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Myths from Mesopotamia: Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others (Oxford World's Classics) Revised Edition
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"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
"[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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The one caveat I would make is that these texts are the result of excavations of stone etchings and so do not reflect the liveliness of a Homeric epic. There are frequent ellipsis, repetitions, etc. which drain the fluidity of these works.
The editor also could have provided more historical context. The book seems to assume that any reader interested enough to purchase the book would be fully conversant with ancient Mesopotamian history which, in this reader’s case, made the texts difficult.
Even so, the selection is excellent and the window they provide into the sources of Western and Near Eastern culture make this text suitable for anyone who is interested in peering at the roots of human civilization and thereby better understanding one’s place in the panoply of history.
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.