This video is an animated version of the Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the great stories of ancient civilizations. Gilgamesh was a ruler in Mesopotamia, and he was known for both his strength and his capacity for building great structures. A man who was seen as something close to a God by the people around him, he took it upon himself to build those structures in order to protect his people from threats around them. As the video makes clear, though, no amount of structures could protect the people under Gilgamesh’s care from Gilgamesh himself.
Gilgamesh goes out on a long journey with Enkidu, and during the process, they are faced with tremendous challenges. They go into the forest, and they fight off both sickness and other threats that might have ultimately hurt them. Eventually, after the two built a raft and floated down the river, Enkidu falls sick, and he eventually dies. Gilgamesh is saddened by this, but he is motivated to not suffer the same fate as his friend. In response to the loss of Enkidu, Gilgamesh determines that he is going to seek out immortality in whatever possible. In order to do so, Gilgamesh must go and speak with a wise boatman, who tells him all about a host of different things that have taken place in the past, including a great flood. It is then that Gilgamesh meets the Ancient One, who is supposed to provide him with eternal life. Gilgamesh is unable to stay awake in order to fulfill the Ancient One’s wishes. Gilgamesh loses his opportunity for immortality at this point. Eventually, Gilgamesh loses another opportunity to gain immortality when, again, he could not stay awake. Upon returning home, Gilgamesh understands that he will not have eternal life, but he looks at the things that he has built, and he understands that it is not his fate to live forever, but for his creations to carry on his legacy long after him.
This is one of the most important stories ever told, and it exists as a significant relic both of history and literature. One of the most important takeaways that one can have about this story is that during the early development of society, there was a tremendous of respect for the leaders. Gilgamesh can be understood as the writer’s vision of what an ideal leader looks like. He is strong and able to do things that no man could do. This shows that the people in early civilizations often held their rulers out to be more than just human, and this can help one understand how these leaders assume such places of unassailable power.
In addition, this story shows the significance of creation stories and how religions potentially developed. Gilgamesh was on a great quest to find immortality and eternal life. He was confronting the biggest questions in life – why are we here and what is the point of it all? In order to find those answers, he marches long and far, and he encounters many dangers. This is significant, too, because it shows that even the strongest people are in search of those answers. What this communicates, then, is that religion took hold in many ancient civilizations as a means of answering the difficult questions that the people had no means of answering on their own. Religions eventually became more complex, but their roots go back as far as time, with people coming up with various theories for how to live on forever, as death was just as uncertain then as it is now.