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Frustration at the Outset

September 8, 2009

The Gilgamesh Epic is among the greats of literature. Yet after all the fine work by Andrew George (here and here), we are still dealing with a text that is one third mortal and lost to the ages.

Perhaps the most frustrating lacuna of the whole epic occurs in the second line:

He who saw the Deep, the country’s foundation,
[who] knew…, was wise in all matters! (Tablet I, 1-2)

As a little exercise of Mesopotamian madlibs, does anyone have a good idea what to stick in this break?

  1. September 8, 2009 10:01 am

    Go on over to Abzu ( and search for Andrew George’s name and you’ll find some interesting things on Gilgamesh available in open access.

  2. dfrese permalink
    September 8, 2009 2:28 pm

    “good and evil” =)

  3. September 8, 2009 4:25 pm

    “that this part of the story would disappear”


  4. September 9, 2009 1:31 am

    I think it requires a “totality” word. But I don’t have all the tools in front of me to make a good lexical suggestion.

  5. September 11, 2009 3:15 pm

    Thanks for the helpful comments, y’all.

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