Published Jan 2010
‘He who saw everything’ is the opening line from the first of eleven Assyrian clay tablets, which together with fragments from five other ancient languages provide our source material for The Epic of Gilgamesh. The oldest surviving work of sustained literature in the world, the epic resonates with themes that are fundamental to our culture. At the same time, it presents a tantalizingly enigmatic perspective on the ancient culture of the Near East.
Temple’s beautiful verse translation conveys both the dignity and the peculiar innocence of the epic. It highlights the astronomical and esoteric religious content, elucidating many puns and double entendres, and includes an introduction and notes explaining the text’s complex symbolic references and allusions.