Though Dante had been instantly enchanted by the lovely Beatrice in the flesh when they first met as children, their passion was never consummated. When he saw her again, she was already married. The myth of Gilgamesh, one of the first known religious masterpieces without which civilization would be absolutely inconceivable, explored the spiritual struggles of mankind as had no previous mythological narrative. It represents the dawning of a new self-awareness and search for personal meaning. The revolutionary impact of Gilgamesh cannot be overstated: the story represented a wholly unique and novel way of understanding what it is to be a human being. The god Shamash reminded Enkidu of the most precious gifts that Shamhat had made possible: the deep, abiding friendship of Gilgamesh. The affection between these two mythical creatures is the first recorded example of soul-transforming, deeply reciprocated human empathy.