Prerequisite Of A Decent Afterlife In The Epic Of Gilgamesh

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Prerequisite of a Decent Afterlife Similar to that of a candle, the body perishes as time passes by, like the smoke of an extinguished flame, the spirit departs. Many have pondered how their spirit can be at ease, for the Babylonians during the time of Gilgamesh, the answers can linger in the tablet XII of the epic of Gilgamesh. The text in tablet XII conveys the guidelines on attaining a more desirable afterlife. Throughout the story, the importance of caring for loved ones, family, and procreation is shown through the acts of the characters or the fate they received. The interactions of the Babylonians throughout Gilgamesh XII reveals the importance of relationship in the Babylonian society. Endearment for family members is consistently…show more content…
Early in the lines 254 – 267 it is written that the man with only one son weeps bitterly in the afterlife. However, Gilgamesh’s questions “Did you see him who had two sons?", Enkidu informs Gilgamesh that the man with two sons fair a better afterlife (lines 254 – 267). This fact adds additional information on the importance of a son in the Babylonian society. A merely one additional son can change the atmosphere of ones’ afterlife. In addition, Gilgamesh asks about those with more sons, “His heart rejoices like a man who has four asses to yoke” (Middle of lines 254 – 267) the line indicates that the man with four sons is able to be happy even though he is in the afterlife. On top of that, the man with six sons was seen worthy enough to become a companion of the Gods (near the end of lines 254 – 267). The man with six sons was held in such of a high position that he was able to be in the presence of gods. He is told to be sitting on a throne rather than suffering, listening to judgments rather than receiving them. The importance of a son is shown by how they carry their father’s legacy and how the number of son affects the father’s afterlife. The texts in Gilgamesh XII shows the importance of procreation to Babylonian society, by how the number of sons can affect the father’s…show more content…
The palace eunuch and the infertile woman were described to be useless and worthless (1st two sentences in lines 268-285). Also, the man and the woman who refused consummate their marriage were told to be weeping, the woman was told to be weeping over a reed mat and the man was weeping over a rope (lines 268-285). On the next scene, the lines 286-303 shows those who have died. The leprous man, a man eaten by a lion, a man who fell to his death, a man without any funerary offerings, a man who died in battle and the stillborn children. All of them were suffering except the man who died in battle and the stillborn children who play on a table of gold and silver. The only thing mentioned about the man who died in battle is that his parents are not there for him and his wife is left to weep over his dead husband. In comparison, the man with no funerary offering is left to eat scraps and bread tossed in the street (Middle of lines 286 – 303). The text shows that those who left behind a family do not suffer as much as those who do not. Those who have no funerary offerings are left to eat trash. These sufferings can be avoided by friendships and procreation in the family. With more friends comes more funerary offerings, with more sons, comes a better afterlife, and a lasting

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