For my essay I chose the question, “What does this story teach us about Mesopotamian religion?” A few main points that I will be discussing are: the relationship between humans and gods, why humans pray/praise the gods, and the understanding of why Gilgamesh could not become immortal and why he was afraid of the afterlife. I chose this question because I felt that the god’s had a major impact on Gilgamesh’s life. For example; Shamash, the sun god, giving protection to Gilgamesh and Enkidu, or Ishtar, the goddess of war and love, sends the Bull of Heaven down to Uruk to gore Gilgamesh (even though she does not succeed).
Gilgamesh has many relationships with many different gods. He was created from the goddess Aruru, and his mother and father were both gods also. Gilgamesh himself was 2 parts god and 1 part human, which made him immortal and that will lead into another discussion later on in my paper.
When Ishtar saw Gilgamesh after he defeated Humbaba she grew full of lust, “seeing the beauty of Gilgamesh” (Sandars, 85). When he rejects her, she gets so angry that she sent the Bull of Heaven to destroy Gilgamesh. After killing hundreds of men, Gilgamesh and Enkidu finally defeat the bull. But the point of this is to show the impact a god could have on a human’s life. So I feel that, that is a reason a lot of the humans tried to have good relationships with all of the gods, because if not then anything could happen.
When they defeat the bull Gilgamesh cuts off the horns on the bull’s head and fills them up with oil, which he offers in sacrifice to his father. This shows how the humans sacrificed things out of respect for the gods. They did more than just pray to the gods; the humans showed sacrifice through all kinds of things to prove to the gods their love.
Shamash was Gilgamesh’s patron; he was the god who Gilgamesh turned to for protection, wisdom, and many other things. “So Shamash accepted the sacrifice of his tears; like the...