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Free «History of Western Civilization» Essay Sample

1. The Process by which Gilgamesh Forsakes the Quest for Eternal Life by Accepting the Wisdom of Mortality

After the death of his friend Enkindu, Gilgamesh sets on a journey to search for eternal life because he was afraid of death. His first stop was the great mountains of Mashu, which protected the rising and setting of the sun. They are guarded by scorpions that are half-man and half dragon(The Epic of Gilgamesh 5). Gilgamesh was not afraid of their stare which strikes death into men, but when they saw that he was not afraid of them, they approached him. Gilgamesh was in search of his father Utnapishtim, who had found eternal life and Gilgamesh wanted to question him about it. The man-scorpion allowed him to pursue his journey.

When he reached the garden of the gods, Shamash saw him and told him that he will not find what he is looking for. He begs Shamash to allow him not to see death. By the sea lived Siduri, the woman and maker of wine. She is concerned about Gilgamesh’s looks because he was depressed by the death of his friend (The Epic of Gilgamesh 5). When Gilgamesh tells her of his quest, she replies that he will never find it since the days of man are numbered and the gods allotted man to death and retained life among them. She advises Gilgamesh to enjoy life while he is still alive.



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Siduri tells him that no man has ever crossed the ocean where Utnapishtim resides, but also tells him that Urshanabi, the ferryman of Utnapishtim was close by in the woods fashioning the serpent brow of the boat, and he may be able to cross the ocean with him. After hearing this, Gilgamesh became furious and destroyed the tackle of the boat. Urshanabi enquired about his name and his mission and Gilgamesh tells him about his search for eternal life. Since he had destroyed the boat that prevents the water of death from touching them, Gilgamesh is ordered to cut poles and fasten them with bitumen, so that they set them ferrules.

After crossing the water of death, they find Utnapishtim, also known as the Faraway, the only person the gods had given eternal life. After knowing his mission, he is told that there is no permanence (The Epic of Gilgamesh 6). He tells him that he was spared death by the flood, when Ea warned him of the imminent flood that was to destroy all mankind because of their sinful nature. Ea advises him to build a boat. When the flood came, he together with his family and their possessions survived. Enlil, the counselor, then gave them eternal life.

Utnapishtim tests Gilgamesh if he could resist sleep for six days and seven nights, but Gilgamesh could not make it. On the day of his departure, Utnapishtim reveals to him a secret to take back as a gift. He tells him that there is a plant that grows under the sea and if he could fetch it, it can restore men’s youthfulness. Gilgamesh goes under the sea and gets it. On their way back to Uruk, Gilgamesh goes to a well to bath, but a serpent inside it got attracted to the sweet smell of the plant and snatched it (The Epic of Gilgamesh 7). Gilgamesh is depressed, but has to complete his journey back home, where he dies like any other man despite his exemplary power and strength.

2. Concept of History and Historical Ownership of Land in Genesis

The book of Genesis in the Bible establishes the concept of history because it tells about the beginning of mankind. It begins with the story of creation, where God created all living and non-living things (Genesis 1: 1, King James Version). It then proceeds to give the history of the first man, Adam, his family and their expulsion from the garden of Eden. The sin of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden forms the basis for the curse that God placed on them and their offspring.

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The book of Genesis also that gives the reason for the mortality of men. The existence of many languages in the world can also be traced to the Biblical tower of Babel where God dispersed men by confusing them through language.

The concept of history is further enhanced by the story of the flood and Noah. Through it we get the biblical origin of different races. The journey of the Israelites in Egypt is brought out in this book. The selling of Joseph by his brother and the famine is the cause of their migration and the resulting slavery for four hundred years (Genesis 35:2 King James Version). The book also contains the story of the beginning of the twelve tribes of Israel.

Historical ownership of land is a concept that begins in the book of Genesis. Abraham and his nephew Lot dispersed in different directions to avoid conflict among themselves due to the large flock of animals that they owned. When the wife of Abraham died, he bought a plot of land from the Hittites so that he could buried her. Although the Hittites were willing to give him for free, he insisted on buying it so that his descendants could own it. The covenant of Abraham with God concerned land ownership. God promised Abraham that He will give his descendant the whole land of Palestine as an inheritance.


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