chapter  9
55 Pages

DEATH, FUNERARY MONUMENTS AND ANCESTOR CULTS

For human beings, death is a momentous, sobering and perplexing event. Death is inevitable, and no amount of coercion, coaxing, or begging of the gods, fate, or the forces of nature, can reverse its inescapable arrival. The people of ancient Mesopotamia were well aware of the certainty of death. Already by the third millennium bc, its sombre presence pervaded Mesopotamian literature, finding its way, for example, into the ageless poetry of the Gilgamesh Epic, whose hero, lamenting the untimely death of his beloved friend Enkidu, searches in vain for immortality.