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AUTHOR’S ARTICLES

THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH TABLET IX

Translated by Maureen Gallery Kovacs
Electronic Edition by Wolf Carnahan, I998
epic-of-gilgamesh
THE EPIC OF GILGAMESH TABLET IX

Over his friend, Enkidu, Gilgamesh cried bitterly, roaming the wilderness.
“I am going to die!–am I not like Enkidu?!
Deep sadness penetrates my core,
I fear death, and now roam the wilderness–
I will set out to the region of Utanapishtim, son of Ubartutu,
and will go with utmost dispatch!
When I arrived at mountain passes at nightfall,’
I saw lions, and I was terrified!
I raised my head in prayer to Sin,
to … the Great Lady of the gods my supplications poured
forth, ‘Save me from… !”‘
He was sleeping in the night, but awoke with a start with a dream:
A warrior(!) enjoyed his life–
he raised his axe in his hand,
drew the dagger from his sheath,
and fell into their midst like an arrow.
He struck … and he scattered them,
The name of the former …
The name of the second …

(26 lines are missing here, telling of the beginning of his quest.]

The Scorpion-Beings
The mountain is called Mashu.
Then he reached Mount Mashu,
which daily guards the rising and setting of the Sun,
above which only the dome of the heavens reaches,
and whose flank reaches as far as the Netherworld below,
there were Scorpion-beings watching over its gate.
Trembling terror they inspire, the sight of them is death,
their frightening aura sweeps over the mountains.
At the rising and setting they watch over the Sun.
When Gilgamesh saw them, trembling terror blanketed his face,
but he pulled himself together and drew near to them.
The scorpion-being called out to his female:
   “He who comes to us, his body is the flesh of gods!”
The scorpion-being, his female, answered him:
   “(Only) two-thirds of him is a god, one-third is human.”
The male scorpion-being called out,
saying to the offspring of the gods:
   “Why have you traveled so distant a journey?
   Why have you come here to me,
   over rivers whose crossing is treacherous!
   I want to learn your …
   I want to learn …”

[16 lines are missing here. When the text resumes Gilgamesh is speaking.]

   “I have come on account of my ancestor Utanapishtim,
   who joined the Assembly of the Gods, and was given eternal life.
   About Death and Life I must ask him!”
The scorpion-being spoke to Gilgamesh …, saying:
   “Never has there been, Gilgamesh, a mortal man who could do that(?).
   No one has crossed through the mountains,
   for twelve leagues it is darkness throughout–
   dense is the darkness, and light there is none.
To the rising of the sun …
To the setting of the sun …
To the setting of the sun …
They caused to go out…”

[67 lines are missing, in which Gilgamesh convinces the scorpion-being to allow him
passage.]

   “Though it be in deep sadness and pain,
   in cold or heat …
   gasping after breath … I will go on!
   Now! Open the Gate!”
The scorpion-being spoke to Gilgamesh, saying:
   “Go on, Gilgamesh, fear not!
   The Mashu mountains I give to you freely (!),
   the mountains, the ranges, you may traverse …
   In safety may your feet carry you.
   The gate of the mountain …”
   To the rising of the sun …
To the setting of the sun …
To the setting of the sun …
They caused to go out…”

[67 lines are missing, in which Gilgamesh convinces the scorpion-being to allow him
passage.]

   “Though it be in deep sadness and pain,
   in cold or heat …
   gasping after breath … I will go on!
   Now! Open the Gate!”
The scorpion-being spoke to Gilgamesh, saying:
   “Go on, Gilgamesh, fear not!
   The Mashu mountains I give to you freely (!),
   the mountains, the ranges, you may traverse …
   In safety may your feet carry you.
   The gate of the mountain …”
As soon as Gilgamesh heard this
he heeded the utterances of the scorpion-being.
Along the Road of the Sun L he journeyed–
one league he traveled …,
dense was the darkness, light there was none.
Neither what lies ahead nor behind does it allow him to see.
Two leagues he traveled …,
dense was the darkness, light there was none,
neither what lies ahead nor behind does it allow him to see.

[22 lines are missing here.]

Four leagues he traveled …,
dense was the darkness, light there was none,
neither what lies ahead nor behind does it allow him to see.
Five leagues he traveled …,
dense was the darkness, light there was none,
neither what lies ahead nor behind does it allow him to see.
Six leagues he traveled …,
dense was the darkness, light there was none,
neither what lies ahead nor behind does it allow him to see.
Seven leagues he traveled ..
dense was the darkness, light there was none,
neither what lies ahead nor behind does it allow him to see.
Eight leagues he traveled and cried out (!),
dense was the darkness, light there was none,
neither what lies ahead nor behind does it allow him to see.
Nine leagues he traveled … the North Wind.
It licked at his face,
dense was the darkness, light there was none,
neither what lies ahead nor behind does it allow him to see.
Ten leagues he traveled …
… is near,
… four leagues.
Eleven leagues he traveled and came out before the sun(rise).
Twelve leagues he traveled and it grew brilliant.
…it bears lapis lazuli as foliage,
  bearing fruit, a delight to look upon.

  (25 lines are missing here, describing the garden in detail.]

  … cedar
  … agate
  … of the sea … lapis lazuli,
  like thorns and briars … carnelian,
 rubies, hematite,…
  like… emeralds (!)
  … of the sea,
  Gilgamesh … on walking onward,
 raised his eyes and saw …

TABLET X

COURCE

The Epic of Gilgamesh

Tablet VIII

Just as day began to dawn
Gilgamesh addressed his friend, saying:
“Enkidu, your mother, the gazelle,
and your father, the wild donkey, engendered you,
four wild asses raised you on their milk,
and the herds taught you all the grazing lands.
May the Roads of Enkidu to the Cedar Forest
mourn you
and not fall silent night or day.
May the Elders of the broad city of Uruk-Haven
mourn you.
May the peoples who gave their blessing after us
mourn you.
May the men of the mountains and hills
mourn you.
May the…
May the pasture lands shriek in mourning as if it were your mother.
May the …, the cypress, and the cedar which we destroyed (?) in our anger
mourn you.
May the bear, hyena, panther, tiger, water buffalo(?), jackal,
lion, wild bull, stag, ibex, all the creatures of the plains
mourn you.
May the holy River Ulaja, along whose banks we grandly used to stroll,
mourn you.
May the pure Euphrates, to which we would libate water from our waterskins,
mourn you.
May the men of Uruk-Haven, whom we saw in our battle when
we killed the Bull of Heaven,
mourn you.
May the farmer …,who extols your name in his sweet work song,
mourn you.
May the … of the broad city, who … exalted your name,
mourn you.
May the herder …, who prepared butter and light beer for your mouth,
mourn you.
May …, who put ointments on your back,
mourn you.
May …, who prepared fine beer for your mouth,
mourn you.
May the harlot, … you rubbed yourself with oil and felt good,
mourn you.
May …,… of the wife placed(!) a ring on you …,
mourn you
May the brothers go into mourning over you like sisters;
… the lamentation priests, may their hair be shorn off on
your behalf.
Enkidu, your mother and your father are in the wastelands,
I mourn you …”
“Hear me, O Elders of Uruk, hear me, O men!
I mourn for Enkidu, my friend,
I shriek in anguish like a mourner.
You, axe at my side, so trusty at my hand–
you, sword at my waist, shield in front of me,
you, my festal garment, a sash over my loins–
an evil demon!) appeared and took him away from me!
My friend, the swift mule, fleet wild ass of the mountain,
panther of the wilderness,
Enkidu, my friend, the swift mule, fleet wild ass of the mountain,
panther of the wilderness,
after we joined together and went up into the mountain,
fought the Bull of Heaven and killed it,
and overwhelmed Humbaba, who lived in the Cedar Forest,
now what is this sleep which has seized you?
You have turned dark and do not hear me!”
But his (Enkidu’s) eyes do not move,
he touched his heart, but it beat no longer.
He covered his friend’s face like a bride,
swooping down over him like an eagle,
and like a lioness deprived of her cubs
he keeps pacing to and fro.
He shears off his curls and heaps them onto the ground,
ripping off his finery and casting it away as an abomination.
Just as day began to dawn, Gilgamesh …
and issued a call to the land:
“You, blacksmith! You, lapidary! You, coppersmith!
You, goldsmith! You, jeweler!
Create ‘My Friend,’ fashion a statue of him.
… he fashioned a statue of his friend.
His features …
…,your chest will be of lapis lazuli, your skin will be of gold.”

[10 lines are missing here.’]

“I had you recline on the great couch,
indeed, on the couch of honor I let you recline,
1 had you sit in the position of ease, the seat at the left, so the
princes of the world kissed your feet.
I had the people of Uruk mourn and moan for you,
I filled happy people with woe over you,
and after you (died) I let a filthy mat of hair grow over my body,
and donned the skin of a lion and roamed the wilderness.”
Just as day began to dawn,
he undid his straps …
I… carnelian,

[85 lines are missing here.’]

…to my friend.
… your dagger
to Bibbi …”

[40 lines are missing here.]

” … the judge of the Anunnaki.”
When Gilgamesh heard this
the zikru of the river(!) he created’…
Just as day began to dawn Gilgamesh opened(!) …
and brought out a big table of sissoo wood.
A carnelian bowl he filled with honey,
a lapis lazuli bowl he filled with butter.
He provided … and displayed it before Shamash.

[All of the last column, some 40-50 lines, is missing.]

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