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Enkidu's Death In The Epic Of Gilgamesh

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The underworld was viewed as the opposite of what we think of heavens. It is a dark and shadowy alternative reality of the life on earth. Ancient Mesopotamians believed that the universe is a sphere and that one-half of it was occupied by the living and the other half was occupied by the spirits of the dead. It was believed that this world resides far away from the realm of the living, but it was physically a short distance underground. It was called the "land of no return". However, the world is neither a place of pain and dread but it also is not a place of happiness and comfort, but in fact is a diminished and dim version of the world of the living; thus it was not "hell". It was merely a place for dead spirits whose bodies, graves, or…show more content…
Tablet twelve is an Akkadian translation of a Sumerian poem. Here, Enkidu is still alive, despite dying in tablet seven; so because it contradicted the poem it was deemed an "inorganic appendage" to the poem. However, this poem explains to us what happens to the fates of the people in the hereafter. Gilgamesh is upset and voices this to Enkidu that some of his belongings fell through the carpenter's house into the underworld. When Enkidu offers to retrieve it, Gilgamesh tells Enkidu that he must not bring attention to himself or he will be captured by the "cries of the dead". Enkidu does the opposite of Gilgamesh's advice and is captured by Ereshkigal. Time passes, so Gilgamesh prays to the gods but none of them help him except Shamash. Shamash raises Enkidu's spirit from the underworld to earth and Gilgamesh asks Enkidu what he saw in the netherworld, Enkidu replies that a vermin devoured his body. Gilgamesh asks what is life like for the dead, Enkidu says that the more children you have the better you treated; the dead who don't leave anyone to mourn them are the lowest ranked spirits in the…show more content…
However, the spirit has to go through a journey to get to the underworld, and they believe the more offering they receive from the living the easier the transition will become. People can be reunited in the underworld, and they are capable of recognizing each other, however the personalities of those ghosts are not the same. When they reach the underworld they are "judged" by the Annunaki on which place in the underworld they will be assigned to. There is obvious social hierarchy in the underworld and the two factors that influence that are: the social status of the dead individual when they were alive, the condition of the corpse, grave, or cult statue that is received from the living, and the number of children the deceased had. For example, the higher the social status in the living world the higher it is in the underworld, the more decorated gravesite the better treatment in the underworld, and so on. It is no surprise that there are more texts that focus on taking care for the etemmu, because the Mesopotamians wanted to please the spirits so they can avoid being haunted by
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