The Epic of Gilgamesh - Robert B. Fitzpatrick, PLLC

Myths, Legends, and Tales
Your teacher: Robert Fitzpatrick
Class Rules
Only one person talks at a time.
When somebody speaks in class, be a respectful,
engaged listener.
Use the bathroom before class.
Treat others and your surroundings as you would like
to be treated.
Be a positive class participant at all times.
Ziggurats were massive
structures built in the
Mesopotamian valley.
Each was part of a
temple complex that
included other
Unlike the pyramids,
ziggurats were not
Behistun Rock Inscriptions
The key to translating
Akkadian was discovered by
Henry Rawlinson.
Rawlinson heard of
inscriptions carved into a
rock cliff 300 feet in the air.
He investigated, and
discovered over 1,000 lines of
cuneiform inscriptions
written in three languages.
The inscriptions were at
Behistun in northwest Iran.
Behistun Rock Inscriptions
Rawlinson risked his life
many times to copy the
He published his
findings in 1846,
allowing translations of
Akkadian inscriptions
Henry Rawlinson Falling Off
the Behistun Rock Face
The Wheel
Evidence of wheeled
vehicles appeared in the
4th millennium
B.C./B.C.E. nearly
simultaneously in
Mesopotamia, the
Northern Caucuses and
Central Europe.
No one knows which
culture discovered the
wheel first.
The Arch
Arches appeared as early
as the 2nd millennium
B.C./B.C.E. in
Mesopotamian brick
The Arch of Ctesiphon
Ctesiphon was one
of the great cities
of ancient
located on the east
bank of the Tigris
Today, in modern
Iraq, a great arch
from ancient
times still stands.
The Dome
People around the world
have been building
domes for millennia, but
the development of
more sophisticated
domes built with
enduring materials is not
well documented.
Barrel Vault
A barrel vault is a
structure consisting of a
continuous surface of
semicircular or pointed
sections. It resembles a
barrel or tunnel.
Barrel vaults were used
in ancient Mesopotamia
and ancient Egypt.
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age came after the Stone Age but before
the Iron Age.
Bronze Age
Bronze is a metal
alloy consisting
primarily of copper,
with tin as the main
Bronze dates to the
late fourth
Origins of Tin and Copper
Archaeologists have not
yet been able to
determine where the
tin used in
Mesopotamia came
from. Maybe as far away
as the Indus Valley.
Copper mines have
been operational in
what is now known as
Oman since 2000
Tin Ore
Copper Ore
Sumerian Metal Casting
Metal casting is a manufacturing process in which liquid
metal is poured into a mold and allowed to solidify.
People have been using this technique for 6000 years,
starting with copper and tin to make bronze.
Cylinder Seal
A cylinder seal is a
cylinder engraved with a
pictures story, used in
ancient times to roll an
impression onto a twodeimensional surface,
usually wet clay.
Cylinder seals were
invented around 3500
B.C./B.C.E. in southern
War Chariots
The ancient Sumerians used chariots in battle against
their enemies.
The Winged Bull of Nineveh
A Lamassu is a
Sumerian protective
deity, often
depicted with a bull
or lion’s body,
eagle’s wings, and a
human head.
The Great Fatted Bull
The Great Fatted Bull is a
story written on a tablet in
Mesopotamia around 2000
The story is part murder
mystery, part political
satire, and entirely written
in code!
Luckily, the author left a
key to the code imbedded
in the story itself.
Ningishzida is a
Mesopotamian deity
of the underworld.
His name in
Sumerian is
translated as “lord of
the good tree.”
Ningishzida is the
earliest known
symbol of snakes
twining around a
A River Delta
The Tigris and
Euphrates join
north of the Persian
Gulf, and flow now
as one river into the
Gulf, creating a
delta called the
Shatt al-Arab Delta.
Changing Geography – The
Tigris/Euphrates Delta
As silt flows down the
Tigris and Euphrates
rivers, it settles where
the rivers meet the
Persian Gulf.
Over the centuries, the
land has grown as more
and more silt is
The ancient city of Ur
used to be on the coast,
but now it is about 120
miles inland.
Tigris and Euphrates Trade
Origin of Deltas
Why do we call
these river deltas?
Because it resembles
the three sided letter
of the Greek
alphabet named
The Ancient Middle East
Sumerian City-States
The Death Pits of Ur
In the 1920s and 30s, Leonard Woolley discovered around 2,500
graves at the ancient city of Ur in Mesopotamia.
Woolley discovered that the elite of Ur were buried with an
impressive quantity of precious goods, as well as members of their
In one “death pit,” Woolley discovered 6 male and 68 female
servants, many dressed up for the big day.
The First Known Board Game
Players of the game of Ur took the rules to their
graves 4,500 years ago. We’ll never know how to
play the world’s oldest known board game.
Archaeologists guest by asking questions:
Do the game pieces look like any modern pieces?
How many kinds of pieces are there?
Based on the pieces, how many players were
Is the board a track? Where does it start and end?
The dice are pyramids with two out of for corners
marked. How do they work?
Did backgammon evolve from this game?
Carbon-14 Dating
Carbon-14 dating is a
method of determining
estimated ages for organic
materials. It was
introduced in 1949 by Dr.
Willard Libby.
Carbon-14 exists in all
organic material, and
decays over time. We can
determine how long
something has existed by
measuring how much the
Carbon-14 has decayed.
Sexagesimal System
The Sexagesimal System is a base-60 system of
counting. We count time using a base-60 system.
Sexagesimal System
An ancient currency known
as shekels were counted
using a base-60 system.
60 shekels = 1 mina (about
a pound).
60 minas = 1 talent.
180 barleycorns = 1 shekel.
The Sumerians had a “salinization”
problem. Evaporating salt water left
behind layers of salt, and the salt
made it difficult to grow wheat.
Sumerians wrote of the whole earth
turning white with salt.
By 1800 B.C./B.C.E., salinzation
had greatly diminished agriculture
in southern Mesopotamia.
Barley is more tolerant of salt then
wheat, so the Sumerians began
growing more barley.
The Great Flood
George Smith and the Great
The Great Flood
The Great Flood - Geography
The Strait of Gibraltar is very narrow. The strait, which
separates Europe and Africa, is just 9 miles wide at its
narrowest point.
The Great Flood - Geography
The Bosporus and the Dardanelles:
The Great Flood - Geography
The currents of the
Bosporus flow in two
different directions.
The current at the top
of the water flows
north to south, while
the current at the
bottom flows south to
The Great Flood - Geography
The Great Flood - Geography
The Royal Road
The Royal Road was an ancient highway built by the
Persians in the 5th Century B.C./B.C.E.
It stretched from the Mediterranean Sea east all the
way to the Hindu Kush.
Lapis Lazuli
Lapis Lazuli has been
collected form the
mines of the
Badakhshan province of
Afghanistan for over
6000 years.
Marco Polo visited
Badakhshan during his
Vermeer and Lapis Lazuli
Here are two masterpieces painted by Johannes
Vermeer using paint made from lapis lazuli:
Young Woman With a Water
Pitcher, ca. 1662
Woman in Blue Reading a Letter,
ca. 1662-63
Lapis Lazuli
Lapis Lazuli
Lapis Lazuli
Lapis Lazuli
Lapis Lazuli Trade Routes
Carnelian is a brownish-red
mineral which is commonly
used as a semi-precious
Carnelian has been used
for decorative purposes
dating back to 1800
Sumerian men devoted great care to oiling and
dressing their beards, using tongs and curlers to create
elaborate ringlets and tiered patterns.
Marsh Arabs
The “Marsh Arabs” are inhabitants of the TigrisEuphrates marshlands.
Scorpion-Man and His Wife
Scorpion-Man was the guard to the door where the sun
went at night. He told Gilgamesh not to walk through
the door because it was 12 leagues and it was very, very
Ut-napishtim and His Wife
Ut-napishtim was the only man ever made immortal,
but he was not the only person. Ut-napishtim’s wife
was also made immortal, but her name never appears
in Ut-napishtim’s story or elsewhere.
Ishtar is the Assyrian
and Babylonian
goddess of fertility,
love, and war.
Enheduanna: The World’s
First Known Poetess
Enheduanna was named by her
father, Sargon, to be the high
priestess of An, the god of
heaven at Uruk, and Nanna, the
moon god at Ur.
Sargon named Enheduanna the
high priestess of both gods to
reconcile the Sumerians and
Akkadians in his empire.
Enheduanna was so successful
that Sumerian kings after Sargon
continued to appoint their
daughters as priestesses of Ur
and Uruk.
The Yazidi are members of a Kurdish religion living in
northern Iraq.
Yazdanism blends elements of pre-Islamic
Mesopotamian religious traditions with Christianity
and Islam.
Zoroastrianism was
once one of the
world’s largest
religions. It was
founded before the 6th
century B.C./B.C.E.
based on the teachings
of the prophet
Zoroaster in Persia.
The symbols of
Zoroastrianism are the
serpent and peacock.
Sumerian Language
Sumerian is the language of
ancient Sumer, which was
spoken in Mesopotamia since
at least the 4th Millennium
To the right is a tablet carved
with Sumerian text. It is a
letter from the high-priest
Lu’enna to the king of Lagash
telling the king that his son
died in combat.
Sumerian is called an “isolate”
language, as it is not related to
any other language.
The Sumerian language is
Birthstones originated when each of the twelve tribes of ancient
Israel was assigned a particular stone as an identifying stone on the
high priest’s breastplate. Over time, the stones lost their meaning
and became “birthstones.”
The Nile Delta
The Nile Delta
The Nile River flows from south to north into the Mediterranean
Sea, creating a delta.
The Nile Delta
The Nile Delta
Papyrus scrolls from the library at