Adaptations of the Epic of Gilgamesh

Adaptations of the Epic of Gilgamesh

The Sumerian "Epic of Gilgamesh" has inspired various works in modern popular culture.


* "Gilgamesh the King" and "To the Land of the Living" by Robert Silverberg. Silverberg also contributed works of short fiction concerning Gilgamesh to the "Heroes in Hell" shared world series of Bangsian fantasy.
* "Never Grow Old" by Brian Trent is a 2007 novelization of the complete Gilgamesh Epic. The book's title is a reference to the legendary plant which grants immortality.
* In "Gilgamesh: the Lot of Man, Diaries of an Immortal" by Richard Weaver, the reader follows the journey of the proud warrior-king Gilgamesh as he battles against armies, kings, gods and the one force to which all humans must eventually succumb, death.
* "Gilgamesh II", a satirical graphic novel by Jim Starlin in which an infant (the last of his doomed race) is rocketed to Earth Superman-fashion, but whose life follows the trajectory of the Gigamesh legends. ASIN B00071S7T8
* The book "How Like a God" by Brenda W. Clough is based on the epic.
*"In the Skin of a Lion", by Michael Ondaatje, quotes the Epic of Gilgamesh in the title and epigraph. Many reading suggest that the novel can be read as following the trajectory of The Epic of Gilgamesh, as well.
*"", by John Peel, is the first of the New Doctor Who Adventures published by Virgin. The book describes the Doctor meeting Gilgamesh, and relates the epic of Gilgamesh as a Doctor Who story.
* "1001 Nights of Bacchus", a graphic novel by Eddie Campbell, features a six-page collage story in which Gilgamesh is a Scottish-accented soccer hooligan near-incomprehensibly recounting the entire epic to a barmaid who he is chatting up and who then explains to him the mysteries of existence. The story also appeared, in color, on the back covers of issues 22-26 of Campbell's "Bacchus" magazine.
* "Turn left at Gilgamesh", a play by New York playwright Rory Winston.


* Tourniquet's 2000 album "Microscopic View of a Telescopic Realm" has a song called "The Tomb of Gilgamesh" which speaks of man's desire for immortality.
* The name of Japanese rock band Girugamesh is derived from the name Gilgamesh.
* "The Epic of Gilgamesh", choral work by the Czech composer Bohuslav Martinů.
* "Gilgamesh" (1992), an opera by italian composer Franco Battiato based on the Epic.
* "Gilgamesh", an opera by Serbian composer Rudolf Brucci based on the Epic.
* "Gilgamesh" (1971-72) is an opera by Per Nørgård based on the epic.


Perhaps from the time it was first told as an oral history or as the beginning of human storytelling, "The Epic of Gilgamesh" has been presented as theatre. As such, countless versions or adaptations of "The Epic of Gilgamesh" have been written and/or produced for the theatre. Western interest in the Culture of Iraq increased at the turn of the 21st Century, due in no small part to the Iraq War and U.S. Global War on Terror and ongoing/escalating Middle East conflict(s). With this interest, it appears, theatrical productions of "The Epic of Gilgamesh" flourished. In 2007 alone, over ten separate productions of the story have been/are being produced:

* 2007 (October). "Gilgamesh" using three actors, a mudpit, and toy soldiers. Produced by Barbican Theatre & Dance in London, UK. See: [| Barbican] .
* 2007 (October). "Gilgamesh", adapted and directed by Domenick Scudera. Produced by Ursinus College Department of Theatre and Dance. Location: Collegeville, PA. See: [| Kaleidoscope Performing Arts] .
* 2007 (September/October). "Gilgamesh in Uruk: GI in Iraq", adapted by Blake Bowden. Directed by Regina Pugh, with original music composed by Grammy-nominee, Steve Goers, and original puppetry by Aretta Baumgartner. Produced by The Performance Gallery in Cincinnati, OH. Review: [] .
* 2007 (August/September). "The Epic of Gilgamesh With A Long Prologue", conceived and directed by George Charbak. Produced by TheaterInSearch in Berkeley, CA.
* 2007 (August). "Gilgamesh", adapted by Rick Foster. Produced by Short Center Repertory and California Stage. Location: Sacramento, CA. See: [| California Stage] .
* 2007 (July). "Chronicles - the custom of lamenting", based on the adaptation and completed Polish translation of "Gilgamesh" by Robert Stiller. Directed by Grzegorz Brai with original music based on Albanian and Greek polyphonic laments. Produced by Song of the Goat Theatre in Poland. See: [,SONG-OF-THE-GOAT-THEATRE.html| Song of the Goat] .
* 2007 (May). "Gilgamesh", by Randy Baker. A dramatic reading, directed by Jenny McConnell Frederick. Produced by Rorschach Theatre in Washington, DC. See: [| Magic in Rough Spaces] .
* 2007 (April/May). "Gilgamesh", written by Gina Lachacz, directed by Robert Waterhouse with original music by Paul Kozlowski and Patrick Cain and original puppetry designed by Franklin LaVoie. Produced by New Phoenix Theatre on the Park in Buffalo, NY. See [| New Phoenix] .
* 2007 (April). "Shadow of Himself", by Neal Bell draws heavily upon "The Epic of Gilgamesh". Directed by Jody McAuliffe. Produced by Duke University's Department of Theatre Studies. Location: Durham, NC. See: [| Duke Press] .
* 2007 (April). "Gilgamesh", adapted by Yusef Komunyakaa and Chad Gracia. Original music composed and performed by Billy Atwell. This project was a part of the New York Institute for the Humanities "War Music Festival." It will be produced by the Classical Theatre of Harlem. See also: [| War Music]
* 2007 (March/April). "Gilgamesh", adapted by Stephen Sachs. Directed by Sachs and Jessica Kubzansky. Produced by the Boston Court Theatre on Boston, MA. See [| Boston Court History] .
* 2008 (February 9-10) "Gilgamesh" - a dramatic solo performance by Storyteller Sara Ransom, based on the John Gardner/John Maier translation of the Sin-Leqi-Unninni version. Performed as part of the "8th Annual Winter Storytelling Festival," sponsored by Boulder Public Library, Boulder, Colorado. All events free.

Other theatrical productions/adaptations of "The Epic of Gilgamesh" include:
* "Gilgamesh" (1990) by Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio is based on the Epic of Gilgamesh.
* "Gilgamesh" (1971-72) is an opera by Per Nørgård based on the epic.


* "This Unnameable Little Broom" (1985) by the Quay Brothers is an animated short based on the Epic of Gilgamesh.
* "Gilgamesh" (1990) by Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio
* "Gilgamesh", by the film director Roger Christian (Pre-production).


* "Gilgamesh", 1.5 hour adaptation as a radio play on BBC Radio 3, first broadcast 11 June 2006 []

Video Games

-Gilgamesh is a hero that can be summoned from the town center in the game Empire Earth
*The predesigned game packaged with Electronic Arts' Adventure Construction Set, "Rivers of Light", follows the Epic of Gilgamesh.
*Namco published an arcade game in 1984 titled Tower of Druaga, in which the main character is named Gilgamesh. Besides the shared name, the characters are apparently unrelated. Several other Namco games, most notably the Tales Series, refer to the Gilgamesh character in subtle ways.
*SquareEnix's Final Fantasy series has featured Gilgamesh in a number of titles. His first appearance was in the game Final Fantasy V. He would later reappear in Final Fantasy VIII as a summon, and in Final Fantasy XII as an optional boss. He was later added as an optional boss fight to the Game Boy Advance versions of the first Final Fantasy and Final Fantasy VI. He also made appearances in Final Fantasy IX and Final Fantasy XI. Albeit, in very different forms. Final Fantasy XII's version is accompanied by a wolf-companion Enkidu. Instead of searching for eternal life, FFXII's Gilgamesh seeks battle after battle with diverse swordsmen and claims the weapons of his defeated opponents. His musical theme, which has become quite popular with fans, is titled "Clash on the Big Bridge" by Nobuo Uematsu.
*In Nintendo's Metroid Prime 3 Corruption there is a Galactic Federation Ship docked at Norion called the G.S.S. Enkidu.
*The Online RPG game Adventure Quest features a monster Gilgamesh.
* Type-Moon's game Fate/Stay Night, which features spirits of heroes of the past summoned into a war, Gilgamesh is a primary antagonist/ally.
*Sid Meier's turn-based strategy games, Civilization (series), references the world leader of Sumeria, Gilgamesh, in several (but not all) versions,and "Enkidu warriors" are the unique unit in Civilization 3 expansion.
*In the game, Devil May Cry 4 one of the protagonists Dante acquires a pair of gauntlets and greaves named Gilgamesh. They resemble another set of gauntlets and greaves in Devil May Cry 3, which are named for Beowulf, a similar epic warrior.

Children's Literature adaptations

While far from being a child's story, "The Epic of Gilgamesh" and related Gilgamesh stories, have been adapted to Children's Literature:

* "Gilgamesh". (1967). Written and illustrated by Bernarda Bryson. Henry Holt & Co. ISBN 0030556104. 1st edition is out of print.
* "Gilgamesh: Man's First Story" (2005). Written and illustrated by Bernarda Bryson Shahn. [ Whole Spirit Press] ISBN 1-892857-01-4 2nd edition reissue.
* "Gilgamesh the King" (1991). Written and illustrated by Ludmila Zeman. Tundra Books. ISBN 978-0-88776-283-3 (0-88776-283-2).
* "The Revenge of Ishtar" (1993). Written and illustrated by Ludmila Zeman. Tundra Books. ISBN 978-0-88776-315-1 (0-88776-315-4).
* "The Last Quest of Gilgamesh" (1995). Written and illustrated by Ludmila Zeman. Tundra Books. ISBN 978-0-88776-328-1 (0-88776-328-6).
*Ludmila Zeman's process of writing this children's literature trilogy of "The Epic of Gilgamesh" is discussed at length in [ Saudi Aramco WORLD "Zeman's Gilgamesh" (1996)] .
* "Gilgamesh the Hero" (2003). Retold by Geraldine McCaughrean, illustrated by David Parkins. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers. ISBN 0-80285-262-9.
* "Lugalbanda: The Boy who got Caught up in a War" (2006). by Kathy Henderson, illustrated by Jane Ray. Candlewick. ISBN-10: 0763627828.


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