Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter August 11, 2018

Enkidu and the Harlot: Another Fragment of Old Babylonian Gilgameš

A. R. George

Abstract

This article presents a newly deciphered Old Babylonian fragment of the Epic of Gilgameš. The passages of text preserved on it tell of Enkidu’s encounter with the prostitute and of his arrival in the city of Uruk, and clarify the relationship between other sources for the same episode. The perceived difference between the Old and Standard Babylonian poems’ treatment of Enkidu’s seduction disappears. The extant versions can be reconciled in a single narrative, common to all versions, that holds two different weeks of sexual intercourse. The different narrative strategies deployed in describing them are one of the ways in which the poem explores Enkidu’s psychological development as he changes from wild man to socialized man.

Published Online: 2018-08-11
Published in Print: 2018-07-16

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