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Myths from Mesopotamia: Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others (Oxford World's Classics) Revised ed. Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0199538362
ISBN-10: 0199538360
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Editorial Reviews

Review


"Fresh, authoritative English translations from the sources."--Classical World


"A careful, scholarly edition of a variety of important texts from ancient mesopotamia. Dalley's scrupulous care in showing lacunae makes this a harder narrative for classroom use but her annotations are thorough and her insights illuminating."--Nick Humez, Montclair State
University


"[Dalley] obviously controls the material as a scholar."--Comparative Civilizations Review


About the Author

Stephanie Dalley is Shillito Fellow in Assyriology at the Oriental Institute, Oxford and a Senior Research Fellow, Somerville College, Oxford.
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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Revised ed. edition (February 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199538360
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199538362
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 0.9 x 5.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,466 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Howard Schulman on May 2, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For a course on Mesopotamian Religion I read most of the myths in this book. Each myth has a short introduction and frequent interesting and helpful footnotes. Although I am not an expert in this area, I thought the translations were easy to read. I also appreciated the way the stories were laid out. I also appreciated a glossary of god names, places, and key terms at the back and referred to it frequently. The myths included in the book cover many of the most essential myths of that era.

As an aside, I would not attempt to read these myths without the guidance of a class and teacher. They frequently take study and rereading many times to get the story. They're between 3000 and 4000 years old and really need some solid background information in order to fully understand them, as well. Also, keep in mind that many of these stories were meant to be chanted or otherwise performed at public functions, so that simple reading them on the page probably doesn't do them full justice.

Good luck!!
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Stephanie Dalley should be commended on this work. Her comments and notes are as valuable as the myths themselves and i prefer reading the Epic of Gilgamesh in her work over Andrew Georges' the Epic of Gilgamesh which seems to have been influenced more by the Joseph Campbell hero archetype. I would agree that this is the most up to date translation and in Stephanie Dalley's own words, "such huge strides have been made in our understanding of the cuneiform script and the Akkadian language during the past three decades that new translations need no justification."
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By SELDAB on December 27, 2012
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This book might not include everything, or be the newest and best, but if you are looking to purchase just one book on the Sumerians/Akkadians/Ancient Babylon, it has to be this one. All of the popular and must read classics are here and I think these are the kinds of things we should have read in grade school, instead of some of the other useless rubbish crammed down our throats!
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A must for anyone interested in Biblical origins, and the general mythological climate of the Ancient Near East. Nicely laid out, artistic look and feel, so one see's the poetic nature of the myths. Excellent resource.
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This book is almost an encyclopedia of different translations of the same or correlated but fragmentary tablet texts. One has to marvel that the complete story was ever extracted. However, it is a good study in the difficult work of piecing together historical material to get the intended story. The story itself is corroborated from other sources and is part of the demythologized records of creation, the flood, and the activities of the main players most of whom were extraterrestrials of the Annunaki variety. It was a somewhat difficult task to wade through the book but on the whole was worth the effort.
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I am not Mesopotamian scholar, but I really like this book. If you are a fan of Gilgamesh, I would say this is a must. It contains original translations of even scraps of Akkadian writings. I will be adding much more to my teaching of Gilgamesh now that I have read this book.
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Continuing my exploration of ancient mythology I got this book, which contains most (if not all) of the major myths from Mesopotamian mythology. I am rather new to this sort of literature (save the mandatory reading of Greek myths as a high school freshman) and not a language scholar, so I can't really comment on quality of translation. However, as pure reading material, I found the Canaanite myths a little more interesting. The source material for these is also a great deal more fragmented, so there are frequent issues of comprehensibility (but not in macrocosm). The big story that probably everyone will recognize (but not necessarily have read) is 'The Epic of Gilgamesh.' It certainly was a great read, but there were other stories in here that I found more engaging. For one, the story of Atrahasis, was a good one, relating a story of creation as well as one similar to the story of Noah in Genesis. I also found the Epic of Creation to be fascinating, definitely more so than the ones found in the Bible. It was also the most intact/complete out of everything in here. The book also has different variations on Ishtar's descent into the Underworld, Nergal and Ereshkigal. However, my absolute favorite was Anzu, the bird-god who stole the Tablet of Destinies. The last story in the book, Erra and Ishum, was also interesting in that it reminded me a lot of prophecies of Israel's destruction in the second half of the Old Testament. Overall, as a collection of Mespotamian myths, there's probably not a better book than this one. There are plenty of notes on the translations as well as chapter introductions which give an overview of what you're about to read and the nature of the sources. There is also a glossary of terms and select bibliography. I can highly recommend this to anyone interested in ancient mythology.
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This is a fascinating look at all of the myths from Sumer and Babylon that have been found and translated. If you are curious about ancient myths this is a great book. The stories are easily read and understood and each has an introduction explaining when and where it was found. Here you'll find Gilgemesh, Marduk, Atrahasis, and Utnapishtim, among others. At the back of the book is a complete glossary of all the gods and heroes of Mesopotamia. I highly recommend this book.
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