Friday, October 14, 2011

The Ten Oldest Books Known to Man

The list, care of Vintage & Anchor.

From said list...

2. Epic of Etana

Legendary king of Kish Etana is the subject of an epic dating back to around 2600 BCE, though information on the ancient Akkadian story remains sadly scarce on the internet. The story of his life revolves around his devotion to the goddess Ishtar (also known as Inanna) and painful yearning for an heir to the throne. Having earned her favor, Etana accomplishes this goal through a series of fantastic adventures, including a trip to the heavens in order to find a potent plant that will grant his wishes. Along the way, he encounters a giant eagle and serpent beholden to the god Utu and struggles against incredible odds to seize upon the magical plant. His success results in the birth of his son Balih, who then takes up the mantle of king when it is implied that Etana and the giant eagle fly off together with Ishtar’s blessing and protection. Only fragments of the poem exist, however, with several lines and words missing, so it is, of course, entirely possible that much of the original author’s (or authors’) intent remains obscured to today’s readers.

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