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4.3 out of 5 stars44
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 13 September 2010
This was an odd one; I was reading from a totally non-academic point of view, as I had heard of it but knew nothing of it. The book is half introducton and background which is all good stuff and was more interesting than the very very short 'epic' itself. The history explains it is from oral tradition - which in short means many similar phrases repeated over and over again to reinforce points and make it easier to repeat correctly I guess - also the reason humans started writing stuff down. I was expecting something Homeric and was a bit let down by a short,thin story and inexplicable allegories. Never mind, the history indicates this is all we know of that era and culture - fair enough -was worth knowing about. Grifter.
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on 16 February 2015
Nancy Sandars (N. K. Sandars) is an Oxfordshire archaeologist who recently celebrated her 100th birthday (I learnt all this on her website nancy sandars dot org dot uk, which includes an interesting bio) . She wasn't a specialist in any of the languages that the Gilgamesh poems survive in, nor when this book came out had she visited Mesopotamia, but she was acute and intelligent and at just the right distance to produce this marvellously readable synthesis for the casually curious reader. (Andrew George's more recent Penguin Classic, which I long to read also, evidently has other ends in view; but a serious student of ancient middle eastern lit - or any literature - will surely get hold of both).

Sandars made a practicable continuous story from the fragmentary materials, obeying the same universal impulse as the Akkadians themselves, or Sir Thomas Malory, or Elias Lönnrot ... Reading Sandars, you focus more on what happened to Gilgamesh than on the history of Mesopotamian peoples.

Here's Enkidu the wild man being introduced into civilisation:

"She [the harlot] divided her clothing in two and with the one half she clothed him and with the other herself; and holding his hand she led him like a child to the sheepfolds, into the shepherds' tents. There all the shepherds crowded round to see him, they put down bread in front of him, but Enkidu could only suck the milk of wild animals. He fumbled and gaped, at a loss what to do or how he should eat the bread and drink the strong wine. Then the woman said: 'Enkidu, eat bread, it is the staff of life; drink the wine, it is the custom of the land.' So he ate till he was full and drank strong wine, seven goblets. He became merry, his heart exulted and his face shone. He rubbed down the matted hair of his body and anointed himself with oil. Enkidu had become a man; but when he had put on man's clothing he appeared like a bridegroom...."

After an almighty rumble Enkidu and Gilgamesh become fast friends, but as they urge each other on to ever wilder adventures they soon make enemies among the gods...
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on 4 December 2012
I spent £7 on this thinking that it was actually The Epic of Gilgamesh.
It's not. Just a retelling. If you're thinking about buying this in the hopes of using it for an essay, then don't.
It can be handy for clearing up any areas where you get confused I suppose. But it's not the actual thing, so there's nothing useful to quote or any way to reference anything.
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on 7 September 2013
This book provides a fascinating insight to the life and cultures of the near east. The story is very moral inspiring and builds a picture of what life was like in ancient Mesopotamia where previously the biblical account was the only source available. Through this book we get to know Gilgamesh and empathise with him thousands of years later.
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on 13 February 2016
While reading The Literature Book, I learned The Epic of Gilgamesh is the oldest recorded story of all time. That prompted me to find a free online copy to read. Being a bookworm, I had to read the oldest story and see what it was like.
It was like reading a story from the bible.
Though the characters, at least some of them, you knew were far from real. A scorpion man guarding the gates, for example, is quite far-fetched. So this character would have been among the first fantasy characters created.
The story itself was a passage of time for one man, Gilgamesh. It took you through his life, and though I read it, I still do not understand the importance. Maybe I'm not supposed to, or maybe I missed something, but it really was just a life story written in old terms and I believe it to be just for entertainment.
Take the time to check it out for yourself and tell me what you think.
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on 27 November 2012
A must read book as this is probably one of the oldest text in the world.

The story may appear quite alien but in the same time very close to us.
It is scary but at the same time recomforting that the man of 3000BC had the same fears and issues as us modern men have.
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on 30 September 2013
The book gives the story in as full a detail as it can. The actual text being on fragmented tablets 1000's of years old. it also accompany the story with good explanations that are there to inform not baffle.
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on 5 December 2012
Really good introduction and lots of helpful notes. Must recommend this version over others!
Its a nice size too, great if your doing an essay on it like I am.
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on 28 October 2015
I bought this translation in order to update my collection, it is, I believe the best translation of The Epic of Gilgamesh. There are so many reviews and so much written about this that I cannot really add very much to it. Just to say that I find it to be compulsive reading and it ties in with so much that has been written about our ancient history, even Zecharia Sitchin's writings and findings, so if you are going to research the whole big picture, you have to read this too.
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on 26 October 2013
An edition aimed more at the academic than the general, but worth the effort. Not always easy to follow the variant readings.
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