The Epic of Gilgamesh is the oldest written chronicle in the world, composed two to three thousand years before Christ. It tells events in the life of a king in an ancient Sumerian city of Mesopotamia.In the tradition of the Greek Iliad or the medieval Beowulf, the heroic central figure is admired for his prowess and power; he is a warrior, whose greatest adventures are here recounted, sometimes fantastic and ultimately magical, as he ventures beyond the bounds of the world.
The Epic of Gilgamesh is an artifact of the first civilization, that which is the father and mother of our own civilization. It is like the great-great-great-grandparent whose name you do not know but without whom you would not exist. There are many matters that are not believable to us—monsters, deities, and places that we do not think exist, nor ever existed. Yet we can perceive in Gilgamesh a person like ourselves. This is the story of a man, not a god. We understand him, even if we do not understand or believe all that he does. Gilgamesh is the first literature of mankind to express the human condition.