Bullskull and Lionheart

Three episodes, selected and condensed from
Bullskull and Lionheart: the Fellowship of Gilgamesh and Enkidu
A rendition in metrical verse of the first part of
The Epic of Gilgamesh


Introduction:

Little need be said by way of introduction to the famous Epic of Gilgamesh, renowned as it is for its 4,000 years of existence as the world’s oldest known surviving example of epic poetry. The focus, I think, need only be on aspects of the three selections which appear below.

My aim, when setting out on Gilgamesh as a poetry project, was to give a rendering not of the whole epic, but only its first half, which has always appealed to me to be of greater interest than the second. (The second half is, of course, very relevant to the literary intention of the whole; but the story does fall quite naturally into two parts – the earlier relationship between two main protagonists and, with the severance of that relationship, the tale’s continuation by the remaining party). So my overall aim was to render, in metrical verse, the tale of The Fellowship of Gilgamesh and Enkidu, and this I completed in 2,110 lines of the chosen metre. What appears below is a very small selection from this, covering three quite self-contained episodes of the story; they are themselves heavily condensed and compressed to focus on the more relevant points – and simplified, omitting and substituting, for example, many names of Mesopotamian deities; so this is very much a partial presentation, a glimpse intended for a general audience – but intended, still, to give a concise view of these few selected events together with some flavour and atmosphere.

To refresh readers’ memory and set the scene, Gilgamesh, immensely physically strong, despotic ruler of the city of Uruk and especially resented and feared for his bullying, bride-stealing habits (his very own anticipation of the mediaeval jus primae noctis where he would offer to wrestle any prospective husband for the right of being first to bed the bride) has aroused the animosity of its citizens. The gods, aware of his grossly tormenting behaviour, decide to punish him by creating an alter-ego who will act as his adversary – a ‘wild man’, Enkidú (stress on the third and final syllable – possessing strength equal to Gilgamesh’s own, but by temperament his very opposite. Gilgamesh hears of him and makes a plan to destroy Enkidu’s life in the world he has always known – to tame and ‘civilize’ him – via the wiles of the most favoured of his temple-maidens: this is the subject of the first section, ‘The Seduction of the Wild Man’. The plan succeeds, but Enkidu retains his great strength and intercepts Gilgamesh in the streets of Uruk in the very act of stealing a man’s bride on their wedding-day. Enkidu, enraged, blocks Gilgamesh’s entry at the doorway of the wedding-party and a fierce fight ensues: this is the subject of the second section, ‘The Contention of the Lion and the Bull’. Following this, the two become staunch friends and embark upon a great adventure together in which they travel over vast stretches of wild terrain to cut down trees of the great cedar forest which is under the guardianship of the monstrous demi-god Humbaba, a terrifying ogre-figure protected by seven powerful ‘auras’ or magical layers: this is the subject of the third section, ‘Seeking the Monster’.

This is where these three excerpts end, so as not to interfere with the whole story for anyone who might not be familiar with the tale in its entirety and who may wish to read of it for themselves. Briefly, though, the two heroes, after being involved together in one other violent encounter, are separated, and it is this separation which also marks the dividing point between the two halves of the original poem.

The notes following these three sections in verse contain (i) information on my approach to tackling the transliteration, (ii) upon the metre chosen to present it, and (iii) points on terms in the body of the poem which may require explanation or clarification. Asterisks are used to denote these.

I’m not sure how this metrical version of The Epic of Gilgamesh will be received by viewers, or how familiar with the epic’s whole path viewers might be. To some it may well be their first introduction to an actual reading of the story; to some its rhythmic motion may be pleasing and suitably different to the usual prose or free verse renditions they might have previously come across; to others it may seem rather dull and old-fashioned. Whichever, it will provide a change. I estimate that I have a nucleus of around twenty or perhaps a few more regular readers of The Ig-Og; four or five I’ve come to know as personal friends by way of their ‘likes’ and comments – comments, no matter how brief, being particularly welcome and a help in gauging the degree of appreciation of the site. After this ‘pilot’, I’m wondering about serializing the whole epic – interspersed with regular poetry, of course, and not in overdose. Let’s see how this post goes, anyway.




1. The Seduction of the Wild Man

There was born in dark and silence,
in a wild and open landscape
– as a sky-bolt out of heaven –
Enkidu*, the hair-clad wild one.
Hair-clad head, like that of woman,
flowing, blowing, like a lion’s,
hair-clad body, like wild cattle,
thickly tufted, thickly matted.
Knows no folk and knows no homeland;
of man and clan he has no notion.
With gazelles is swiftly running;
with gazelles the grass is grazing.
At the water-hole he gathers
with the creatures of the grasslands;
at its muddy edge he jostles;
vies with them to drink the waters.

A stealthy hunter spied this strange one,
under cover of the verdure;
saw him come among the creatures,
drinking with them there together.
Saw the wild man, thickly-muscled,
maned and moving like a lion,
thick of thew and huge of stature,
as a king among wild creatures.
Terror took the hidden watcher,
and his hunter’s heart leapt wildly
to behold this fearsome stranger.
Sorely troubled was the hunter,
sorely vexed by much foreboding;
woe had entered deep inside him
as he homeward took his footsteps,
as he went, subdued and silent,
to the dwelling of his father.

And the youth’s sagacious father
spoke thuswise unto the hunter:
“In Uruk, my son, rules Gilga*,
Gilgamesh the king and fighter,
Gilgamesh, supreme as warrior
unsurpassed by any other.
Seek him out – relate your story,
this mighty long-haired lion-man’s story.
Then this plan put to King Gilga –
ask of him a temple-maiden,
one so shapely and beguiling
no man living could deny her;
for a woman’s way will conquer
any strength a man can offer.
He will give the woman Shamhat,
Shamhat, queen of temple-maidens*.
Take her to the grasslands with you.
When the herds come down to water,
when the wild man comes to drink it,
she must show herself unto him,
show her female’s form unto him.
He will leave the herd to see her,
venture near to see her closely.
Then the herd will all be wary,
they will scent the human on him,
scent all wild things find abhorrent,
and will leave the place without him,
never to abide his presence.

Heeding then his father’s counsel
to Uruk the hunter travelled,
gained an audience with King Gilga.
King and hunter conversed gravely,
and at length the king commanded:
“Take the temple-maiden Shamhat.
Take her to the grasslands with you.
When the herds come down to water,
and she stands where he can see her,
he will come to see her closely.
Every beast will be suspicious,
and will leave the place without him.”

Shamhat and the hunter travelled
straightway back unto the grasslands;
there they sat, two hidden watchers,
till there came the host of creatures
to that place to take the waters,
and with all the milling hundreds,
born to grasslands, running with them,
there came Enkidu among them.
So it was that Shamhat saw him,
saw his shaggy, barbarous body,
knew his rough and savage nature.
‘There! Now, Shamhat!” called the hunter,
“Show yourself, that he may see you!
Hang not back, but let him take you!
Throw your clothes down – let him have you!
Work your woman’s wiles upon him,
let him know how you can wake him!”

Then did Shamhat loose her garments,
take her slander shape from hiding,
show the contours of her body,
show her beauty, rounded, smooth-skinned.
Nor had Enkidu imagined
skin so smooth or form so curving;
near he came to gaze in wonder
at this new, enchanting creature,
at this strange, alluring figure.
And the girl was so entrancing,
soft and scented and enticing
that she took the spirit from him,
and her woman’s ways ensnared him.
Shamhat tossed her clothing from her:
Enkidu was drawn unto her.
Six long days they lay together,
seven long nights enjoyed that pleasure;
lost was Enkidu in wonder,
captive of his ardent lover,
of the grassland creatures thoughtless,
of his brethren beasts regardless.

Till with ardour now abated,
he, arising, took his footsteps
where his fellows drank the waters.
But the creatures raised heads sharply,
sensing something new about him,
scenting what was of his lover,
and, as one, with splash and thunder,
shied away into the outlands,
wheeled and scattered in the grasslands
slowing, halting at a distance,
wary, shunning, gazing backwards.
After them again he started,
but his pace was not as speedy
as before, and was diminished.
He was spent, his strength depleted,
and he knew the herds now shunned him,
and would evermore reject him.
Woman and love’s ways had found him,
Shamhat and her ways had bound him,
altered everything about him –
taken, changed his understanding.




2. The Contention of the Lion and the Bull

Two there were approached each other,
two were in the street advancing
till, expectant, taut and silent,
met the wild man and the tyrant.
Straightway then they came together,
bull to lion, straining fiercely.
Against a doorway now they grappled,
and the doorpost shook and shattered;
now against the walls they thundered,
till the buildings quaked and shuddered*.
Out among the streets they battled,
seizing, feinting, panting, swaying,
each his own advantage seeking.
And the hundreds ranged about them,
fully drawn back from the battle,
gasping, cheering, scarce believing
such a contest was ensuing,
to see this day their king receiving
blow for blow what he was giving.
Out into the squares they drave them,
grunting, gasping, thrusting, lunging;
thick about them dust was rising,
now their reeling bodies hiding;
now the two would split asunder –
moments later, clash together.
Bull to lion they were equal
till, a trick of balance winning,
Gilga lifted up the other
overhead; aloft he held him,
foot and knee firm-placed he gripped him
in the victor’s vice, unmoving.
Thus the victory was signalled –
and the contest reached its ending.
As a wind soughs through the treetops,
living, dying, in but moments,
so a murmur rose and foundered
through the tense, suspense-held hundreds –
rose and faltered, trailed and foundered;
then the watching crowd was silent.
Enkidu, released, plunged downward*,
in Uruk’s white dust lay conquered;
Gilga turned his back to handplay;
thus the fury faded from them.
Enkidu now raised his body
from the dust where he had fallen,
standing there addressed King Gilga,
solemnly addressed the victor.
Warriors two then came together –
this time to embrace each other.
Gilgamesh embraced him closely,
held his eyes, and uttered firmly:
“Never was in all existence
one to match the might of Gilga;
you and I were matched in fighting –
matched as thunder matches lightning.
From the fury of our struggle
there is forged a warrior’s friendship.”




3. Seeking the Monster

Now, when all was silent seeming,
after many miles of travel,
when the forest stood before them,
dim and far stood there before them
as a blanket in the distance
spread on mile and mile of mountain,
as an endless blue-green mantle
thrown across that rugged terrain,
Gilga, kneeling, prayed to Shamash*.

Shamash heard the words of Gilga,
heard those words so solemn spoken,
straightway thundered from the heavens:
“Now the time to stand against him
as he strides without the forest,
as he stalks the forest edges;
let him not return within it –
for he wears not all his auras,
wears not all his seven-fold armour.
Six he doffed to lurk his borders –
clad in one alone he wanders!”

Thankful for these words of Shamash,
steeled, the heroes hurried forward.
But from the forest, there before them,
from the dimness far before them
came a single fearsome bellow
fit to freeze the blood within them;
once and once alone it sounded –
but across the heights redounded,
echoed through the miles of mountain
till it filled the world about them,
till the very vault of heaven
shook with its reverberation.
Thus the guardian of the forest
roared his ire in voice like thunder.

Now must they proceed with caution,
and each other courage offer,
they who traversed mighty mountains,
they who knew the trials of combat;
so did each one tell the other,
to his consort staunchly speaking,
that no tremors should assail them;
they would stride on two together
sounding out like drums to battle,
spurn all fear and march together,
each one guarding well his brother.
Thus they tramped the miles remaining,
building boldness up between them,
till the words between them lessened,
till all talk was hushed, proclaiming
the darkened wall of trees beginning –
the forest edge above them looming.

There they stood, transfixed, together,
side by side, spellbound, they stood there
at the lofty cedars gazing,
at the strong, straight boles arising
as great pillars all about them,
huge and dark and silent standing,
watchers at the forest gateway.
And where the guardian had been walking
broad and well-worn tracks were trodden
twixt the giant stems surrounding,
pathway for the two advancing.
At each side the thorns grew, tangled,
matted thickets, interwoven;
branches webbed a roof above them;
shade and shadow lay about them,
shadowed shapes minutely changing,
dappling all the well-worn pathway.

So the two advanced together
through the silent greenwood shadows,
through the dark heart of the forest
where the sunlight reached but faintly.
Naked weapons now they brandished,
weapons all now at the ready;
swords were from the scabbard taken,
fists clenched close round axe and dagger,
and, with nerves taut, weapons ready,
stole they forward slow and steady.
Words they whispered to each other,
that they might their courage bolster:
“Singly we can not defeat him;
two together we will meet him.
Among the beasts the lion is strongest;
but two fine cubs may last the longest.”
These words whispered to each other –
for each step would take them nearer,
ever closer to the Monster.



(i) The Approach: Transliteration to Rendition

Like most people, I had for a long time known of the discovery of the Gilgamesh tablets, knew the broad theme of the story and its major events, but had never taken time to actually read a full version; when I eventually did, I was immediately captivated by the idea of producing my own poetic version. My first step was to obtain as many versions as I could get hold of as a basis on which to work, and over eighteen months or so had seventeen of these at my disposal, nine of which were scholarly works and eight by other interested writers. By ‘scholarly’ I mean the researches of experts in archaeolinguistics able to work from the original cuneiform of the tablets; by ‘other interested writers’, enthusiasts with no knowledge of cuneiform but with varying degrees of poetic ability who might have based their renditions on both scholarly and non-scholarly works with varying abilities and results. The latter I found to be – although in the main not awfully helpful – useful in some other respects; of these eight (published from 1934 to 2004) one was in prose, and seven in varieties of free verse ranging from ubiquitous ‘chopped up prose’ to decent free rhythms and in one case interesting, innovative verse. For the sake of accuracy – absolutely imperative – the obvious thing to do was to adhere as religiously as possible to what the cuneiform said as the primary source, and dip into the secondary versions according to whatever the occasional, supplementary value their insights and artistry might offer.

This was in the days of buying hold-in-the-hand books. It was becoming possible to do online research, but that was in its infancy, and anyway, I wouldn’t have known how or where to begin. It was also in the days before mass reprints of scarce and rare publications, and it has amazed me how these books I then had to search for diligently and buy at some expense are now readily available as reasonably-priced reprints. My scholarly versions of Gilgamesh ranged from the first, pioneering edition by R. Campbell-Thompson in 1928 to A.R.George’s superb 2003 2-volume critical edition. There is much excellent scholarship from seven others in between, plus two expositional studies on the evolution of the epic, adding up to eleven scholarly sources.

Outside of this scope there are two other works which should be mentioned, neither which have affected my own rendition, but each with an inherent interest of its own. One is actually the very earliest work to tackle Gilgamesh, preceding even Campbell Thompson’s; the other sits at our opposite, modern end. Each one is very different from what we now regard as the textus receptus – but each has its own unique, pleasingly unusual quality. The first is Leonidas Le Cenci Hamilton’s (beat that name if you can!) Ishtar and Izdubar: The Epic of Babylon, of 1884. Hamilton wrote his poem at a time when precious few fragments of the cuneiform tablets had been discovered, using only the available Akkadian information. His Izdubar’ is in fact a literal translation of the ideograph for ‘Gilgamesh’, and the equivalent identities were not realised until many years later when the more detailed Babylonian tablets came to light. To attain continuity, Hamilton found it necessary to use some padding, and this he did by including extra items, such as sacred hymns, in the body of his poem. Written in heroic couplets, I find it delightful reading; its Victorian style and Eastern setting reminds me very much of Edwin Arnold’s Indian Song of Songs, which is discussed elsewhere in The Igam-Ogam Mabinogion under Song of the Shulamite Maid. Due to the lack of available material, many aspects of Hamilton’s work are quite unlike the Gilgamesh story as we now know it, but credit must be given to him for producing something remarkable in its own right. Credit for the first substantially complete academic version must go to Thompson. The second ’outside the scope’ version of the epic is Derrek Hines’ 2002 Gilgamesh, a shortish, rumbustious retelling with vivid, sometimes startling and sometimes chortle-raising language. Enjoyable. His section on the hunt for the forest guardian he calls ‘The Humbaba Campaign’ bringing us through its imagery right up to the values of the present century (and shades of the ill-advised, illicit Iraq War?) in a style which brings to mind Welsh author and artist David Jones’ method in his epic WWI poem In Parenthesis. Hines writes:

‘New boy stopped a grenade today.
We sluiced what remained from his armour
as you’d pressure-hose mud from a wheel-arch’.

and

‘The lieutenant bought it twice.
We’d left him two hundred yards to the rear
for morning burial, but a plasma bolt

overshot and fried him, fisting a million volts
down his spine. He arched and crackled
like a rainbow;’


Well, yes, a long way from the cuneiform; but poetry has a way of transforming itself in time. Humbaba and his laser beams. I won’t tell you here what Hines has to say about Shamhat… but from beginning to end it’s all brisk, invigorating stuff, and a completely new take on Gilgamesh.



Anyway, to get back to it, my procedure was, for each prospective line of my poem, to consult, and record one below the other using pencil and paper, each single line of the poem represented in each of the nine scholarly works – with the object of comparing key words, interpretations, variants, and above all ascertaining the sense of each line, and from the comparison derive a line of my own. I would then repeat this with a reading of each of the eight secondary sources (this time without notation, due to the waywardness of some) and incorporate what I found useful as possible alternatives (this procedure I followed throughout the poem, excepting the additional 100-line prologue and around the first 50 lines of the main work, as up to that point I had not really got into the more disciplined stride I was to take with the sources).There is only so much that can be done with a limited number of similar words in a single line, so the problem, as always with transliteration, was to provide as much variation as possible from what had already been arrived at by others whilst retaining all aspects of the original meaning. Enough to work on.



(ii) A Metre for a Metrical Version

I’ve always thought that, to get the real ‘feel’ of it, epic poetry of the past is best expressed in translation by keeping it ‘in sync’ with the spirit of its time – and that the best way of doing this is through metrical verse which gives it that tinge of antiquity, with the archaic. Which is why, despite the present trend by writers, editors and publishers to provide updated modern-language versions I’d prefer to read the prose or poetry of, say, Gwyn and Thomas Jones’ or Charlotte Guest’s versions of The Mabinogion, some of the earlier, late 19th/early 20th century versions of the Icelandic Sagas, or going back a little, the wonderful 16th century language of North’s Plutarch and Chapman’s Homer. Steffan Balsom provides us with a fine metrical version of the Old Welsh epic poem Y Gododdin which fits its spirit beautifully (a metrical version, sorely needed, I feel, had not been done before); excerpts from this appear in The Igam-Ogam Mabinogion under the title Strife on the Borders. As far as I’ve been able to discover, no metrical version of the Gilgamesh epic has been done, either.

The metre I decided upon – and which you will have seen above – was an easy choice, as for me it has always been a definite favourite. It will have a familiarity to viewers, too, who will have no difficulty in recognizing it as the one Longfellow used for his classic Hiawatha. Now in its structure Hiawatha was modelled entirely on what is today the national epic of Finland, the Kalevala, but which was in Longfellow’s time scarcely known, and its history is an intriguing one; for it was only in the first part of the 19th century that Finnish academics – rather like the Brothers Grimm with their German folk-tales – became interested in peasant folk-music which had been sung by professional singers to the accompaniment of the kantele, the Finnish zither, for no-one knows how many centuries. When the scholars first began to collect these songs they had little success, as due to past attempts by the Church to suppress them – they represented strong, immensely ancient but still living pagan beliefs – the peasantry was suspicious. When it was ascertained that the scholarly collectors were not government or Church agents, an immense wealth of hitherto unknown and scattered folk literature began to be amassed. At the centre of this was the University of Helsingfors, and directing the search, following valuable pioneering work by another scholar, Zacharias Topelius, was a Doctor Lönnrot. Over a period of many years, Lönnrot made up to a dozen lengthy trips into eastern Finland, into Karelia and the extreme north, gathering tens of thousands of examples, often repeated, often differing in their content. And when collating and classifying this mountain of hitherto dispersed material, Lönnrot eventually realized that what he was dealing with were the far-flung parts of a single, continuous story: for untold centuries, the peasantry, unbeknown to them, had been the custodians and continuators of a great, submerged epic unknown to the literary world – and it was unlike any other in European literature. In 1835-1836 Lönnrot published his Old Kalevala, followed by the Kanteletar, and finally, in 1849, the complete Kalevala. It was translated into English by Crawford (1888) and by Kirby (1907). I have both these excellent translations, Kirby’s perhaps being the slightly better of the two, but at 23,000 lines have never been able to succeed in getting through more than about a third of each before having to pass on to something else.

And here we have the happy – the happily astounding – coincidence that at the same time during the early 19th century and at opposite ends of the earth two great masterpieces of literature were suddenly and unexpectedly presented to the world. Each had been discovered, bit by tantalizing bit, from long-buried ruins – the Gilgamesh tablets from shattered physical remains in the desert, the Kalevala stanzas from the fragmented oral trove of the rune-singers. Both were of enormous antiquity; both were concerned with the elemental powers of nature; with supernatural beings who represented them; with magico-mythical qualities. The Kalevala, especially, is built upon the magic of words.

The musical element of language is very evident in Finnish, and so also very evident in the Kalevala and Finnish verse in general; the language is sonorous and flexible, and lends itself to poetry. The metre of the Kalevala is eight-syllable trochaic – i.e., trochaic tetrameter. The trochee is as natural to Finnish poetry as the iamb is to English (strangely enough, I’ve never felt at home with that favourite of English, the very respected and well-known iambic pentameter, and have never sat down to consciously compose anything in that metre. I’ve always found it difficult, and have wondered why that might be. With tetrameter, now, I’ve always been quite naturally comfortable. I remember being absolutely entranced by the flow of Hiawatha upon being introduced to the poem at Primary school. That must have been it!). By another comparison, it’s as natural as the 5 and 7 syllabic pattern in its various combinations is to Japanese poetry. Beyond its being trochaic, there are three other qualities which exemplify the Finnish metre. Firstly, it should be alliterative; secondly, it should be to some extent rhymed; and thirdly, it should throughout feature parallelism. The more important of the three is parallelism – the repetition, or part-echo, of one line in the next; this appears constantly. Rhyme can appear internally or at the ends of lines, and need only be occasional; alliteration may appear anywhere. Here, in the very first few lines of the Proem to the Kalevala, (Crawford’s translation) the three are exemplified together:

‘In my mouth the words are melting,
From my lips the tones are gliding’

In Finnish poetics, all three fall much more naturally and properly into place than they can ever do in English; still, they do, in my experience, have a habit of making unexpected, timely appearances during composition, parallelism being decidedly the more overtly conscious. Viewers will no doubt recognize all three, albeit more haphazardly than in any Finnish piece, in the excerpts above.

Some have considered trochaics unsuitable, or at least unpopular among poets, for verse of any length. Anyone who has appreciated the powerful, sustained, forward flow of the Kalevala, or Longfellow’s copying of the style for that matter, will hardly agree. To me this metre is nimble and vigorous, its variation between time and sound never allowing it to become monotonous. And it is wonderfully versatile, able to treat as equally with emotions as it is with heroics, and indeed as easily with the humorous (as Longfellow’s contemporaries soon showed in parody, notably Lewis Carroll’s Hiawatha’s Photographing. I’ve used it comically in The Game in Cardiff, which can be found elsewhere in The Igam-Ogam Mabinogion, and in another which will probably appear soon in an upcoming post).



Notes to the poem:

* Enkidu: The name means ‘lord of the pleasant place’. The ‘pleasant place’ might indicate the lush grasslands which were his home. He appears in the cuneiform sources in three distinct aspects – as servant, as counsellor, and as bosom friend to King Gilgamesh.

* Gilga: The variant spellings of the name ‘Gilgamesh’ are many in the cuneiform sources. Among them, ‘Gilga’ appears to be an attested abbreviation. In many places this short form better suits the metre, and where this is the case I have used it.

* Shamhat, queen of temple-maidens: The etymology of the personal name is strongly associated with superlative feminine bodily beauty. Shamhat was a hierodule, or ‘temple slave’, but more than that, a sexual initiate of the temple, a cultic harlot paid for her favours, which were viewed as a religious rite. She appears to have been superior in her skills. Uruk was well-known as a cultic sanctuary of Ishtar, goddess of sexual love, and it is likely Shamhat was employed at the temple of that goddess.

* till the building quaked and shuddered: Unfortunately there is a considerable lacuna in the cuneiform sources between this line in my rendering and some 29 lines further down, where we reach ‘Enkidu, released, plunged downward’. which is similarly marked with an asterisk. This means that there is no actual description of the fight in the original sources. But in a creative version of the story, no matter how nearly geared to the original, we can’t do without a fight – can we? And if Derrek Hines can reveal to us Humbaba’s lasers and describe this street to-do in these lively terms:

Sudden jostling in the crowd:
the fight is hijacked by the expectations
of spectacle –
paparazzi:

… … … … … …

They topple into each other
like the Empire State and Chrysler buildings;
their hearts trapped in the elevators,

their minds locked in the blueprints
of testosterone flesh and muscle

then I think I’m justified in doing a little filling in – which for continuity’s sake, I have.

* Shamash: The Akkadian sun god, twin of Ishtar, goddess of love, and patron of Gilgamesh.

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