Wednesday, August 8, 2007

O Enkidu, my brother....

Ooh ooh! Akkadian! there's a language to have on your CV if ever there was one! So we'll start after thesis hand-in date....i.e. late September. I've always fancied learning cuneiform, but am a bit doubtful about the literature that this will unlock. I've got a feeling it's more of an 'accounting' language like Linear wassname, so we might eventually be able to unravel a few king-lists or fathom out the contents of the royal granaries rather than translate previously untranslated epic poetry. Wasn't Gilgamesh written in Akkadian? I love that epic, especially when the selfish bull-in-a-chinashop hero mourns Enkidu.....three thousand years old and still has the power to move:
' O Enkidu, my brother,
You were the axe at my side,
My hand's strength, the sword in my belt,
The shield before me,
A glorious robe, my fairest ornament'

'He touched his heart but it did not beat, nor did he lift his eyes again. When Gilgamesh touched his heart it did not beat. So Gilgamesh laid a veil, as one veils a bride, over his friend.'

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