The Epic of Gilgamesh is one of the world's earliest hero stories; as such, it is the source for many other stories of its kind.
Gilgamesh was a real person. His name appears on a list of kings of Uruk, a Sumerian city. The epic story in which he features was originally a series of spoken tales that were eventually written down, in cuneiform, on clay tablets. The most complete version comes from the library of the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal.
The Epic is an adventure story. Gilgamesh passes several tests of strength and will, including winning a fight to the death against an impossibly strong bull sent by one of the gods. He survives an epic journey across an endless sea in order to visit an immortal hero who survived a massive deadly flood by building a huge boxlike sailing vessel in which he carried his family and a large number of animals to safety.
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