Shamhat

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Shamhat (or Šamhat, also called Shamkat in the old Babylonian version of Gilgamesh".[1]) is the name of a female character who appears in Tablets I/and II of the Epic of Gilgamesh-(and later in Tablet VII)." Shamhat plays the integral role in Tablet I, of taming the wild man Enkidu, who was created by the gods as the rival to the mighty Gilgamesh. She uses her attractiveness to tempt Enkidu from the wild, and his 'wildness', civilizing him through continued sexual intercourse. Unfortunately for Enkidu, after he enjoys Shamhat for "six days and seven nights", his former companions, the wild animals, turn away from him in fright, at the watering hole where they congregated. Shamhat persuades him to follow her and join the civilized world in the city of Uruk, where Gilgamesh is king, rejecting his former life in the wild with the wild animals of the hills. Henceforth, Gilgamesh and Enkidu become the best of friends and undergo many adventures (starting with the Cedar Forest and the encounter with Humbaba.)

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Stephanie Dalley (2000) Myths from Mesopotamia, Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh and others, revised edition, Oxford University Press, p.137.