In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh is credited with the building of the legendary walls of Uruk. An alternative version has Gilgamesh telling Urshanabi, the ferryman, that the city's walls were built by the Seven Sages. In historical times, Sargon of Akkad claimed to have destroyed these walls to prove his military power. Fragments of an epic text found in Me-Turan (modern Tell Haddad) relate that at the end of his life Gilgamesh was buried under the river bed. The people of Uruk diverted the flow of the Euphrates passing Uruk for the purpose of burying the dead king within the river bed. In April 2003, a German expedition claimed to have discovered his last resting place. It is generally accepted that Gilgamesh was a historical figure, since inscriptions have been found which confirm the historical existence of other figures associated with him: such as the kings Enmebaragesi and Aga of Kish. If Gilgamesh was a historical king, he probably reigned in about the 26th century BC. Some of the earliest Sumerian texts spell his name as Bilgames. Initial difficulties in reading cuneiform resulted in Gilgamesh's making his re-entrance into world culture in 1872 as "Izdubar". In most cuneiform texts, the name of Gilgamesh is preceded with the star-shaped "dingir" determinative ideogram for divine beings, but there is no evidence for a contemporary cult, and the Sumerian Gilgamesh myths suggest that deification was a later development (unlike the case of the Akkadian god-kings). Over the centuries there was a gradual accretion of stories about him, some probably derived from the real lives of other historical figures, in particular Gudea, the Second Dynasty ruler of Lagash (2144–2124 BC).
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