Home > 4. Gilgamesh > This is What Happened to Gilgamesh

This is What Happened to Gilgamesh

File:Cylinder seal king Louvre AO6620 n2.jpg

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What has happened to RT’s version of Gilgamesh? The short answer is: tablet 4. Ah, tablet 4, which may end up being the most difficult of all the tablets.

Why?

Tablet 4 is one of the most poorly preserved tablets in Gilgamesh. Very little of the tablet would be known if it weren’t for the tablet’s highly repetitive structure: it tells the story of Gilgamesh and Enkidu’s crossing of seven mountains on their way to the Cedar Forest. All the translations and versions out there assume that the seven segments the tablet falls into were nearly identical–only the dream Gilgamesh has on each mountain (and Enkidu’s interpretation of the dream) is different.

RT isn’t so certain about that. It seems to him that each segment would vary at least slightly in detail, if for no other reason than to keep the audience’s attention. In fact, RT has found that reconstructing this tablet involves a great deal of research into topics as varied as ancient magical practice, high-altitude sickness, and the primeval flora and fauna of the Euphrates-Tigris basin. To maintain the strict structuring of the original text while varying language, incident, and tone is also no easy task.

Back in September, RT thought he had a pretty good version, but after a friend whose opinion he respects got back to him with a “maybe a rewrite here or there might not hurt” critique, RT plunged back into the translation fray. And the good news is: at last the light at the end of the tunnel is plainly visible. The language is sounding more supple, the details are looking a lot more plausible, and the tablet is beginning to read like a continuous story.

Three weeks? A month? RT’s fingers are crossed–when tablet 4 is finished, the online edition of the first four tablets will appear. RT thanks his readers for their patience!!!

RT

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Photo: Cylinder-Seal Portraying a Priest King, from the Louvre. WikiCmns. Public Domain. Photographer: Marie-Lan Nguyen.

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  1. December 23, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Salivation and expectation ( though somewhat patient)..

  2. December 24, 2012 at 4:39 am

    SH: salivation and expectoration? salvation and expectation? this looks like one of my edits on tablet 4… 😉 RT

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