A leader in Civilization IV
|Introduced||Beyond the Sword|
|Fav. civic||Hereditary Rule|
History of Uruk (c.2500 BCE) whose life is now mixed with mythology.Edit
Living approximately 2500 years before the Common Era, Gilgamesh was King of Uruk, the largest city of its time in Sumeria. Said to be two-thirds divine (his mother was thought to be the goddess Ninsun), Gilgamesh's history will forever be intertwined with his legend, vividly portrayed in the "Epic of Gilgamesh." Because the earliest written texts of the Epic date from 1700 BC, roughly a millennium after the death of the great king, it is difficult to judge what is truth from what is tall tale. Yet the epic remains the clearest demonstrator as to the caliber of ruler that was King Gilgamesh.
"Iron-fisted" would be the best description of Gilgamesh as a ruler. His policy towards young maidens on their wedding nights had much of the populace of Uruk enraged at their leader, calling for aid from the heavens. Yet under his reign, Uruk thrived. The author of the epic describes Uruk as an impressive feat of construction, specifically the grand temple dedicated to Ishtar, the Sumerian goddess of love. But Gilgamesh's greatest work was the construction of the massive walls of Uruk, considered a masterwork of masonry.
The adventures of Gilgamesh were varied, from traveling through a great forest of cedars to kill the monstrous Humbaba to finding the key to immortality. There were 12 clay tablets telling his strories. Even though many of Gilgamesh's journeys are steeped in magic, a number of claims from the epic are generally accepted as credible. The most prominent is that the walls of Uruk were actually built under the reign of the King Gilgamesh. And while much of the truth of the great King of Uruk has been lost to the ages, his name will always be remembered as the hero of man's first epic.