Gilgamesh in popular culture

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The Epic of Gilgamesh has directly inspired many 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).[1][2] 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.[2]


Classical music[edit]

Pop music[edit]


  • 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.
  • 2017 (October). Gilgamesh, adapted by Piers Beckley. Directed by Ray Shell. Produced by White Bear Theatre in Kennington, London.



  • Gilgamesh is referenced in both the prologue and epilogue of the 1964 episode of the Outer Limits, "Demon With a Glass Hand".[5]
  • The Gilgamesh story is a key part of the episode "Darmok" from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Captain Picard encounters an alien captain whose language is based on descriptive imagery from his culture's mythology. Trying to establish a common frame of reference for communication, Picard summarizes an ancient story from his own culture: that of Gilgamesh and Enkidu and their battle against the Bull of Heaven. The Darmok episode is itself a retelling of this story, with Picard corresponding to Gilgamesh and the alien captain, Dathon, corresponding to Enkidu.
  • Gilgamesh (anime), directed by Masahiko Murata.
  • 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.
  • Gilgamesh is used as one of the Servants in Fate/Zero and Fate/stay night anime.
  • Gilgamesh is comically referenced in Futurama Season 10 episode 5 titled "The Inhuman Torch".
  • In Batman: The Animated Series, reference is made to Project Gilgamesh, from which the character Bane is born. (Season 3, Episode 1)
  • Gilgamesh is referenced during a street play based on his story, in the Indian television series Bharat Ek Khoj episode 2, based on Indus Valley Civilization.
  • The Smiths must rescue Steve after he is kidnapped and taken to the North Pole. There, Santa Claus is using children to mine for precious stones from the Epic of Gilgamesh that he needs to perform an ancient ritual. American Dad (season 14,episode 7)
  • In The Tower of Druaga (anime), the king of Babylim and the first person to climb the tower was named Gilgamesh.


  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.[6]
  • 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.
  • Archer and Armstrong #0, written by Fred Van Lente and published by Valiant Comics features a retelling of the Epic of Gilgamesh from the point of view of one of the principal characters of the series, the immortal Aram Anni-Padda.[7]

Video games[edit]

Children's literature[edit]


  1. ^ Theodore Ziolkowski. Gilgamesh Among Us: Modern Encounters With the Ancient Epic, Cornell Univ Pr (December 8, 2011). ISBN 978-0-8014-5035-8
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Theodore Ziolkowski (Nov 1, 2011). "Gilgamesh: An Epic Obsession", Berfrois.
  3. ^ schork, jonathan (April 2015). Fearless Inanna. St.Petersburg, FL: sms2. pp. 159–160. ISBN 9781508774396. 
  4. ^ schork, jonathan (April 2015). Fearless Inanna. St.Petersburg, FL: sms2. p. 239. ISBN 9781508774396. 
  5. ^ Weil, Ellen and Wolfe Gary K., Harlan Ellison: The Edge of Forever, Ohio State University Press, 2002 ISBN 9780814208922
  6. ^ Gilgamesh at his castle in Abominable Charles Cristopher.
  7. ^ Archer and Armstrong #0 interview