Saturday, April 19, 2008

adventures in deep time

[...] the greatest and longest work in Akkadian is the Epic of Gilgamesh, called in Akkadian, from its first line, sa naaba immuru, 'who saw the deep'. Most of its extant text comes from Ashurbanipal's library at Nineveh, but enough fragments remain from other sites and earlier periods to show that as an Akkadian epic the work dates from no later than the early second millenium. The Russian Assyriologist I.M. Diakonoff argues that, at least in an oral form, it must date from as early as c. 2200 B.C. It had wide circulation: a fragment was found in Palestine and fragments from Boghazhwi in Turkey show that it had been translated into Hittite and Hurrian. It was based on Sumerian traditions: behind the Akkadian Epic of Gilgamesh lie at least four separate Sumerian stories which some anonymous Akkadian-speaking poet...wove into a unified narrative.
source lost.


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