“Gilgamesh: Fame haunts the man who visits Hell, who lives to tell my entire tale identically. So like a sage, a trickster or saint, Gilgamesh was a hero who knew secrets and saw forbidden places.” Epic of Gilgamesh Tablet 1, Column 1
"God's blessing is on him [George W. Bush]. It's the blessing of heaven on the emperor." ~ Pat Robertson, evangelist
During a recent conversation, centered on the ancient Sumerian Kings List, in which my brother and I were discussing the ancient Sumerian king Gilgamesh; I was suddenly struck by the parallels we have in history with current events today.
If you have ever tried to unravel the identity of historical and mythical figures of the ancient world, you were immediately struck with how intertwined the names and identities of each god or goddess are when compared to many historical figures, and the gods and goddesses of competing ancient cultures.
As an example let's take the historical king Gilgamesh (“The old man is a young man”) of the ancient Sumerians (ca. 2600 BC). In many ancient texts he is described as two-thirds god and one-third man and later as the “King of Earth.”
It is during the Old Akkadian Empire (ca. 2300 BC) that Gilgamesh becomes a cult figure who is given the status of god. As a god he is worshipped throughout the ancient world under various names, some of which are readily recognizable; Dumuzi, “Son of the Abyss,” the ever-dying, ever-reviving Sumerian savior. In the Sumero-Babylonian myths, he found fame as Dumuzi-absu, Tammuz, "child of the abyss.” He was also known as Osiris in Egypt, Adon (Adonis) to the Phoenicians, Dionysus to the Greeks and Bacchus along with Janus in Roman worship.
However, it is the historical kingship of Gilgamesh with which we are most concerned.
Gilgamesh is listed in the Sumerian kings list as having built and ruled at Uruk (Erech of Genesis 10:10), in southern Mesopotamia, as the 5th ruler of the first dynasty during the first half of the 3rd millennium BC. Thus, Gilgamesh stands as a contemporary of the historical king Agga1, ruler of the ancient city Kish; located 8 miles east of ancient Babylon.
As king, Gilgamesh is variously known throughout ancient Sumerian texts as Gilgame, Bilgamesh, or Bilgames. The Babylonian's texts called him, Izdubar or Gishdubar. In the Greek histories this king is the founder of Nineveh, called Ninus, and is identical to the Scriptural despot, Nimrod, of Genesis 10:9.
Early Akkadian versions of the Gilgamesh epic, dating back to the first half of the 3rd millennium BC, describe Gilgamesh as "surpassing all other kings." In this epithet we are constantly reminded that Gilgamesh, by whatever name and in whatever age, stood as the very epitome of terror and tyranny.
His own epics claims that he was a tyrant of such magnitude that he demanded the right of the bridegroom on the first night with each and every man's bride he chose. Nor do the ancient texts stop there, for some texts say that there was no virgin or wife safe from his decrees of lust.2
Texts all vicariously agree with the Biblical Nimrod, that Gilgamesh was a war king who forced others to bow to his will; that brute force was his first line of persuasion in any disagreement.
As a king of violence then we shouldn't be surprised to hear that once Gilgamesh, as the Biblical Nimrod, had firm control of his kingdom in Shinar (Southern Iraq) he immediately turned his attention to invading and conquering Assyria (the territory of Syria today). This undoubtedly is the impetus behind Gilgamesh's proud declaration that "he commanded walls for Uruk and for Eanna, our holy ground, walls that you can see still; walls where the weary widows of dead soldiers weep."
So frequent and violent were Gilgamesh's indiscriminate uses of power that peoples everywhere, under his authority, cried out to the gods for relief. This brutality and tyranny followed him into his rites as a god, so much so, that long before the Christian era, in Egypt, Rome, Greece and everywhere in the near east where he was worshipped, as Tammuz, he was also seen as the devil incarnate.
It is perhaps ironic that when we are first introduced to Gilgamesh, we are told he is a man of "great beauty and physical prowess;" a man who rules with all knowledge and wisdom. The source of this great wisdom comes about because it is “he who saw the Deep” [that is, that Gilgamesh has exclusive access to the mystic occult domain of the god of wisdom, Ea]. Thus, his instructions, commands and wars come about as a direct personal relationship with Ea, in which Gilgamesh received specific instructions from the Sumerian god who governed the arts of sorcery and incantation.
It has been nearly 5000 years since the historical figure Gilgamesh reigned in Iraq and once again this ancient people, of Iraq, are oppressed by a king who attributes differ little from that of Gilgamesh.
It is too our lasting shame that we have allowed a ruler with an occult background, who pretends to know the will of God, to profit from his "right" to use savage violence to suppress an ancient people. However, this time it is not in the name of the god, Ea. Our "Skull and Bones" President erects and worships at the blood drenched altar built in the name of the god, democracy, while flaunting the ecclesiastical banner of the labarum as his standard.
We need to continually remind ourselves that, like Gilgamesh, President Bush's code of conduct exists as a code of power and terror, which differs dramatically from the code dictated by natural and supernatural law which is honored by honest men and women.
- Falsehoods are not only acceptable, they are a necessity. The corollary is: The masses will accept any lie if it is spoken with vigor, energy and dedication.
- It is necessary to be cast under the cloak of “goodness” whereas all opponents and their ideas must be cast as “evil.”
- Complete destruction of every opponent must be accomplished through unrelenting personal attacks.
- The creation of the appearance of overwhelming power and brutality is necessary in order to destroy the will of opponents to launch opposition of any kind.
Is it any wonder that peoples who have fallen under this tyranny of divine "leadership" feel oppressed to the point of pleading with their God for relief? No, President Bush has not availed himself of another's wife, (at least not that we know about), but we are not far removed from the act of personal rape by the theft of our personal wealth, the bloody sacrifice of our young men and women for an illegal war, and a moribund governmental behemoth.
What then do we say about the dead in Iraq whose lives have been stripped from them due to a plethora of lies, and the demented use of power? Are the legions of dead comforted knowing that, like Gilgamesh, President Bush seeks immortality through conquest, death, and fanciful canards? No, peace to the sacrificial dead comes in knowing that in the wake of any search for immortality, only the anguish of those who have lost loved ones to this insane lust and who will never be satisfied with anything short of vengeance remains.
"We will export death and violence to the four corners of the earth…," exclaimed President Bush. Perhaps then, it is fitting that President Bush's kingdom really begins in Iraq and now he eyes Iraq's northern neighbor, the state of Syria. As with his ancient predecessor many will be forced to bow to President Bush's will, but from their lips will also come a curse for "the great Satan." A curse that many ages from now may find America equated with Babylon in every form of evil and President Bush seen as the devil incarnate.
The central themes of Gilgamesh's epics revolve around the fear of death, human longing for life and eternal renown; the vanity of a deluded hero’s quests and the folly of the pursuit of immortality.
Even Gilgamesh on his death bed had to be reminded that he, like every ruler, is just a mortal: "Oh Gilgamesh! Enlil, the Great Mountain, the father of gods, has made kingship your destiny, but not eternal life… You must have been told that this is what the bane of being human involves. You must have been told that this is what the cutting of your umbilical cord involved. The darkest day of humans awaits you now."
The earth has made nearly 5,000 orbits around the sun since Gilgamesh was king of Iraq. The world has seen rulers and kings, of every description, come and go. Great nations have risen from obscure peoples to become empires then disappear from the stage of history, back into obscurity. However, humanity, in general, seems to have learned nothing but how to continue to build walls, and inscribe them with the names of their war dead below the most ancient implied declaration of greed, lust, and megalomania: "The King commanded these walls, our holy ground, walls that you can see still; walls where the weary widows of dead soldiers weep."
- Enmebaragesi fl. ca. 2700 BC also spelled Enmebaragisi, also called ME-BARAGESI, king of Kish, in northern Babylonia, and the first historical personality of Mesopotamia. Enmebaragesi is known from inscriptions about him on fragments of vases of his own time, as well as from later traditions. He was the next-to-last ruler of the first dynasty of Kish. He “despoiled the weapons of the land of Elam,” one inscription asserts. His son, Agga, was the last king of the dynasty, owing to his defeat by Gilgamesh, according to the Sumerian epic "Gilgamesh and Agga of Kish."
- "And with them all he goes howling through sanctuaries. But would he ever let his child come to see him ravish others? Is this shepherd of Uruk’s flocks, our strength, our light, our reason, who hoards the girls of other men for his own purpose?" Epic of Gilgamesh Tablet 1, Column 2, Line 50
March 4, 2005