist occasionally puts words into (brackets) as if he were guessing at the damaged text on an old clay tablet rather than just being annoying.

There is a theory that the tales of the Flood are actually based on the flooding of the area that became the Black Sea, as waters rose around the world at the end of the last ice age; archaeological sites have been discovered under the water located at what would have been the side of an ancient lake. The final breakthrough by the waters of the Mediterranean would possibly have been triggered by heavy rainfall as in the story. Clearly, anyone who managed to get his family and a few farm animals on to a make shift boat and get away is likely to have handed down a few tales about it, which you can imagine being embroidered with tales of godly judgement and the saving of ALL the animals.

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