Like many ancient
people, the ancient Sumerians had a very lively oral tradition.
They loved to tell exciting stories about the great deeds
and heroics of their ancestors. One of the stories they told was
the tale of Gilgamesh.
Gilgamesh was one of the kings of Uruk (a Sumerian
city). His name is on the list of kings of Sumer recovered from
the library at Nineveh. Did he actually exist as a real person or
was he just made up by the Sumerians? We may never know. But,
according to the story, Gilgamesh was part god and part human with some
of the powers of the gods.
to the epics, Gilgamesh and his friend Enkidu fought monsters, moved
mountains and rivers, rescued people in need, and generally
protected the people of Sumer. The epic of Gilgamesh was written
down in cuneiform on clay tablets and preserved at
the Library of Nineveh.