The Epic of Gilgamesh

From Fanlore
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Name: The Epic of Gilgamesh
Abbreviation(s): Gilgamesh
Creator: unknown/various
Date(s): from c. 2100 BC
Medium: epic poem, originally on clay tablets
Country of Origin: ancient Mesopotamia
External Links: Epic of Gilgamesh at Wikipedia
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

The Epic of Gilgamesh is an epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia that is often regarded as the earliest surviving great work of literature.[1]

It can also be considered the earliest surviving example of fanfiction, in the sense that it is a communal story built from previous tales (including earlier Sumerian poems) and oral tradition, and probably based on a real historical king.

In turn, some postulate that the Epic of Gilgamesh may have influenced other great historical narratives, such as stories of the Hebrew Bible or Homer's epic poems.[2]

In modern fandom and some scholarly study, the relationship between Gilgamesh and his close friend and companion Enkidu is of primary interest. Some interpret it as a canonical same-sex romantic or sexual relationship—historians generally agree the tale uses "erotic" terms to describe the relationship[3]—while others see it as a example of "epic friendship".[4]

Gilgamesh in Other Fandoms

Star Trek:

Fate/stay night:

Final Fantasy:

  • Gilgamesh and Enkidu are recurring characters in a number of the Final Fantasy games (although without in-universe continuity). Gilgamesh first appears as a boss in Final Fantasy V. See Gilgamesh and Enkidu at Final Fantasy Wiki.

Fan Comments

Willful blindness to slash remind me of a lit class I once took. It was called THE NOVEL, and the first "novel" we had to read was The Epic of Gilgamesh. There was a part that described the way Gilgamesh took Enkidu in his arms and "loved him as a woman." Hmm! Maybe this class wasn't going to be as dry as I feared... One of my classmates raised his hand and spoke the question that was in all our minds: were Gilgamesh and Enkidu gay? The prof about had a cow. "Of course not," he sputtered, and proceeded to chastise us for our dirty minds. Not sure if this is what you get for taking humanities classes at an engineering school, or if it was typical of the '80s undergraduate experience. [5]

Example Fanworks

Gilgamesh/Enkidu banner by ninurta (2004). The text reads: "Gilgamesh/Enkidu: history's first lovers".




Links & Resources


  1. ^ Epic of Gilgamesh at Wikipedia, accessed 25 February 2018.
  2. ^ See Epic of Gilgamesh: Later influence at Wikipedia (accessed 25 February 2018). Also discussed in the 2018 essay "In defense of fanfiction" by LightningStreak.
  3. ^ The British Museum, Same-sex desire - Heroic love in Mesopotamia (accessed 25 February 2018):
    Before [Gilgamesh and Enkidu] meet Gilgamesh is told 'You will love him as a wife, you will dote on him'.

    Such intimacy does not necessarily involve sexual desire. However, some historians have debated whether particular words or phrases in their story could be understood sexually, and whether Gilgamesh and Enkidu are not just friends but lovers: a ‘homosocial’ relationship or a ‘homosexual’ one? There is no clear sexual contact, but the relationship is described in erotic terms.

  4. ^ List of Fan-fiction Kinks, Tropes, and Clichés by Anna S, 2006.
  5. ^ from Strange Bedfellows (APA) #8 (1995)