I’ve been reading about the Sumerians and the Epic of Gilgamesh, an epic tale (or poem) that is found on a tablet that is the second oldest surviving piece of “literature” in the world.
The tale of Gilgamesh was discovered in 1849 CE by the archaeologist Austin Henry Layard (that is almost 4000 years old). Interestingly the Bible – previously thought to be the oldest book in the world and comprised of original stories – actually drew upon much older Sumerian and Babylonian myths and poems such as the Epic of Gilgamesh.
But what interests me more than the actual tale of Gilgamesh is the fact that I came to the realization that history is not always told by those who survive. If you look at the Roman Empire you can come to the conclusion that the history we know is shaped by them in a large way seeing as they simply killed and destroyed everyone and everything else that didn’t align with their views and beliefs. We will never know about people, artists, beliefs, Gods?, religions that existed in their time that they completely wiped off the face of the earth.
But then the truth has a to way make itself known. And if you look at the bible then you will no doubt agree that historically it is the most influential piece of middle-eastern text found. But is it the only one? Enter the Babylonians and even before them the Sumerians. I am fascinated by the stories, artifacts, myths and scary stuff that these guys were up to. But back to the old Babylonian and Sumarian tablets, The story of Gilgamesh makes it easily the oldest and definitely the second most influential piece of ancient text.
The Sumerian and their Anunnaki “Gods” make for some very interesting conversations.
But the main point of this post was this:
Growing up as a Christian I never considered looking at the religions or Gods that The Israelites were facing off against in the old testament. I never thought that the only reason why we learned about the Israelites is because they survived to tell the tale (according to them). We never got to knew the stories and histories of these other nations that existed, and may have possibly believed in a God or Gods that carried just as much weight and beauty.