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The Epic of Gilgamesh

Polytheism was a form of belief that was predominant in the Ancient World across civilizations. Characteristics of polytheism are plentiful in mythology, especially in the Epic of Gilgamesh. The fate of death that the Mesopotamian gods ordained for humanity is a consistent theme written in various creation myths and accounts (Enuma Elish & Ishtar’s Journey to the Netherworld). Address this theme and discuss the following points:
 What are the characteristics of polytheism? How are these characteristics reflected in the pantheon of Mesopotamian deities? Discuss three gods and how they reflect polytheism.
 In what ways did the Ancient Mesopotamians relate to their gods? What rituals did they perform? Discuss two examples.
 Why and how did Gilgamesh try to achieve immortality? What motivated Gilgamesh to try to achieve immortality? Was he successful? Discuss the three instances where Gilgamesh sought immortality.
 Why was Utnapishtim granted immortality? Was this a reward? Or punishment? Explain.
 Why so pessimistic? How is this pessimism seen in the views of life, death, and the afterlife that the Ancient Mesopotamians had? How is that conveyed in the Epic and the other myths?

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