Epic of Gilgamesh
Names here are in Akkadian as they appear in the most integrated text of the Gilgamesh story so far discovered, known as the ‘Standard Babylonian’ version (C13-10 BCE). Their earlier Sumerian forms, where known to be different, are in parentheses.
Gilgamesh (Bilgames) – Part-human, part-divine king of Uruk.
Enkidu – A wild man, created by the gods to pacify Gilgamesh.
Shamhat – Sacred temple prostitute from Uruk.
Ninsumun – ‘Lady of the Wild Cows’: tutelary goddess and mother of Gilgamesh.
Aruru – fertility goddess with many names who creates Enkidu.
Huwawa (Humbaba) – Monstrous and terrifying guardian appointed by Enlil to protect the Cedar Forest.
Anu (An) – God of the sky. Supreme among the three most powerful gods, but keeps a relatively distant profile.
Enlil – God of air, wind and storms. One of the three most powerful gods, he shows a particular dislike for humankind and was the main driving force behind the Deluge.
Ea (Enki) – God of water and knowledge. Clever and creative, he oversaw the creation of humankind, regularly sponsors its progress, and opposed the Deluge.
Ishtar (Inanna) – Goddess of lust, sex, war, and power. With a frighteningly powerful set of roles she is mercurial, temperamental, regularly involved in power struggles with other deities, and extremely dangerous to have as an enemy.
Shamash (Utu) – God of the sun, and of justice. Sees everything that happens in the world from his sun-chariot and provides Gilgamesh assistance on his quest.
Ereshkigal – Goddess who rules the underworld. Older sister, and fierce rival, of Ishtar.
Siduri – Wise goddess of brewing and wine-making who runs the tavern at the edge of the world.
Uta-napishti/Utanapishtim – An ancient human immortal, said to have survived the great flood.
Urshanabi – Uta-napishti’s ferryman.