Gilgamesh (the first superhero)

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The Epic of Gilgamesh – Lesson 2-3 Name______________________________

Gilgamesh (the first superhero)

The ancient Sumerians were great story tellers. Thousands of years ago, they created the story of Gilgamesh. 

Gilgamesh is one of the oldest recorded stories in the world. It's about an ancient King of Uruk who may have actually existed and whose name - Gilgamesh - is on the Sumerian King List.  

According to the story, Gilgamesh was not just a hero. He was the first superhero! He was part god and part human. He had many special powers. 

Here is one little piece of the Epic of Gilgamesh, very loosely retold: 

Once upon a time, a long time ago, King Gilgamesh sat alone in his garden, thinking things over. Something was bothering him. He loved being king of all his people. That was good. He was strong enough to pick up mountains, which was handy on occasion. He could dive down to the deepest point in the ocean and back again in one breath! But he could not fly. And he could not live forever. 

It was that "could not live forever" part that really got his camel. After all, wasn't he a god? Well, two-thirds of a god? 

Maybe it was that, but for whatever reason, Gilgamesh was very bored. He had run out of cities to conquer. All the monsters ran away the minute they heard he was coming. He had nothing to do that was any fun at all except scare his subject silly with his tempers and his tantrums.

The gods looked down and decided that Gilgamesh needed a challenge. They created a really wild man, who was stronger and faster than Gilgamesh. They named their creation Enkidu. 

The gods sent Enkidu down to earth, to cut Gilgamesh down to size. Enkidu went roaring into the city of Uruk, where Gilgamesh had his palace. 

Gilgamesh perked up immediately. The two men/gods roared and wrestled and bit and scratched, but neither could beat the other. They started laughing and became the best of friends. 

Since there was nothing much to do around town, arm in arm, the two god/men marched off to the forbidden forest, looking for monsters to battle. 

When the citizens of Uruk heard their king had left town in search of adventure elsewhere, they were most relieved. They wished their king the best of adventures with his new friend, Enkidu.

*Complete the following – when necessary write your answers in complete sentences.

  1. ____________________ is one of the __________________ recorded stories in the world. This epic is thousands of years old and was first told by the ancient ______________________.

  1. According to the story, Gilgamesh was a hero. He was part _______ and part _______________. He had many special _____________________.

  1. What was bothering King Gilgamesh? (2 reasons)


  1. Why was King Gilgamesh bored? (3 reasons)


  1. Who decided that Gilgamesh needed a challenge? What was the challenge?

  1. Describe what happens when Gilgamesh and Enkidu first meet?

  1. Who won the battle between Gilgamesh and Enkidu?

  1. Why did Gilgamesh and Enkidu march into the forbidden forest?

  1. Why do you think the citizens of Uruk were relieved when their king left in search of adventure?

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