The Hittite Gilgamesh
From the late third millennium BCE on, the adventures of Gilgamesh were well known throughout Babylonia and Assyria, and the discovery of fragmentary Akkadian-language fragments of versions of his tale at Bogazkoy, Ugarit, Emar, and Megiddo in Palestine demonstrates that tales of the hero's exploits had reached the periphery of the cuneiform world already in the Late Bronze Age.
In addition to the manuscripts in the Hittite language recounting Gilgamesh's adventures, two Akkadian versions and fragmentary Hurrian renderings have turned up at the Hittite capital Hattusa. This volume offers an edition of the material from Bogazkoy, which has been of particular importance to modern scholars in reconstructing the epic and analyzing its development, since it documents a period in the history of the narrative's progressive restructuring and elaboration for which very few textual witnesses have yet been recovered from Mesopotamia itself. And it is this very Middle Babylonian or Kassite period to which scholarly consensus assigns the composition of the final, canonical, version of the epic.
Gary Beckman is Professor of Hittite and Mesopotamian Studies at the University of Michigan. He has written and published widely on the Ancient Hittites.