The Great Myths #1: Gilgamesh Begins

The Great Myths #1: Gilgamesh Begins Human Voices Wake Us

A reading from the beginning of Andrew George’s translation of the epic of Gilgamesh, with a long prologue about what the story means to me. More episodes from Gilgamesh will follow, & this will begin a long series on mythology & religion. Buy Andrew George’s translation here: Buy NK Sandars’s prose version here: Buy David Ferry’s version here: Any comments, or suggestions for readings I should make in later episodes, can be emailed to I assume that the small amount of work presented in each episode constitutes fair use. Publishers, authors, or other copyright holders who would prefer to not have their work presented here can also email me at, and I will remove the episode immediately. — Send in a voice message: Support this podcast:

An episode from 12/19/20: In the very first episode of The Great Myths, I set out the goals of the series, talk about my introduction to mythology, and read from the first story, from Mesopotamian Epic of Gilgamesh.

The prototypical Wild Man Out of Nature, Enkidu, is created for the express purpose of reigning in the excesses of a nearby ruler, Gilgamesh. But first, he must be “civilized” and brought from the country to the city, as happens here, with the help of a sacred prostitute, named Shamhat. The loss of Enkidu’s connection to nature is still quite moving, as is his first experience of bread, beer, and a good haircut.

The other readings from Gilgamesh can be found here.

The translation I read from is by Andrew George.