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Gilgamesh in popular culture: Wikis


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The Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh has inspired various works in modern popular culture.

  • Turn left at Gilgamesh, a play by New York playwright Rory Winston.
  • In The Great American Novel, a novel by author Philip Roth, the Gilgamesh myth is reworked into the tale of a fictional baseball player, Gil Gamesh, whose immortal aspirations are achieved by disappearing after his final game.
  • The Adventures of the Faithful Counselor novella-length poem by Anne Sheldon, published in its own volume by Aqueduct Press, 2005.
  • Stephan Grundy retold the legend in his novel Gilgamesh.
  • ghIlghameS is the Klingon language translation. Paramount Pictures owns the copyright to the translation. A bilingual paperback edition (ISBN 1-58715-338-6) was published in 2000.
  • In Jane Lindskold's Athanor novels, Gilgamesh and Enkidu are immortals who inspire legends under other names, including King Arthur and Sir Bedivere, respectively.




Poster art from Gilgamesh in Uruk: G.I. in Iraq, a modern, theatrical adaptation of the Epic of Gilgamesh.

Perhaps from the time it was first told as an oral history or as the beginning of human storytelling, The Epic of Gilgamesh has been presented as theatre. As such, countless versions or adaptations of The Epic of Gilgamesh have been written and/or produced for the theatre. Western interest in the Culture of Iraq increased at the turn of the 21st Century, due in no small part to the Iraq War and U.S. Global War on Terror and ongoing/escalating Middle East conflict(s). With this interest, it appears, theatrical productions of The Epic of Gilgamesh flourished. In 2007 alone, over ten separate productions of the story have been/are being produced:

  • 2007 (September/October). Gilgamesh in Uruk: GI in Iraq, adapted by Blake Bowden. Directed by Regina Pugh, with original music composed by Grammy-nominee, Steve Goers, and original puppetry by Aretta Baumgartner. Produced by The Performance Gallery in Cincinnati, OH.
  • 2007 (July). Chronicles - the custom of lamenting, based on the adaptation and completed Polish translation of Gilgamesh by Robert Stiller. Directed by Grzegorz Brai with original music based on Albanian and Greek polyphonic laments. Produced by Song of the Goat Theatre in Poland.
  • 2007 (April). Gilgamesh, adapted by Yusef Komunyakaa and Chad Gracia. Original music composed and performed by Billy Atwell. This project was a part of the New York Institute for the Humanities "War Music Festival." It will be produced by the Classical Theatre of Harlem.
  • 2007 (March/April). Gilgamesh, adapted by Stephen Sachs. Directed by Sachs and Jessica Kubzansky. Produced by the The Theatre @ Boston Court on Pasadena, CA.
  • 2009 (March). "Rag Fur Blood Bone: The Epic of Gilgamesh". Written by Michael Yates Crowley, Directed by Michael Rau. Produced at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center at BMCC in New York, NY.

Other theatrical productions/adaptations of The Epic of Gilgamesh include:


  • "This Unnameable Little Broom" (1985) by the Quay Brothers is an animated short based on the Epic of Gilgamesh.
  • Gilgamesh (1990) by Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio


  • The Gilgamesh story is a key part of the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Darmok."
  • Gilgamesh (anime), directed by Masahiko Murata.
  • Gilgamesh is a central character in the anime series Fate/Stay Night which is based on the visual novel by Type Moon.
  • Gurren Lagann features an enemy mecha named Enkidu, piloted by the Beastman Viral, who himself eventually joins the heroes on their adventures.
  • Gilgamesh is also used as a part of two other anime, The Sword of Uruk and Aegis of Uruk. Story elements and names are used.
  • Gilgamesh appears in the Hercules: The Legendary Journeys episode, "Faith," and is played by Tony Todd. His half-sister is established to be Nebula, who had already appeared on the series. He is depicted as the king of Sumeria and recently having lost his family. A parallel is drawn between him and Hercules, who experienced a similar loss. Gilgamesh's loss, though, causes him to succomb to the influence of Dahak – leading him to work toward bringing the demon god into the world by killing the Sumerian gods and providing the sacrifice of a warrior heart. He tricks Hercules into aiding in his plan and kills Iolaus (who was shielding Nebula, the intended sacrifice). Hercules kills Gilgamesh soon afterward.
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh is mentioned in the cartoon series "The Secret Saturdays".


  • Gilgamesh, 1.5 hour adaptation as a radio play on BBC Radio 3, first broadcast 11 June 2006 [1]

Video games

  • The predesigned game packaged with Electronic Arts' Adventure Construction Set, Rivers of Light, follows the Epic of Gilgamesh.
  • In Type-Moon's visual novel Fate/stay night, which features spirits of past heroes summoned into a war for the Holy Grail, Gilgamesh is a primary antagonist hailed as the "King of Heroes".
  • The Final Fantasy series of video games includes, in most of its installments, a boss enemy named Gilgamesh and his "faithful sidekick," Enkidu.
  • In Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance, a Viraxo ship is named "Enkidu."
  • In the Civilization IV expansion pack, Beyond the Sword, Gilgamesh is the leader of the Sumerian civilization. His traits are creative and protective.
  • In "Devil May Cry 4" Dante attains a weapon that is called Gilgamesh
  • In Tower of Druaga, Gilgamesh is known as Gil and he is the role of a hero who must ascend the floors of Druaga's tower to rescue Ki.

Children's literature

While far from being a child's story, The Epic of Gilgamesh and related Gilgamesh stories, have been adapted to children's literature:

  • Gilgamesh. (1967). Written and illustrated by Bernarda Bryson. Henry Holt & Co. ISBN 0030556104. 1st edition is out of print.
  • Gilgamesh: Man's First Story (2005). Written and illustrated by Bernarda Bryson Shahn. Whole Spirit Press ISBN 1-892857-01-4 2nd edition reissue.
  • Gilgamesh the King (1991). Written and illustrated by Ludmila Zeman. Tundra Books. ISBN 978-0-88776-283-3 (0-88776-283-2).
  • The Revenge of Ishtar (1993). Written and illustrated by Ludmila Zeman. Tundra Books. ISBN 978-0-88776-315-1 (0-88776-315-4).
  • The Last Quest of Gilgamesh (1995). Written and illustrated by Ludmila Zeman. Tundra Books. ISBN 978-0-88776-328-1 (0-88776-328-6).
  • Gilgamesh the Hero (2003). Retold by Geraldine McCaughrean, illustrated by David Parkins. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers. ISBN 0-80285-262-9.
  • Lugalbanda: The Boy who got Caught up in a War (2006). by Kathy Henderson, illustrated by Jane Ray. Candlewick. ISBN 0763627828.




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