The Epic of Gilgamesh & Ancient Mesopotamian

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In terms of religion, the epic tells us that the Mesopotamian people are polytheistic; they believed each of the gods to be the supreme authorities of their respective domains. They also saw them as their protectors which can be seen at the very beginning of the tale when they cry to the gods about their problem with Gilgamesh as a ruler effectively asking for help. Because they looked to the gods for protection one can infer they were deeply religious; much like the religions of today, people will be loyal to whichever god they feel will protect them evil during their lives.

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Although there is not much said in the way of gender roles in ancient Mesopotamia, they seemed to be believers in autonomy, as evidenced by one of their main grievances of Gilgamesh; he was indiscriminately raping of Uruk’s women without regard to their virginity or marital status – basically, the women had no choice. The people of Mesopotamia ultimately wanted to live in peace and harmony under a king who genuinely cared about their wellbeing instead of his own. When complaining about Gilgamesh they remark that a king should be somewhat of a shepherd to his people which indicates they would like their king to be guiding and nurturing to them, as a shepherd is someone who raises and cares for sheep.

Discussion Response

This is an articulate and well-thought response. I would agree that the people of Uruk favored civilization over wilderness as evidenced by the Mesopotamian people and their desires for the type of king they’d like, wise, comely, and resolute (Sandars) – all traits of a civilized demeanor. Their favor of civilization over savagery is made interesting because, in the end, it was the savagery of Enkidu that played a significant role in changing the attitude of Gilgamesh and changing him into the type of ruler they wanted and needed.

Discussion Prompt Two

One choice that Odysseus made that demonstrates his strong leadership quality is his decision to try and deceive the Cyclops Polyphemus; this is an incredible decision not only because of Polyphemus’ physical nature but because Odysseus had just seen him brutally murder and consume two of his men. Instead, he kept his cool and demonstrated the mental tenacity of a leader which allowed for him to create his successful plan to get Polyphemus drunk, give him the wrong name of Nobody so he could not effectively ask the other Cyclopes for help, Nobody is killing me now by fraud and not by force! (Homer 9.450), and then escape under the animals.

Another decision made by Odysseus that shows his leadership ability is his choice be dedicated to Athena’s plan for him to stay disguised as a beggar when he returns to Ithaca. His leadership skills also help to keep up the rouse when a nurse recognizes him due to a scar he has as he is able to convince her to keep quiet. Even after seeing his wife Penelope and being tempted to reveal himself, he was able to put his personal feelings aside for the good of his family and the people of Ithaca.

Effective leaders all have certain qualities in common including a commitment to their causes, the ability to persevere under adverse circumstances, and a willingness to take risks to achieve desired resultsall characteristics shown by Odysseus.

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The Epic of Gilgamesh & Ancient Mesopotamian. (2019, Jul 29). Retrieved September 27, 2022 , from
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