New Epic of Gilgamesh fragment discovered

Epic of Gilgamesh fragment discovered.JPG

Osama S. M. Amin reported “The Newly Discovered Tablet V of the Epic of Gilgamesh,” Ancient History et cetera, September 24, 2015 AD.


Osama S. M. Amin reported “The Newly Discovered Tablet V of the Epic of Gilgamesh,” Ancient History et cetera, September 24, 2015 AD.

This particular tale commences with the “US-led invasion of Iraq” during which “dramatic looting of Iraqi and other museums” took place. The Sulaymaniyah Museum “paid smugglers to ‘intercept’ archeological artifacts on their journey to other countries” and “In late 2011, the Sulaymaniyah Museum acquired a collection of clay tablets: The collection was composed of 80-90 tablets.” Of course, paying smugglers can open the door to all sorts of trouble yet, the risk seemed worth it during desperate times.

Whence, exactly, came the tablets is unknown. They were first inspected by Prof. Farouk Al-Rawi of the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. Along with the group of tablets he did find some fakes and yet, one in particular caught his eye, a tablet “composed of 3 fragments…already joined together…by whom, the excavators or the smugglers? We’ll never know.”

Then, in 2012 AD, “work started on reading and translating the cuneiform texts,” which is #T.1447 in the Sulaymaniyah Museum, and it was found that the “tablet is inscribed in Neo-Babylonian cuneiform language and represents the left half of the sixth tablet column.”
The museum dates the tablet to 2003-1595 BC. F. N. H. Al-Rawi and A. R. George’s article, “Back to the Cedar Forest: The beginning and end of Tablet V of the Standard Babylonian Epic of Gilgameš,” Journal of Cuneiform Studies, Vol. 66 (2014), pp. 69-90 (Published by: American Schools of Oriental Research. DOI: 10.5615/jcunestud.66.2014.0069) offer a very different estimate of 626-539 BC. It appears that the recension of the text was conducted in Babylonia and Assyria.

Epic of Gilgamesh fragment discovered.JPG

The tablet makes the Epic of Gilgamesh circa twenty lines longer and the Neo-Assyrian is duplicated so as to allow for filling in the gaps between previously known versions. Some of the reverse of the tablet duplicate a late Babylonian tablet found at Uruk.

The Epic’s Cedar Forest gains added descriptive information including that Gilgamesh and Enkidu saw “monkeys” therein. Also, the sounds of cicada, vocalizations of the monkeys and bird songs are enjoyed by Humbaba. He, in turn, is essentially recast not as the previously thought barbarian ogre but as a ruler visiting and enjoying various forms of entertainment enjoyed by Babylonian kings.