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Origin of the name GILGAMESH.
Etymology of the name GILGAMESH.
Meaning of the baby name GILGAMESH.


GILGAMESH.  A Semitic name, possibly meaning "offshoot of the god Mash."  The hero of the Gilgamesh Epic who was probably an ancient king, later made a solar deity, subordinate to Shamash (q.v.).

... The hero's name may originally have been Bilga-Mash or Pilig-Mash, and meant "the offshoot of the god Mash."  Such formations and meanings are very common.  In later years, after he had become the legendary hero, to whom were attributed the exploits of Enkidu, and perhaps others, as is shown from the Pennsylvania tablet, his name was etymologically interpreted in accordance with the reputation he had acquired just as is done in the Old Testament in the case of Abram and others... (The Empire of the Amorites, Clay, 1919)

    The Gilgamesh Epic begins by representing the "walled Uruk," city of Ishtar (q.v.) as in a state of siege.  Next we find Gilgamesh in possession of the city either as its saviour or its conqueror.  Gilgamesh is a hero of great strength and power.  He displeases the inhabitants of Uruk by taking captive their virgins and their wives.  They beseech Aruru (q.v.), his creator, to raise up a rival to him.  The goddess Auru thereupon creates a divine hero Eabani.  Eabani is a hairy creature, and in other respects resembles an animal.  Gilgamesh sends a hunter to catch him, but Eabani frightens him.  Gilgamesh then sends with him Ukhat, one of the harlots of Ishtar.  Ukhat entices and gains control of Eabani.  He returns with her to be her companion or the companion of Gilgamesh.  The tablets containing the immediate continuation of the story are defective.  We next find Eabani undertaking to fight in company with Gilgamesh against a terrible enemy Khumbaba.  The enemy is overcome.  Ishtar the goddess then seeks the love of the heroic Gilgamesh.  But the hero repulses her, because she has slain those that once she loved.  Ishtar appeals to Anu (q.v.), her father, the god of heaven, who creates a divine bull Alu to destroy Gilgamesh.  The bull is attacked by Gilgamesh and Eabani together and killed.  Eabani adds insult to injury by throwing the divine bull in Ishtar's face.  Ishtar, with her prostitute attendants, the Kizreti, the Ukhati, and the Kharimati, makes lamentation for the bull.  Gilgamesh offers the horns of the bull to Lugal-Marada, king of Marad, his own native place.  Gilgamesh now loses his companion.  Eabani becomes ill and dies.  Then he is himself stricken with disease.  He decides to go in search of a "distant one," one who is immortal, his ancestor Parnapishtim or Utnapishtim.  On the way he has to confront lions and scorpion-men.  Finally he must cross a great sea.  On this side of the sea he finds the sea-goddess Sabitum.  He beseeches her to allow him to cross.  She tells him that the only person who can take him safely across is the ferryman Ardi-Ea (q.v.).  Ardi-Ea is persuaded to take him.  At length Gilgamesh reaches Parnapishtim, tells him of his adventures and heroic deeds, and seeks his help.  Parnapishtim tells him that it is impossible to escape death.  Gilgamesh is naturally curious to know how in that case Parnapishtim has attained immortality.  In reply Parnapishtim tells him the story of his escape from a deluge.  This is a Deluge-story resembling that of the Bible.  Parnapishtim tells him the story of his escape from a deluge.  This is a Deluge-story resembling that of the Bible.  Parnapishtim was delivered from the flood and made a god.  After the recital of the deluge-story, Gilgamesh is made to fall into a deep sleep.  The wife of Parnapishtim then prepares magic food made of charm-root.  Ardi-Ea is told to take him to the place of purification and wash his sores.  When this has been done, Gilgamesh is cured.  Parnapishtim then tells him of a plant that restores youth.  Ardi-Ea helps Gilgamesh to find it.  But as he holds it, it is snatched out of his hand by a demon.  Gilgamesh has to return to Uruk without it.  On his return he wanders from temple to temple seeking to find out what has become of Eabani.  At length Nergal causes the spirit of Eabani to appear to him.  Gilgamesh inquires the nature of the land in which he is now dwelling.  Eabani says he cannot tell him, apparently because it will not bear telling.  He curses Ukhat as the cause of his death. (An Encyclopedia of Religions, Canney, 1921)


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