The Gilgamesh Epic

Gilgamesh is by far the longest of all these compositions. The main hero was the ruler of Uruk during the middle of the third millennium BC. Tales were told about Him in Sumerian but nothing has been recovered from that early time period. There are many compositions about Gilgamesh from the Babylonian periods but the classic text is the 12-tablet epic, which became the canonical version.

Gilgamesh Tablet
This is part of a tablet on which the Epic of Gilgamesh, a
Babylonian version of the Flood, is recorded. (2000 BC).

According to the epic, Gilgamesh, was one-third God and two-thirds man. He was in his city Uruk when he heard of a strange man, Enkidu, living with the wild beasts. He persuaded a prostitute to lure Enkidu to Uruk, where Gilgamesh wrestled with him to test his strength. They became friends and went on many adventures together which included killing the monster Humbaba in Cedar Forest in the West. When Enkidu died Gilgamesh was stricken with grief and he set out to find the secret of immortality from the one man who had survived the ancient flood, Ut-napishtim. After hearing the story of the deluge, Gilgamesh sought, found, but then tragically lost the plant of life.