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Wind And Smoke: Giving Up The Ghost Of Enkidu, Comprehending Enkidu’s Ghosts

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Chapter Summary

The Epic of Gilgamesh is the best known work of literature from ancient Iraq, and rightly so. Its 3,000 or so lines relate the story of the legendary king of Uruk and his friendship and adventures with his close companion Enkidu, whose subsequent death initiated the grieving Gilgameshs vain quest for immortality. The Akkadian epic is loosely based on a group of earlier Sumerian stories about Gilgamesh, but includes as well much that is not known from the Sumerian tradition. The ancients were very concerned about the ghost that was released after death. The ghost of Sumerian and Akkadian sources, then, seems to be something akin to an immortal soul, an integral part of the living person that takes on an independent role only after death.

Keywords: Akkadian sources; enkidu; Gilgamesh; Sumerian tradition

10.1163/ej.9789004171527.i-344.12
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