You are on page 1of 17

The Epic of Gilgamesh The Return

Utnapishtim said to Gilgamesh who will assemble the gods for your sake, so that you may find that life for which you are searching? Thereafter he said to Gilgamesh that he should stay awake for six days and seven nights, but soon sleep overtook Gilgamesh and he fell asleep. Utnapishtims wife baked one loaf of bread a day and placed it next to Gilgamesh and made a mark on the wall where he lay to number the days he has been asleep. Gilgamesh slept for six days where after Utnapishtim woke him. Utnapishtim spoke angrily to the ferryman, Urshanabi, who brought Gilgamesh to him, saying it is not for you the crossing of this sea. Utnapishtim ordered the ferryman to take Gilgamesh to bathe and gave him clothing that would not show any sign of aging until he returned to his own land.

After Gilgamesh has bathed, he and Urshanabi launced the boat to travel hack to their country. Utnapishtims wife however said to him to give Gilgamesh something that would to regain his strength, because he was very weary. Utnapishtim told Gilgamesh about a plant growing deep beneath the ocean, he said that the plant was full of thorns, but if Gilgamesh could succeed in taking the plant he would regain his youthfulness. Gilgamesh then tied heavy stones to his feet and was ragged don to the water-bed where he retrieved the plant. When he reached the shore he vowed that he would give of it to each old man in Uruk and lastly he would eat of it too. Gilgamesh and the ferryman then started their journey back to Uruk. After a long distance they stopped to rest and Gilgamesh was a well of cool water and decided to bathe in it. A serpent was however lying in the cool water and when it saw that Gilgamesh had the magic plant it snatched it from him and went on its way at a great speed.

In a month Gilgamesh and the ferryman travelled the distance that would normally take a month and fifteen days, and then they reached Uruk. Gilgamesh then told Urshanabi to look at the wonderful city of Uruk. This too was the work of Gilgamesh, the king, who knew the countries of the world. He was wise, he saw mysteries and knew secret things, he brought us a tale of the days before the flood. He went a long journey, was weary, worn out with labour, and returning engraved on a stone the whole story.

The site of Uruk

Excavated walls at the cite of Uruk

The Ziggurat at the site of Uruk

Cone mosaic, 3300-3100 BC (Late Uruk period)

Head of a ram, 3300-3100 BC (Late Uruk Period)

Vessel fragment with a carved bull, 3300-2900 BC (Late Uruk /Jemdet Nasr period)

Stamp seal amulet of a seated woman, 3300-2900 BC (Late Uruk/Jemdet Nasr period)

Administrative tablet with cylinder seal impression of a male figure, hunting dogs, and boars, 3100-2900 BC (Jemdet Nasr period) (Urik III script)

The Gilgamesh Epic The Death of Gilgamesh