Gilgamesh, Enkidu, and the NetherworldAfterlife myth
While Enki was saling, the south wind uprooted a single ḫalub tree on the bank of the Euphrates river. A woman found it, planted it in Inanna's garden, and watered it by only using her feet; it grew massive after ten years. Inanna wanted to use it for a chair, but its bark would not break. Inanna cried and asked her brother, Gilgameš, to do it. Gilgameš cut the tree with his strength and also made a powerful mallet from its branches. During a game, both the ball and the mallet fell down into the netherworld. When Gilgameš could not recover items, his servant Enkidu offered to retrieve it. Enkidu became trapped there. Gilgameš asked Enki and Enlil to rescue Enkidu, but without success. Utu, however, obliged and made a hole for Enkidu to return. Gilgameš rejoiced and asked Enkidu how different kinds of people fare in the netherworld, ending the poem.
Gilgamesh is the king of Uruk and has a track record of terrorizing his own people. The people cry out to the supreme deity Anu, who creates a twin of Gilgamesh named Enkidu. Enkidu sets out for Gilgamesh, finds him, and they become friends after a brawl. The two journey together, whereby Enkidu dies. Gilgamesh tries to become an immortal with the help of a plant, but fails. The story ends with Gilgamesh realizing that his destiny is to be a good king to his people.
Black, Jeremy, et al., eds. "ETCSLtranslation : t.220.127.116.11 : Gilgameš, Enkidu and the nether world [Version A]." ETCSL: The Electronic Text Corpus of Sumerian Literature. The University of Oxford. http://etcsl.orinst.ox.ac.uk/cgi-bin/etcsl.cgi?text=t.18.104.22.168#. Accessed June 15, 2020.
Smith, George. The Chaldean Account of Genesis: Containing the Description of the Creation, the Fall of Man, the Deluge, the Tower of Babel, the Times of the Patriarchs, and Nimrod: Babylonian Fables, and Legends of the Gods; from the Cuneiform Inscriptions. London, England: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, and Rivington, 1876.
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