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Everyday Life in Ancient Mesopotamia$
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Jean Bottero

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780748613878

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748613878.001.0001

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The Epic of Gilgamesh

The Epic of Gilgamesh

(p.230) Chapter 14 The Epic of Gilgamesh
Everyday Life in Ancient Mesopotamia

Jean Bottéro


An explanation of the impressive and fascinating work of which Gilgamesh is the hero is worthwhile for more than one reason. From the last part of the third millennium, a profound change took place in Mesopotamia, the indirect consequence of the final elimination of the Sumerian section of the population, which was absorbed and swallowed by the Semitic component. The Sumerians' cultural pre-dominance was succeeded by the rise to prominence of the Semites, Akkadians. From then on the sole possessors of their ancient patrimony, they were at that time reinforced by a fresh wave of their brethren – immigrants in their turn – whose most famous son, Hammurabi, created a large, enduring and prosperous kingdom centred on the city of Babylon. From that period, some ten scattered fragments, in Akkadian, relating to Gilgamesh, were found. In texture, tone and range they are very different from the Sumerian legends.

Keywords:   Gilgamesh, Mesopotamia, Sumerians, Akkadians, patrimony, immigrants, Hammurabi, Babylon

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