It was during one of our meetings…
Traditionally, the first three gatherings of the new year are given over to a read through of the first three ritual dramas of the April Workshop.
Unlike some of our stories Lord of the Deep was based on a traditional text, the oldest written epic currently known to humankind.
Though ‘written’ may be stretching it…
Given that the cuneiform text is preserved in baked clay tablets, ‘chiselled’ would, perhaps be more accurate.
And this being the case, the text is not whole but fragmentary.
Roughly twenty percent of the neatly transcribed columns consist of lacunae.
But there is something else missing.
Even were all the tablets intact the epic gives no motivations for the trajectory of its plot.
The story is so familiar, so well known, that it is assumed by the story-teller that the motivations are also second nature to the audience and really all that remains is a series of vignettes or snap-shots which move the story along to its inevitable conclusion.
For a modern audience this will never do.
Not only do the motivations have to be made plain they also have to be made dramatic in order to dynamically and meaningfully drive the story forward.
So when our Trapper enters the throne room of Gilgamesh with his incredible tale of a terrifying Giant wandering the wilderness we are quite justified in pointing out, as one of our companions did, that Gilgamesh too is a Giant so the trapper’s story should not be quite so incredible.
But only if the tale is expected to be taken literally!
If it is not then it means that the civilisation responsible for producing it were more advanced than the best part of Christendom, who to this day regard the story of the life and death of Christ as an actual historical occurance, accurate in all its details.
So, is there any evidence in the text itself that the Gigantism is not meant to be taken literally?
When Gilgamesh returns to Uruk after overcoming the ‘Forest Demon’, Hum-Ba-Ba, his people do not recognise him.
This is hardly credible if his Gigantism is supposed to be read literally.
But if Gilgamesh’s and Enkidu’s Gigantism is not literal what can it represent?
Try, the two most important aspects of the human psyche, the Ego and the Id…