Epic of Gilgamesh
The Epic of Gilgamesh is an epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia, regarded as the earliest surviving notable literature and the second oldest religious text, after the Pyramid Texts. The literary history of Gilgamesh begins with five Sumerian poems about Bilgamesh, king of Uruk, dating from the Third Dynasty of Ur. These independent stories were later used as source material for a combined epic in Akkadian. The first surviving version of this combined epic, known as the "Old Babylonian" version dates to the 18th century BCE and is titled after its incipit, Shūtur eli sharrī. Only a few tablets of it have survived. The later Standard Babylonian version compiled by Sîn-lēqi-unninni dates from the 13th to the 10th centuries BCE and bears the incipit Sha naqba īmuru. Approximately two-thirds of this longer, twelve-tablet version have been recovered. Some of the best copies were discovered in the library ruins of the 7th-century BC Assyrian king Ashurbanipal.