Gilgamesh in popular culture
The Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh has directly inspired almost a hundred manifestations of literature, art, music, and popular culture, as identified by Theodore Ziolkowski in the book Gilgamesh Among Us: Modern Encounters With the Ancient Epic (2011). It was only during and after the First World War that the first reliable translations of the epic appeared that reached a wide audience, and it was only after the Second World War that the epic of Gilgamesh began to make itself felt more broadly in a variety of genres.
- The City beyond the River (1947) by Hermann Kasack. The epic becomes a metaphor for post-war Germany.
- River without Shores (1949–50) by Hans Henny Jahnn. The middle section is an analogy to the relationship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu.
- The Gouffé Case (1952) by Joachim Maass. A detective novel. Opens with an epigraph from the epic, with which the hero is so obsessed that he is known to his friends as “Gilgamesh-Edmond.”
- Charles Olson wrote about the epic in his essay “The Gate and the Center” and in such poems as “La Chute” and “Bigmans” (1950s and 60s).
- Gregory Corso, poems (1950s).
- The Time Masters (1953/1971) and Time Bomb by Wilson Tucker. The protagonist, Gilbert Nash, has a mysterious past.
- Gilgamesh: Romanzo (1959) by Gian Franco Gianfilippi. The first in a wave of historical novels based on the epic. A wave including works in Italian (Paola Capriola), English (Robert Silverberg, Stephan Grundy), German (Harold Braem, Thomas Mielke), French (Jacques Cassabois), and Spanish (José Ortega[disambiguation needed]).
- Gilgamesch (1966) by Guido Bachmann. An early classic of a genre Germans called "queer literature", it would inspire other works that examined the homosexual relationship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu. Other works include: Denmark (Henrik Bjelke), Germany (Thomas Mielke, Christian Kracht), France (Jacques Cassabois), and England (Edwin Morgan).
- In The Great American Novel (1973), a novel by author Philip Roth, the Gilgamesh myth is reworked into the tale of a fictional baseball player, Gil Gamesh, whose immortal aspirations are achieved by disappearing after his final game.
- Ölümsüzlük Ardında Gılgamış (Gilgamesh in Search of Immortality) (1981), a poetry book by Turkish poet Melih Cevdet Anday.
- Gilgamesh the King (1984) and To the Land of the Living (1986) by Robert Silverberg. Silverberg also contributed works of short fiction concerning Gilgamesh to the Heroes in Hell shared world series of Bangsian fantasy.
- In the Skin of a Lion (1987) by Michael Ondaatje. The title is a quote from Gilgamesh.
- Timewyrm: Genesys (1991), by John Peel, is the first of the New Doctor Who Adventures published by Virgin. The book describes the Doctor meeting Gilgamesh, and relates the epic of Gilgamesh as a Doctor Who story.
- How Like a God (1997) by Brenda W. Clough is based on the epic.
- Gilgamesh (1999), historical fiction by Stephan Grundy which retells the legend.
- In the final issue of Mage II: The Hero Defined (1999), Matt Wagner uses the Epic of Gilgamesh as a parallel to the life of Kevin Matchstick, who was previously compared to King Arthur.
- ghIlghameS (2000), a translation into the Klingon language. ISBN 1-58715-338-6
- In Jane Lindskold's Athanor novels (1998–9), Gilgamesh and Enkidu are immortals who inspire legends under other names, including King Arthur and Sir Bedivere, respectively.
- 1001 Nights of Bacchus (2000), a graphic novel by Eddie Campbell, features a six-page collage story in which Gilgamesh is a Scottish-accented soccer hooligan near-incomprehensibly recounting the entire epic. The story also appeared, in color, on the back covers of issues 22–26 of Campbell's Bacchus magazine.
- Gilgamesh (2001) by Joan London, a postfiguration in which the epic becomes the structural key for a world torn by politics and betrayal (modern Armenia).
- 1979 (2001) by Christian Kracht, in which the epic provides the pattern for the homoerotic theme set against the background of the Iranian Revolution.
- Fate/stay night (2004), a Japanese visual novel written by Kinoko Nasu and developed by Type-Moon.
- The Adventures of the Faithful Counselor (2005), a novella-length poem by Anne Sheldon.
- Fate/Zero (2006), a Light Novel authored by Gen Urobuchi, illustrated by Takashi Takeuchi and written in collaboration with Type-Moon, features Gilgamesh as one of the antagonists.
- Never Grow Old (2007) by Brian Trent (ISBN 0595429831) is a novelization of the epic. The chapters are arranged into eleven tablets, and the title derives from the mythical plant which grants immortality.
- Bartimaeus (book series) the titular character helped building the walls of Uruk, a feat originally attributed to Gilgamesh.
- Like Mayflies in a Stream (2009) by Shauna S. Roberts (ISBN 978-0982514009) is a novelization of the first half of the epic from the viewpoint of Shamhat, who tamed Enkidu.
- The Sorceress: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel (2009), a novel in The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series by Michael Scott (Irish author) (ISBN 978-0-385-73529-2). Gilgamesh the King is described as a homeless man, immortal, and extraordinarily forgetful. He helps the twins, Sophie and Josh, to learn the magic of Water.
- Long Time by Rick Norwood, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Jan/Feb 2011, a retelling of the Gilgamesh legend by a cynical immortal soldier serving in Gilgamesh's army.
- The 13th Tablet by Alex Mitchell, London, Haus Publishing, 2012 (ISBN 978-1908323095), a mystery archaeological thriller set in Iraq, Israel and London, takes the Gilgamesh epic to new heights and particularly the flood tablet.
Classical Music 
- The Epic of Gilgamesh (Martinů), 1955 choral work by the Czech composer Bohuslav Martinů.
- Gilgamesh (Kodallı opera) 1962–1964 opera in Turkish
- Gilgamesh (Saygun opera) 1964–1970 Op.65 opera in Turkish
- Gilgamesh (Nørgård opera) (1971–72) is an opera in Danish by Per Nørgård based on the epic.
- Gilgamesh (Brucci opera) (1986), an opera in Serbian by Yugoslavian composer Rudolf Brucci based on the epic.
- Gilgamesh (Battiato opera) (1992), an opera in Italian by Italian composer Franco Battiato based on the epic.
Pop music 
- Golem II the Bionic Vapour Boy, a song by Mike Patton's band Mr. Bungle mentions Gilgamesh.
- Girugamesh, name of Japanese rock band is a transliteration of Gilgamesh, some of their song names allude to the epic as well.
- "The Mesopotamians," a song by They Might Be Giants, features Gilgamesh, along with Sargon, Hammurabi, and Ashurbanipal (other rulers of Mesopotamia).
- He Who Saw The Deep, an album by iLiKETRAiNS, takes its title from an original styling of The Epic Of Gilgamesh.
- Gilgamesh, from the album Rapconteur by rap artist Baba Brinkman, A modern retelling of the epic in rap form.
- 'Gilgamesh', 2010 Album from Australian alternative pop duo Gypsy & The Cat.
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- 1989 Turn left at Gilgamesh, a play by New York playwright Rory Winston.
- 2007 (September/October). Gilgamesh in Uruk: GI in Iraq, adapted by Blake Bowden. Directed by Regina Pugh, with original music composed by Grammy-nominee, Steve Goers, and original puppetry by Aretta Baumgartner. Produced by The Performance Gallery in Cincinnati, OH.
- 2007 (July). Chronicles – the custom of lamenting, based on the adaptation and completed Polish translation of Gilgamesh by Robert Stiller. Directed by Grzegorz Brai with original music based on Albanian and Greek polyphonic laments. Produced by Song of the Goat Theatre in Poland.
- 2007 (April). Gilgamesh, adapted by Yusef Komunyakaa and Chad Gracia. Original music composed and performed by Billy Atwell. This project was a part of the New York Institute for the Humanities "War Music Festival." Produced by the Classical Theatre of Harlem.
- 2007 (March/April). Gilgamesh, adapted by Stephen Sachs. Directed by Sachs and Jessica Kubzansky. Produced by The Theatre @ Boston Court in Pasadena, CA.
- 2009 (March). "Rag Fur Blood Bone: The Epic of Gilgamesh". Written by Michael Yates Crowley, Directed by Michael Rau. Produced at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center at BMCC in New York, NY.
- "This Unnameable Little Broom" (1985) by the Quay Brothers is an animated short based on the Epic of Gilgamesh.
- Gilgamesh (1990) by Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio
- Unlimited Blade Works (2010), based on the Type Moon's visual novel Fate/Stay Night, he is the main antagonist.
- The Gilgamesh story is a key part of the episode "Darmok" from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Captain Picard encounters an alien whose entire language is based on metaphors that refer to their culture's mythology. After he realizes this, Picard makes steps to break the language barrier by telling the alien a "very old story", an abbreviated version of the Epic of Gilgamesh.
- Gilgamesh (anime), directed by Masahiko Murata.
- Gilgamesh is a central character in the anime series Fate/Stay Night which is based on the visual novel by Type Moon., and in its prequel, Fate/Zero.
- Gilgamesh is also used as a part of two other anime, The Tower of Druaga: Aegis of Uruk and The Sword of Uruk. Story elements and names are used.
- Gilgamesh appears in the Hercules: The Legendary Journeys episode, "Faith," and is played by Tony Todd. His half-sister is established to be Nebula, who had already appeared on the series. He is depicted as the king of Sumer and recently having lost his family. A parallel is drawn between him and Hercules, who experienced a similar loss. Gilgamesh's loss, though, causes him to succumb to the influence of Dahak – leading him to work toward bringing the demon god into the world by killing the Sumerian gods and providing the sacrifice of a warrior heart. He tricks Hercules into aiding in his plan and kills Iolaus (who was shielding Nebula, the intended sacrifice). Hercules kills Gilgamesh soon afterward.
- The Watchers organization was created by Ammaletu the Akkadian after he saw Gilgamesh coming back to life. Thus making Gilgamesh the first immortal to be documented by a mortal in Highlander: The Series.
- The Epic is seen in The Secret Saturdays, though with some alterations. Instead of telling the story of Gilgamesh's quest for immortality, it depicts his battle against an ancient Sumerian cryptid known as Kur. The Saturday family was searching for it, hoping that it might contain clues on driving the Kur spirit from Zak. Apparently a legion of Romans in Algeria were in possession of the tablets before being driven off by a Sea Centipede, from which the tablets were again taken by Vikings and buried with them. These remains told of a tool called The Flute of Gilgamesh, which has the ability to drive Kur from a physical body, that was stolen by the Naga at some point. When the Saturdays managed to acquire the flute and began to use it; they discovered that if they try to drive Kur out of Zak with it; it would kill him in the process. The Flute was later stolen by Argost and used along with the Smoke Mirror to pull in Zak Saturdays' evil parallel doppelganger: Zak Monday, whom Argost used the Flute on to remove the Anti-Kur from and merge with it, Argost then destroyed the Smoke Mirror and the Flute of Gilgamesh afterwards, but managed to keep a recording of its tune in order to remove Kur from Zak Saturday and merge with it as well; only for matter/anti-matter backlash to occur and removed Argost from our plane of existence altogether.
- From the episode Appointment with Death of Agatha Christie's Poirot (UK airdate 25 December 2009), Dame Celia Westholme comforts Jinny Boynton by telling her the story of Gilgamesh "the most beautiful man in all creation", after an abduction attempt was made on Jinny.
- "Demon with a Glass Hand" is an episode of The Outer Limits television series and in it is portrayed the saga of the Eternal Man, the one who never dies, called by various names in various times, but historically known as Gilgamesh.
- Witchblade episode Consectatio tells a story of Gilgamesh and Enkidu, may have been made up for the episode.
- In Lost Episode 2.08, John Locke is seen doing a crossword puzzle and puts "Gilgamesh" as the answer to the clue "Enkidu's friend".
- The Quest of Gilgamesh (1954), BBC radio play by Douglas Geoffrey Bridson.
- Gilgamesh, 1.5 hour adaptation as a radio play on BBC Radio 3, first broadcast 11 June 2006 
- Gilgamesh II, a satirical graphic novel by Jim Starlin in which an infant (the last of his doomed race) is rocketed to Earth Superman-fashion, but whose life follows the trajectory of the Gilgamesh legends. ASIN B00071S7T8
- The Argentine comic book Gilgamesh the immortal turns Gilgamesh into an immortal whose life spans across all human history and a post-apocalyptic future
- In Marvel Comics Gilgamesh is one of the Eternals, a race of immortal beings that live on Titan and have been mistaken for Gods over the millennia. Gilgamesh has performed many heroic feats, and has been mistaken for other heroes, such as Hercules. He is known as the Forgotten One after Zuras, the Leader of the Eternals, caused everybody on Earth to forget about him.
- Soft Skull Press published a graphic novel adaptation of the Epic of Gilgamesh in 2011 by Andrew Winegarner.
- The webcomic Abominable Charles Cristopher by Karl Kerschl features Gilgamesh as an adventurous king, who is initially trying to slay the unwitting protagonist when he approaches Gilgamesh's kingdom. Later their relationship evolves.
- Gilgamesh Wulfenbach, a character in the web comic, Girl Genius by Kaja and Phil Foglio.
- The Unwritten by Mike Carey and Peter Gross, issue 32.5 (Feb 2012), retells part of the Epic in a way that fits the series' examination of story-telling in human history.
Video games 
- In Namco's action role-playing game Tower of Druaga, Gilgamesh is known as Gil and is the main hero who must ascend the floors of Druaga's tower to rescue Ki. The game spawned the Babylonian Castle Saga franchise.
- The pre-designed game packaged with Electronic Arts' Adventure Construction Set, Rivers of Light, follows the Epic of Gilgamesh.
- In Type-Moon's visual novel Fate/stay night, which features spirits of past heroes summoned into a war for the Holy Grail, Gilgamesh is a primary antagonist hailed as the "King of Kings".
- The Final Fantasy series of video games includes, in some of its installments, a boss enemy named Gilgamesh and his "faithful sidekick," Enkidu.
- In the Civilization IV expansion pack, Beyond the Sword, Gilgamesh is the leader of the Sumerian civilization. His traits are creative and protective.
- In Namco's video game Tales of Phantasia, one of Cress Albaine's titles is Gilgamesh, which can be obtained finding particular objects.
Children's literature 
While far from being a child's story, The Epic of Gilgamesh and related Gilgamesh stories, have been adapted to children's literature:
- Gilgamesh. (1967). Written and illustrated by Bernarda Bryson. Henry Holt & Co. ISBN 0-03-055610-4. 1st edition is out of print.
- Gilgamesh: Man's First Story (2005). Written and illustrated by Bernarda Bryson Shahn. Whole Spirit Press ISBN 1-892857-01-4 2nd edition reissue.
- Gilgamesh the King (1991). Written and illustrated by Ludmila Zeman. Tundra Books. ISBN 978-0-88776-283-3 (0-88776-283-2).
- The Revenge of Ishtar (1993). Written and illustrated by Ludmila Zeman. Tundra Books. ISBN 978-0-88776-315-1 (0-88776-315-4).
- The Last Quest of Gilgamesh (1995). Written and illustrated by Ludmila Zeman. Tundra Books. ISBN 978-0-88776-328-1 (0-88776-328-6).
- Gilgamesh the Hero (2003). Retold by Geraldine McCaughrean, illustrated by David Parkins. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers. ISBN 0-8028-5262-9.
- Lugalbanda: The Boy who got Caught up in a War (2006). by Kathy Henderson, illustrated by Jane Ray. Candlewick. ISBN 0-7636-2782-8.
- Theodore Ziolkowski. Gilgamesh Among Us: Modern Encounters With the Ancient Epic, Cornell Univ Pr (December 8, 2011). ISBN 978-0-8014-5035-8
- Theodore Ziolkowski (Nov 1, 2011). "Gilgamesh: An Epic Obsession", Berfrois.
- http://www.king-of-heroes.co.uk/ (Nov 21, 2011). "King of Heroes", Kyle Melville.
- Gilgamesh at his castle in Abominable Charles Cristopher.