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What is the "Epic of Gilgamesh"?

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Quick Answer

“The Epic of Gilgamesh” is an ancient story about a Sumerian king who lived in 2500 BCE Mesopotamia. Gilgamesh starts out as a corrupt king, but he learns how to become good over the course of the story.

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Gilgamesh is an oppressive king of Uruk. He is such a terrible ruler that his people ask the gods for help. The gods create a wild man called Enkidu to battle Gilgamesh. After Gilgamesh and Enkidu fight, they become friends. They travel, encounter monsters and face adventures together. This friendship causes Gilgamesh to become a better person and ruler. When Enkidu dies, Gilgamesh is devastated by the loss. Gilgamesh sets out to discover the secret to eternal life; he does not find it, but he learns to accept human mortality.

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