The stories translated in this volume are all of ancient Mesopotamia, and they stand alongside the "Odyssey" and the "Arabian Nights" in being popular with an international audience at the dawn of history. The selection includes not only myths about the creation and stories of the flood, but also the longest and greatest literary composition, the "Epic of Gilgamesh". This is the story of a heroic quest for fame and immortality, pursued by a man who has an enormous capacity for endurance and adventure, for joy and sorrow, a man of great strength who loses a unique opportunity through a moment's weakness. So much has been discovered in recent years both by way of new tablets and points of grammar and lexicography that these new translations by Stephanie Dalley differ considerably from previous versions. As well as introduction and notes to each item, there is a glossary of deities, place-names, and key terms, together with a chronological chart, a map, and illustrations of some of the mythical monsters which feature in the book.
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