The Canterbury Tales Remixed: Gilgamesh

I find it really cool that Baba Brinkman created a rap album of modernized descriptions of literary classics, though I can’t say I’m a fan of rap. The fact that I recognized some of these stories was a plus, but even for the ones I didn’t know as well had my attention.

Anyone even passingly interested in the Epic of Gilgamesh, Beowulf, or the Canterbury Tales might want to try this out, though be warned, it’s still rap. So expect cursing and explicitness from it. Not that the Canterbury Tales by themselves are short on either.

Anyway, this is a great opportunity to bring up these works. So today’s post will focus on the Epic of Gilgamesh in particular, with posts on The Canterbury Tales and Beowulf coming up in the following weekends.

The Epic of Gilgamesh is mythologized story about a probably real king in the modern Iraq area, from the later 3rd millennium BC. There are several different versions, in various states of preservation, of the actual epic of Gilgamesh, dating to as late as the 1st millennium BC. They were written on clay tablets.

Interestingly enough, this isn’t the only place I’m coming across Gilgamesh in pop culture. I’m also watching Fate/Zero, which is an  anime being simulcast from Japan; I was really, really excited that the 23rd episode had him make a veiled reference to Enkidu, and I wasn’t the only one, judging by the comments I saw.

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2 Responses to The Canterbury Tales Remixed: Gilgamesh

  1. Psycho Gecko says:

    There’s been a few references to Gilgamesh in popular culture. From the Final Fantasy wiki, it appears he’s been in all or most of the games in varying roles. In my personal experience, he’s appeared in the Final Fantasy series a few times. In FF5 he was a recurring enemy boss until he was banished to another dimension. In FF8, he would show up as a special random summon after the death of Odin, using one of four swords to attack the enemy. Excalipoor, which did only one 1 hp of damage, was not the one you wanted to get stuck with.

    And yeah, Gilgamesh is all up in the Fate/ stuff like it was getting married in Uruk.

    Oh, and there’s the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Darmok” in which Picard and the captain of an alien vessel that all species are unable to communicate with get stranded in a planet’s widerness. It’s discovered that they comminucate by metaphor, leading to this exchange between Picard and the wounded alien captain:

    • Marie Erving says:

      Actually, now that I think about it a bit more, it’s probably surprising I don’t run across Gilgamesh more often in pop culture. His name is fairly well known, but I don’t think he gets as much attention as, for example, Hercules or King Arthur. Although it’s really hard to compete with King Arthur for attention.

      Thanks for linking that video! I really enjoyed hearing Patrick Stewart retell the story of Gilgamesh and Enkidu.

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