Ribbity Blog

baqqa mqarqra
A Frog's-eye view

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Friday, July 18, 2003

The world's oldest buddy-story has just been re-issued according to the following notice:

A. R. George, The Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic. Introduction, Critical Edition and Cuneiform Texts. 2 vols. xxxv, 986 pp., 147 pls. Oxford: OUP, July 2003. ISBN 0-19-814922-0. GBP 175.00 (Hardback)

The Babylonian Gilgamesh epic is the oldest long poem in the world, with a history going back four thousand years. It tells the fascinating and moving story of Gilgamesh's heroic deeds and lonely quest for immortality.

George has studied personally every available extant fragment of the text of the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh to produce a critical edition that is definitive but also honest about the many problems of decipherment that still beset the reader. Essentially a task of old-fashioned philology, the work involved the reconstruction of a reliable text from the different fragments that are witness to each passage and presenting it as a variorum edition.

The sources are segregated by period, Old Babylonian, Middle Babylonian, early Neo-Assyrian and Standard Babylonian. The edition is prefaced by four introductory chapters that place the various versions of the epic in the context of the history of Babylonian literature and the scribal cuneiform tradition, and document the name, person and traditions of Gilgamesh and other characters in the poem. The plates present the cuneiform text of all the extant fragments of the epic, mostly in hand-copies prepared especially for the book.

At 175 pounds sterling, a bargain. Order your copy now!

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