Finished 13.08.2018Genre mythsRating CConclusion I have to agree with another reader about this book Fascinating stories..but rough going reading But I did manage to write down how I survived thisroller coaster ride In many ways, you could call this a 5 star book in terms of its scholarship and detailed information about these ancient texts, but as for readability, it s 1 or 2 stars The reason is that the texts have various fragments from different extant versions of the stories incorporated into the text This breaks up the flow a bit and at times becomes confusing and frustrating This is not necessarily a terrible thing, but if you re looking for readable versions, they re out there.As a scholarly work, it s excellent as a literary pleasure read, it leaves much to be desired.I picked up this edition because it contains several Akkadian texts listed in Steven Moore s The Novel An Alternative History Beginnings to 1600 If you re curious about these ancient texts and their history, I would definitely recommend this book as a good starting point. The Ancient Civilization Of Mesopotamia Thrived Between The Rivers Tigris And Euphrates Over , Years Ago The Myths Collected Here, Originally Written In Cuneiform On Clay Tablets, Include Parallels With The Biblical Stories Of The Creation And The Flood, And The Famous Epic Of Gilgamesh, The Tale Of A Man Of Great Strength, Whose Heroic Quest For Immortality Is Dashed Through One Moment Of Weakness Recent Developments In Akkadian Grammar And Lexicography Mean That This New Translation Complete With Notes, A Glossary Of Deities, Place Names, And Key Terms, And Illustrations Of The Mythical Monsters Featured In The Text Will Replace All Other Versions Read the original stories before Jews incorporated them into their pantheon. Here I review the whole book, not just Gilgamesh I will do that elsewhere I appreciate this collection as some of these selections helped me to understand better The Epic of Gilgamesh Since these are the myths were selected to accompany Gilgamesh, I am certain all these myths were selected to shed light on the epic Sometimes I see the connection clearly and sometimes dimly But always The GR group member making suggestions to me, told me that The Epic of Atrahasis The Flood would help with background information to the telling of the Flood in Gilgamesh He also suggested the selection Nergal and Ereshkigal as background for understanding the Underworld I would have preferred the longer form of Nergal and Ereshkigal rather than the shorter form included here Ancient Superwoman showing her stuff and making her claim of the throne of the Underworld Oh well Dalley the translator says that the shorter form is all that is needed to inform Gilgamesh I will find a copy elsewhere The short form is included to highlight inform an Underworld visit.I chose the Oxford edition over a knowledgeable yet basic Penguin edition I did not want the too much to grasp Norton Once again the Oxford has enough information to help an experienced reader who does not need deep understanding. A collection of stories from the beginning of civilisation20 June 2012 Okay, before I begin by discussion of this book, I will mention that the book itself was first published in 1989 and was edited by Stephanie Daley, however the reason that I have gone for the original dates is because I am interested in the content of the ancient myths than any commentary or translation There are many translations of these texts available on the internet or even in book form and Daley is really only one of many or not so many as the case may be that have looked at and translated these texts Okay, I cannot read cuneiform the Ancient Mesopotamian written language and I also suspect that there are numerous phrases and words that are difficult to translate, however while I will give credit to the translators for allowing me to access these stories, I generally do look beyond them to the original author whoever that may be Now I have already looked at three of the myths in this book elsewhere, the Atrahasis, the Epic of Gilgamesh, and the Enuma Elish, so I will not go over ground that I have previously explored However before I look at some of the other myths in this book there are a couple of things that I wish to point out First of all we encounter creatures with what appear to be untranslatable names, such as the Mushussu Dragon Now there is a page of drawings page 316 of this edition which includes pictures of some but not all of these creatures, so if you would like an idea of what they are referring to, look at that page Anyway, there is a Mushussu Dragon I originally wrote this prior to working out how to use HTML However there are some instances where we don t even have a description one case is that of Tiamat Now, being a roleplayer of old, I cannot help but envisage Tiamat as a multiheaded dragon.The truth is that there is no connection between the Dungeons and Dragons image of Tiamat above and the Mesopotamian image Maybe there is a drawing of her somewhere, but from the Enuma Elish, all we know is that she had a tail The myths I want to touch upon include Ishtar in the underworld Ishtar was a major female deity in Mesopotamian mythology, probably connected to the female deities in other religions such as Isus or Hera , however here we see her take on the role of Persephone in that she travels to the underworld However, unlike the Greek myth, she is not kidnapped, but goes down herself and performs a hostile takeover It is interesting, and we see a similar thing in the story of Nergal though that is a marriage in that to reach the underworld, she must not only pass through seven gates, but must perform a ritual at every gate, which involves her removing an item of clothing so that when she does reach the underworld she is naked Maybe that is a representation that in death we are not able to take anything with us, or maybe even a reflection that for us to be able to truly ascend or in her case descend, but remember this is a power grab one must dispense of all worldly wealth, which is what Ishtar has done We have another couple of myths, the Entana and the Anzu, which also seem to be stories of power grabs Unlike Ishtar and Nergal, this is not a power grab in the underworld apparently taking authority over the realm of the dead but rather a power grab in heaven We see quite a few of them, with Tiamat making a grab for power in the Elish Enuma The Anzu is detailed than the Elish Enuma as here we have Anzu stealing the Tablet of Destiny as a means of securing his authority in heaven It looks as if the authors of the Forgotten Realms Avatar Trilogy stole the idea from Mesopotamian mythology and it isn t the first time that the creators of Dungeons and Dragons have done that, as per my comment on Tiamat above Now, the Tablets of Destiny represent the law as handed down by the gods or at least the original creators of civilisation It appears that in stealing the tablets, Anzu gives himself authority because he now is the one who holds the law This is the nature of power in our world The legislators create the law, the executive enforces the law, and the judiciary interprets the law It is also a theme that runs through the Bible, in that he or she who holds the law has power and he or she who can create and enforce the law, has power Now I will finish off with a word on the structure of these stories While some of the stories Gilgamesh and Enuma Elish seem to be complete in themselves, others seem to simply be a bare bones outline There really does not seem to be much in the way of padding in these stories For instance in Nergal we have a list of seven gates which Nergal passed through to enter the underworld, however there is no indication of what Nergal confronted when passing through the gates, or what rituals were required to be performed as in the case of Ishtar My suspicion is that these clay tablets served a prods to memory that actually being the story itself, and if they were spoken as is, it would probably have taken no than 10 minutes to tell We see similar things in the Bible where we have a 10 minute sermon recorded, though it is likely that the writer only noted the salient points that we needed to know or understand The classic example is the Sermon on the Mount The Bible seems to suggest that Jesus taught a lot longer than what is recorded in Matthew and Luke I suggest that the same is the case here This is probably also a good explanation as to why the stories seem to change My final comment will be on the last myth in this book and that is Erra and Ishum At the very end of this story we have what could be considered an Ancient Assyrian copyright notice Assurbanipal pretty much says that this story was written by him, and woah betide anybody that attempts to plagerise his work It seems as if copyright and plagerism were as important back then as it is today Oh, and I should also mention that a number of names such as Marduk appear in the Bible as well, though they tend to refer to blind, death, and dumb idols That is not surprising because we are talking about people who, at the time that the biblical account was written, were long dead Okay, while a persons legacy may have an influence on future history such as Socrates praying to them and asking them for help is pointless they are dead What the Bible is doing is not undermining any reality that may have existed for these particular people, but rather pointing out the fruitlessness of ancestor worship If there is only one true God, and this one true God can hear and answer prayers, it is futile to pray to a dead person who, in reality, cannot respond. It s a middle of the road text, better than most, but far from complete I m not just talking about the missing fragments, either, although that s understandable We ve got ranges of over a thousand years of text printed in this volume, ignoring some older texts, like Inanna s descent being ignored in favor of Ishtar s elaborate, but nonetheless curtailed, descriptions The tale of Gilgamesh is almost always a required reading, of course, and the genesis story is very interesting, but we re still missing whole texts of Dumuzi or Tammuz which were nonetheless much important to the people of the times than was even brought up here in this text At best, I can say that this work is merely a short sampling of three whole civilization s written legends I suppose I m going to have to keep looking for a single source that collects and breaks down the altered generations of tales, perhaps even dovetailing their metamorphosis into early Greek and Zoroastrian It would be much too much to ask to see how Inanna became Aphrodite and Isis, or how they became Mary mother of Jesus I despair to see how Dumuzi the shepherd became the heart of rebirth and how his idea became Jesus It s just too much of a concept to touch upon this early in our day and age Quite a shame Then again, such concepts were probably too volatile for a mainstream edition and an editor thought it would be best to leave such works undisturbed for fear of shocking the plebs Of course, nowadays, such a fearless edition would probably be heralded as innovative and bright, but I m still looking Perhaps I d write one if I actually knew how to read the original text Alas I m stuck here. I ve been reading mythology since I was a kid, and I d read most of these tales before, but this is a superior presentation Most of the introductory and explanatory information in other books reads like a professor speaking to students Here we have a writer talking to readers I appreciated that very much For people who like stories from antiquity, this is a fun read For those who prefer current best sellers, don t bother The fragmentary nature of the stories will irritate you But if you like Greek mythology, for instance, this will be a natural expansion of your literary experience. PrefacePreface to Revised EditionList of FiguresSigla and AbbreviationsIntroductionChronological Chart Atrahasis Introduction Atrahasis Notes Gilgamesh Introduction The Epic of Gilgamesh, standard version Notes The Epic of Gilgamesh, Old Babylonian version Notes The Descent of Ishtar Introduction The Descent of Ishtar to the Underworld Notes Nergal and Ereshkigal Introduction Nergal and Ereshkigal, standard version Notes Nergal and Ereshkigal, Amarna version Notes Adapa Introduction Adapa Notes Etana Introduction Etana Notes Anzu Introduction Anzu, standard version Anzu, Old Babylonian version Notes The Epic of Creation Introduction The Epic of Creation Notes Theogony of Dunnu Introduction Theogony of Dunnu Notes Erra and Ishum Introduction Erra and Ishum Notes Glossary of Deities, Places, and Key TermsSelect BibliographySupplementary Passages Myths from Mesopotamia is a great read if you re intothe stories and of Ancient.It does help if you ve read summaries of the firstbecause they re translated from clay tablets which have suffered a lot of damage leaving many in the text.That said, it s great to have Epic of Gilgameshas it s the oldest hero story we have.I think the most moving part of that story is12 LINES MISSINGThe Epic of Creation is another good readespecially since it s intact.It s also a great in how a new powersupplants an old one, as Marduk, the god of Babylon,takes on the role of heroic creator once assigned to other deities.This is a must have for any of mythology.
Books can be attributed to Anonymous for several reasons They are officially published under that name They are traditional stories not attributed to a specific author They are religious texts not generally attributed to a specific author Books whose authorship is merely uncertain should be attributed to
- 339 pages
- Myths from Mesopotamia: Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others
- 13 March 2017 Anonymous