Gilgamesh and the Iliad. Two Parallels and the Possible Ways They Came Into Being

M.L. Meijer

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


In the first part, I focus on two parallels between Homer’s Iliad and the Epic of Gilgamesh. For a long time, the similarities in literary techniques and mythological motifs between these two works have occupied the minds of scholars, both classicists and Near Eastern specialists. I discuss these two parallels, one of which, to my knowledge, has not been observed before, the other having only been briefly discussed by Szabó (1956). In the second part, I address some important methodological issues that are at stake while comparing Gilgamesh and Homer in particular and ancient Near Eastern and Greek literature in general, whereby I discuss how these parallels might have come into being, especially focusing on the concept of shared cultural ideas as facilitators of cultural borrowing by way of historical contact. Hereby I argue that any addition of new parallels between eastern and Greek literatures to the ever-growing list potentially enhances our understanding of the possible ways individual Near Eastern motifs like the friendship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu (paralleled by the one of Achilles and Patroklos) ended up in the west.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGedenkschrift für B. Brentjes
EditorsH. Neumann
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2017


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