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This rendition of the ancient Babylonian deluge is filled with vivid, directly sourced accounts surrounding the Assyrian Royal Library's discovery.
Published by renowned archaeologist E. A. Wallis Budge in 1920, what were then recent finds from the ancient world remain a subject of marvel. Several of the tablets tell of the legendary floods, and are now housed in the University of Yale, being periodically displayed to the public as some of the most complete examples of ancient stone cuneiform carving and literature.
After an account of each tablet is given, Budge delves into the core of the subject matter - the tales writ upon the stones. Both the flood myths and the Epic of Gilgamesh are explained at length, with a close reading of the text translated to English. For ease of digestion, the dialogue and narrative is presented much as a popular short story would be, whilst losing very little of the essence the ancients sought to express.
The tablets reveal a culture which was not simply rich in storytelling, but in all aspects of society. The convivial drinking of ale is referred to, aspects of military fort building, commerce between settlements, and the life in the countryside around the Euphrates river. The theme of strong friendship and the bonds therein are a vivid theme in the Gilgamesh epic, retaining their power and substance thousands of years after being committed to stone.