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The Hittite Gilgamesh

By Gary Beckman


From the late third millennium BCE on, the adventures of the hero Gilgamesh were well known throughout Babylonia and Assyria, and the discovery of Akkadian-language fragments of versions of his tale at Boğazköy, Ugarit, Emar, and Megiddo demonstrates that tales of the hero's exploits had reached the periphery of the cuneiform world already in the Late Bronze Age. A century of excavation at the Hittite capital of Hattusa (modern Boğazköy) has yielded more textual sources for Gilgamesh than are known from all other Late Bronze Age sites combined. The Gilgamesh tradition was imported to Hattusa for use in scribal instruction, and has been of particular importance to modern scholars in reconstructing the epic and analyzing its development, since it documents a period in the history of the narrative for which very few textual witnesses have yet been recovered from Mesopotamia itself. And it is this very Middle Babylonian period to which scholarly consensus assigns the composition of the final, "canonical" version of the epic. The Hittite Gilgamesh offers a full edition of the manuscripts from Hattusa in the Hittite, Akkadian, and Hurrian languages recounting Gilgamesh's adventures.


"A necessary place to start with the investigation of what reading Gilgameš in Hattuša meant is Gary Beckman’s much welcomed book The Hittite Gilgamesh.… It is heartening to see that a devoted study of many years by an individual scholar published in book form cannot be outdone by an online edition of the Hittite texts.… With Beckman’s study a new vista opens for exploring how the Epic travelled to the western ends of the Cuneiform world, more than one-thousand miles away from Babylonia, and what happened to it once it arrived there. His book on Gilgameš sits nicely on the shelf…"—Yoram Cohen, Tel Aviv University, Bibliotheca Orientalis 78 (2021): 166–72 

The Hittite Gilgamesh

  • More info

    Journal of Cuneiform Studies Supplements Series vol. 6

    112 pages

    8.5 x 11 inches

    ISBN 978-1-948488-06-8 (hardcover)

    ISBN 978-1-948488-07-5 (PDF)

    June 2019

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  • Table of Contents


    Register of Texts




CTH 341.I—Akkadian

CTH 341.II—Hurrian

    CTH 341.III—Hittite

    Unplaced Hittite Fragments

    Appendix: CTH 347—Atra-ḫasīs



    Indexes to Hittite Language Texts


  • Reviews

    "Hittite philologists, the author’s primary audience, will want to own this collection of texts, which are of importance not only to multilingualism in Hattusa but also to such diverse matters as the transformation of Mesopotamian mythology beyond Mesopotamia and, more generally, to crosscultural interaction and literary history in antiquity. All scholars of the ancient world interested in the reception and reinvention of Gilgamesh in cuneiform traditions will profit from study of the material Beckman has conveniently gathered and expertly elucidated."—Felipe Rojas, Brown University (Review of Biblical Literature, July, 2021)

    "We should thank Beckman for one more meticulous work to add to so many others of his that have been enlightening us these many years."—Richard Beal, University of Chicago, Journal of Near Eastern Studies 80 (2021): 415–418


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