Epic of Gilgamesh

                                        The first known work of literature, the Epic of Gilgamesh traces the
                                        travels of its hero (Gilgamesh) as he searches for immortality.  The
                                        loooong poem is interesting for serveral reasons.  Firstly, it contains an
                                        account of a great flood that matches with the Judaic version found in
                                        Genesis.  Secondly, it addresses the great philosophical questions of
                                        mankind: "who are we?" "Why are we here?" "What happens when we

                                        After a long quest and many trials, Gilgamesh is finally offered immortality
                                        by the gods, but he refuses it, choosing instead to embrace his mortality.
                                        The Epic of Gilgamesh is not a happy piece of literature.  It shows the
                                        world as a dark and mainly hopeless place, and offers peace and
                                        happiness only in the afterlife.  Scholars see this as an insight into the lives
                                        of the early Mesopotamians.  If Gilgamesh is any indication,
                                        Mesopotamian's only hope for happiness was a noble life and an
                                        honorable death.