The Buried Foundation of the Gilgamesh Epic

The Akkadian Huwawa Narrative


The Akkadian Gilgamesh Epic, perhaps the most famous of Mesopotamian literature, has been considered the artistry of one author inspired by Sumerian tales. Specialists have assumed that all the earliest evidence (ca. 1800-1700 BCE) reflects this creative unity. Deep contrasts in characterization and narrative logic, however, distinguish the central adventure to defeat the monster Huwawa from what precedes and follows it. The Huwawa narrative stands on its own, so that the epic must have been composed from this prior Akkadian composition. Recognition of the tale embedded in the epic allows each block of material to be understood on its own terms. Such literary-historical investigation from contemporary texts is new to Assyriology and may produce important results when applied to other Mesopotamian writing.

"The book is well written and tightly argued...This makes it a first point of reference for anyone interested in the OB evidence for the Gilgamesh Epic."
Scott C. Jones, Covenant College


EUR €115.00USD $144.00

Biographical Note

Daniel E. Fleming, Ph.D. (Harvard 1990), is Professor of Assyriology and Hebrew Bible at New York University. He has published three books on ancient Syria, as represented by the archives of Emar and Mari.

Sara J. Milstein (New York University Ph.D., projected 2010) is interested in the reading of revised texts in antiquity. Working primarily from Judges and Gilgamesh, her dissertation is entitled, Expanding Ancient Narratives: Revision through Introduction in Biblical and Mesopotamian Texts.

Table of contents

Chapter One- Introduction
Chapter Two- Enkidu’s First Steppe: Competing Portraits of Enkidu in Yale and Penn
ChapterThree- Defining the Bounds of the Akkadian Huwawa Narrative
Chapter Four- From Sumerian to Akkadian: Major Innovations in the Akkadian Huwawa Tale
Chapter Five- Behind Penn: Old Babylonian Introductions to the Huwawa Narrative and to the Epic
Chapter Six- Conclusion


Scholars and students in ancient literature, especially of the Near East, including the fields of Assyriology, Hebrew Bible, and Homeric and early Greek literature.


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