The Closer East: The Epic of Gilgamesh and Homer Cover Image

The Closer East: The Epic of Gilgamesh and Homer
The Closer East: The Epic of Gilgamesh and Homer

Author(s): Aleksandra Musiał
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
Keywords: Homer; the "Odyssey"; the "Iliad"; Gilgamesh; Near East; ancient humanism

Summary/Abstract: A number of similarities between the Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh and the Homeric poems have been recognized by scholars for some time. The present paper attempts to bring these together, even as the author singles out three distinct patterns that find cross-textual parallels. Firstly, the discussion centres on the development of the three main heroes – Gilgamesh, Achilles and Odysseus – whose portrayals appear to convey an ideology of humanism and a newfound interest in the human condition. Secondly, certain correspondences between some of the background characters, including divinities, are expounded on. Finally, examples are given of fragments that seem to be copied from their Near Eastern originals into the Greek epics. Through such analysis, the author hopes to establish a solid link between the literatures of ancient Near East and Greece, emphasizing the significance of this acknowledgement for both the reading of the "Iliad" and the "Odyssey", as well as the more general discourse of cultural exchange in the eastern Mediterranean in early antiquity.

  • Issue Year: 2013
  • Issue No: 10
  • Page Range: 33-51
  • Page Count: 19
  • Language: English