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4,500 years ago — A sustained drought began across the north of Africa. Over the next 300 years increasingly large numbers of western desert nomads (collectively, the Amerru or Amorites) arrived in Mesopotamia. About this same time the first oral Gilgamesh poems began to circulate.

3,200 years ago — The learned Babylonian scholar Sin-Liqe-Unninni wrote what is called the “standard version” of the Gilgamesh epic. The oral tradition is sometimes overlooked as a responsible custodian of the past; some scholars now think that Sin-Liqe-Unninni may have just divided up and written on eleven clay tablets what had been an oral narrative.

The Gilgamesh Star Map credits Sin-Liqe-Unninni’s standard Babylonian Gilgamesh as a witty star map, but perhaps his "map" interpretation was inspired by an oral literature of the western deserts that was once a spoken story-almanac.

  © 2010 Marilyn Gottlieb-Roberts     |    Site by Swampworks