Association with the epos tradition of ancient world — trial for the search for eternity of Gilgamish and Alexander
Автор: Мете Халида Али кызы
Рубрика: 2. История литературы
Дата публикации: 09.11.2017
Статья просмотрена: 2 раза
Мете Х. А. Association with the epos tradition of ancient world — trial for the search for eternity of Gilgamish and Alexander [Текст] // Филологические науки в России и за рубежом: материалы V Междунар. науч. конф. (г. Санкт-Петербург, декабрь 2017 г.). — СПб.: Свое издательство, 2017. С. 8-13. URL https://moluch.ru/conf/phil/archive/258/13277/ (дата обращения: 22.06.2018).
The study includes the quest for immortality of mythic folk heroes — the earliest king heros of history Gilgamesh and Alexander the Great, the association of the immortality with Prophet Noah and Prophet Khidr, and in general, immortality in ancient myths and the trials that the hero faces on the search for it.
Keywords: Alexander, Gilgamish, Khidr, eternal life, elixir of immortality, immortality, folklore, Sumerian, epos, trial
Statement of the problem: Ancient Greek philosopher Socrates, still in the fifth century BC, confessed and declared (the conversation is described in the Fedon) that he primarily saw the assignment of philosophy in a person's preparation for death. However hard a humanbeing tried to live, to create, to obtain wealth and to master countless possessions, it is impossible for his body to remain unshaken and his soul to remain unshattered at the thought of the arrival of death at the end of life about which he has no exact information. These kinds of uncertainties until now have provoked thoughts of millions of people, explorers and researchers who have come forward with various conclusions about “the other world”. However, no tangible proofs regarding the life after death have been acquired except for the rotten bodies under the ground. The fear of death has sometimes pushed world rulers and brave, fearless fighters to such an edge that they have done their best to search for ways of attaining eternal life.
Purpose of the work: Even the earliest king hero of the world Gilgamish (referred to as Gılgamısh, Gilgamesh, Bilgamısh, Bilgamush in different sources) “roams about the world” in fear of death:
“Utnapishtim told him, to Gilgamısh:
«Hey Gilgamısh, why did you fall into misery when you are the son of god? Why are you defying the predestination of gods and people? Your father and mother always showed you only good things. Hey Gilgamish, why did you become a fool? The angry death always follows people creepily from behind. At some point we build houses, sign papers, divide the inheritance between brothers, then a day comes when these brothers start fighting for wealth… The stolen and the dead are the same. Death has no shape. You, son of Adam, you humanbeing; After blessing me (as we will see below,Uptatishtim received an exceptional treatment, and she was given an endless calmness; however, since then no another person was able to gain such an attention from gods.), great gods Anunnaki (These are underground gods unlike heavenly gods. (Prof. Landsberger)) came together. The writer of destinies goddess And (The symbol of unchangeable destiny. Whoever commits a sin, he is considered to have broken the promise. People are sinful by nature, so their destiny changes. (Prof. Landsberger)) defined the destinies with them. They defined death in tandem with life; they kept death a mistery though» (16, s 45).
Hero Gilgamish who is the fourth king of the first city of Sumerians after the Noah’s flood who reigns “the city of the gifted”. Gilgamish who is the happiest king of the most beautiful city where writing was first invented, where the first school teaching to read and write opened, where the first clay tablets were created, where the first chariots were made, where the first plow and ox-driven plow was used in crop harvesting, besides, where gardens were grown and fabrics were weaved.... As soon as he came to power, he built a big wall around the city to protect it from enemies. Such a wall through which no enemy could easily enter the city. Such a wall that no one would believe was built by humans. The foundation of it will be thought to have been put by the seven Erudites (According to the Sumerian belief the seven erudites — who were the disciples of the underground drinkable water god Ea, and accourding to the very ancient beliefs kings of the Sumerians — came out from under the seas and scattered to the cities to teach the people civilization, that is culture. The Storm Hero took them into his boat, and they started teaching civilization to people again after the storm.)
“Yet it was me who did it. Me, King Gilgamish. Amma bütün bunları mən etdim. Mən Kral Gilqamış. I put the blue foundation stone with my name on it as the founder in an untouched box with a bronze lock in the foundation of the city wall” says Gilgamish: “Let everyone see that no other king is capable of doing this but me”. But Gilgamish would not suffice with anything. He always kept on trying to do something for his people. We can clearly see it in his conversation with his closest friend Ehgidu: “At the end I will die just like everybody. Before I die I want to do something for my people that will make them happy, and make my good name live forever.” There exists only one thing that desparates, scares and strays Gilgamish who constantly tries for the welfare of uruq people, who is even capable of killing the wolf of the land of immortals Humbabay. The fear of death! (17, s.5–7).
Thus this issue is yet raised as a problem in the oldest first book of the world. Gilgamish whose two-thirds is god and one-third is human wants to comprehend the secret of death. The death of Engidu who was the only coequal of him by his strength and power mourns him, and at the same time he gets fills with fear of death which triggers him start searching the eternal life by willing to risk everything and enduring countless sufferings. In fact, this motive is very common in Turkic fairy-tales, epos and legends. We see the most striking example of this in the fairy tale, legend, narration and sayings related to Alexander. The traces of Gilgamesh are strikingly visible in the creation of legends about Alexander. Alexander is also the greatest ruler of the world. “Alexander became such a king that his name spread all over. Alexander received taxes and tributes from seventy-seven countries. And when all the kings heard his name, they trembled” (6, page.136–142). According to some sources, Alexander is a world-renowned scholar who has risen to the level of prophethood and understands all languages.
According to historical sources Alexander the Macedonian, Alexander III Great (Alexander Magnus, and in Islamic East Alexander Zulkarneyn, 356 BC — 323 BC) — is a prominent commander and state figure of the ancient world is a disciple of Aristotle. He was born in Pella, the capital of ancient Macedonia, and according to a legend, Herostrat burned the temple of Arthemida in Ephesus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world on the day he was born.
Traditionally, the Macedonian rulrs, including Alexander, claimed to have taken their offspring from Heraclus, a mythological hero. According to the legendary version put forward by Alexander himself, his true father was Egyptian Pharaoh Nektaneb II. Alexander who came to power ater his father Philip was killed, suppressed the rebellions against the Macedonian rule in Greece, Fracia, and Illyria, putting an end to the struggle for power in Macedonia. A great state emerged which bordered with the Balkans in the west, India in the east, Egypt in the south and the Black Sea in the north. But the new state created by him was relatively progressive compared to the Achaemenid state. After the death of Alexander, a number of Hellenic states emerged in the territory of the state that he had created.
Alexander’s military campaigns were a high stage of the ancient Greek military art. Alexander the Great increased the striking power of phalanx by multiplying their density, by developing the cavalry into the crucial striking and maneuvering force, using new type of cavalry (capable of fighting as cavalry and as infantry) and other important innovations.
Based on all these enumerated examples, it can be stated that both heroes are half-humans and humans who have the power to rule the world. They are also powerful and strong. However according to legends and epics, both have fear of death. Both of them have the desire to live forever. It is extraordinary that in both opuses they must go to the underworld of darkness to look for eternity. And in both eposus this erudite of the eternal life lives in waters.
Generally, water is regarded as sacred in Turkish folklore. Talking about voodoo-shaman and the messages he spread let's remember the tradition-story which has the same tone as (has things in common with) a myth. The most common story about shaman is the story of «Shaman's torture». In a number of versions of the tradition-story «Shaman falling ill». In a number of versions of the tradition-story «Shaman falling ill» it is narrated that shaman-voodoo falls into troubling condition and goes to the river bank, falls to the ground face down, and foam comes out of his mouth. He remains in this position for some time. After he regains consciousness he becomes a shaman — writes poetry and plays the saz. Let's pay attention to one issue here. The future shaman falling face down in the river (water) and sleeping is not an ordinary coincidence. It is connected to the ancient mythological thinking and the Turkic people considered water as one of the elements of the beginning. That's why the shaman falls ill by the beginning, thus asking it for help. Let's have a look at another stance in the tradition-stories. Shaman falls to the ground and remains in this position for a while. It is connected to the sacredness of the soil. Soil was regarded as mother (woman) in Turkic nations. The shaman of the future takes refuge in water and soil — Earth — a great, sacred mother, and with their help, gains the talent of a shaman. Hence, shaman who is the master of poem and saz of the future, who drives out the trouble and ilnesses has created faith in water and Earth (10). In Koroghlu epos of Azerbaijan as well, the water of the Goshabulag (double spring) gives a strong voice and a lot of power to Koroglu, and makes him a true lover. In general, water in epics gives a talent to sing and compose poems (9, p.231).
It is clearly visible from the sited examples that the attitude of Turkic peoples, including of Azerbaijani people to water and soil has been a ground for water and soil to become sacred. In this regard Ayat 6 of Surah 86- “Al-Thariq” (The Nightcomer) of the Holy Quran says “He was created from a gushing water”. In Ayat 11 of Surah 35 “Fatir” (The Originator) of the Noble Quran it is written: “And Allah did create you from soil; then from a drop; then He made you in pairs.” (8). Thus, these early worship objects have been associated with the creation of humans in the sacred scripts as well.
We see Gilgamish and Alexander by water, at the edge of the sea while looking for immortality. In Gilgamesh the road to immortality, the distance which he will cover in order to reach Utparishtim (in Sumerian-Zivsudra) who will tell him the mystery of eternal life, is again going through the sea. The very Uptarishtim who acquired immortality after the storm created by the gods in ancient times to perish humans. In the epos, while passing through the underground world of darkness and approaching the sea, Sakiye (Siduri), the owner of the drinking house, tells Gilgamish:
«Gilgamish, has not been such a passage up to now. No one has been able to cross the sea since old times. The only one who has gone beyond the sea has been brave Shamash. Who can go beyond the sea but Shamash? It's dangerous to cross the sea. The sea route is tough. Even if you cross the sea, even if you reach the water of death, what will you do after that? Gilgamis, there is a man there called Urshanaby who is Utnapishtim's sship captain. There are the Tashtankies with him (it is unknown what Tashtankies are; but the context gives us a probability that they are oarsmen. Because a drop of the water of death is enough to kill a himan. Indirectly, perhaps stone oarsmen were used to cross the sea (Prof. Landsberger)). Urshanabi collects lizards in the forest. You must find him yourself. If you find him, cross the sea with him, if you fail to find him, come back!” (16, s.43).
In order to find Khidr, Alexander too, must go to the place where two seas meet, where the dead fish come alive. In one of the versions of legends and fairytales about Alexander’s journey to the world of darkness in order to find Khidr the old man who shows him the way is a wise old man:
— Then you will come across a dark mountain where there is a spring; take a dead fish with you, and throw the dead fish into the water; if the fish comes alive, that means you have found the water of vitality (6).
In another version the person who guides him and even accompanies him is Khidr. In another version Khidr who accompanies him in his search for the water of vitality is fortunate to be able to drink the water, but Alexander is not (1).
Looking at Khidr’s functions in folklore, it turns out that this water does not merely give immortality, it also gives the person who drinks it (Khidr) the knowledge of wisdom science, information about the unperceived and many other characteristics. According to Sumerians, wisdom is located at the bottom of the water. Therefore, the Sumerians are obliged to Ehya (underwater god) for all the knowledge they possess. Eya was considered the protector of art, wisdom, and science. According to Sumerians, the writing was invented thanks to Eya. Eya's intellect allows humans to master the secrets of the underworld and the sky. Eya knew the cure for diseases, unhappiness and other adverse events. The secrets of sorcery and so on were known to him. People went to him for help and advice. According to an epic fable about the creation of the world, Eya created people from clay and gave them life with the blood of the dragon King. The epos about Gilgamesh shows that Eya made a cunning attempt to prevent the destruction of people by the order of Enlil. Eya was told not to tell people that they would perish. Eya also swore with gods that she would not tell people. But Eya found a way out. He told his mystery to Utnapishtim through a reed hut. (15). In fact, Eya's many functions overlap with the Khidr’s functions. As for the description of the waters of eternity, we should note that this water is located between the two seas. This is the same place that is shown in the Holy Qur'an. This can be supposed to be called so based on verses of Sura 18 al-Kahf (Cave). So that Verse 60–61 says that Prophet Musa's young friend Joshua-Ibn Nuna says that he will not return unless he meets the two seas to meet Khidr. So, to meet Khidr, Moses must go to the place where two seas meet. On the other hand, the verse also clarifies one point: «When they reached the two seas, they forgot their fish. The fish was resurrected and drifted into the water, and headed towards a ravine at the sea "(8, p.270).
In the example shown, the place of Khidr is depicted. The next verse points out their meeting. When Moses saw the fish resurrected, he said, «That's what we wanted, and he returned back to the joint of two seas tracing back their traces» (8, p.271). In some beliefs and sayings, the place where Moses and Khidr met and where the fish was resurrected is indicated to be what now is called Mount Xıdır Zhinda (This mountain is located in Siyazan in Azerbaijan, known in the geographical sources as Beshbarmak).
The mediator of the quest for immortality of the people is the vegetation of Utrapishtim in Gilgamesh, although it is the water of eternity in Alexander. Utparishtim tells Gilgamesh the only way to get the eternal life is to obtain the magic flower at the bottom of the sea:
This is what Uptarishtim tells Bilgamish:
«Bilgamish, you covered many ways,
Took a fire with your eyes,
What can I give you to take along?
Then listen to me,
I'll reveal a secret
I will tell you the the flower’s hidden secret.
This flower is at the bottom of the sea,
Evergreen, and ceaselessly grows, you see
Its thorns hurt your hands, wildflower
If you are destined to get the flower,
If you reach it somehow, sooth
Look, that is the flower of youth,
You will return to your youth "(3, p.96).
Although he obtains the flower, Bilgamish cannot use it. The snake that is attracted to the fragrance of the flower steals it, and changes its skin every year and gets younger. Bilqamis loses the chance of learning the mystery of eternal life (1, p. 78).
Why is it just the plant that rejuvenates the human? In order to answer this question, we should first note that the plant not dying, its fading in winter and reviving in summer, and similarly the person eating it and getting young after old age (naturally, this magic plant, in addition) is similar to that of a human being after returning to the summer of his life is an understandable occurance. This motif is also associated with the functions of Khidr (greening, the tree to which he touches gets green), which is a symbol of greenery in Azerbaijani and Turkish folklore.
One of the similarities in the two works is the approximately same function of Uptarishtim who is everliving and rises to the level of god, and Khidr who has been blessed with “mercy and grace” by Allah. Here one of the heros will be helped by Utparistim which is actually the image of the Prophet Noah, who is commonly known by the history of religion and the legends. To whom Ehya tells that it will be a storm, and advises her to take a couple of every living thing along with her on the ship. And he collects the creatures on the Arc and goes away. Utnapishtim said to him, to Gilgamesh:
“Gilgamish, I will reveal a secret to you. I will tell you the secret of gods: ”
«Gilgamış, sənə gizli bir sirr açım. Tanrıların gizli sirrini söyləyim: Shurippak (located about 30 km northwest of Urugh, now called Fara), is a village you know, on the shores of the Euphrates. İn ancient times, the gods loved this village. The gods came üith the idea to cause a storm... Make a ship. Leave the wealth, look for life! Hate property! Get rid of it! Load from all kinds of living creatures into the ship..... I took all my relatives, the herds, the sops and my people, the wild animals and the pets, and all the masters. Shamash gave me some time: When the rain started to fall in the afternoon, he would go to the boat and close the door. Time has come: heavy rain began to fall in the afternoon. The weather looked terrible. I got on the boat and shut the door.”
As you can see, all the events described here are quite similar to the narration of Noah and his ship. «Utnapishtim was a man before, but now, let Utnapishtim and his woman,be gods like us!" Utnapishtim sit down! Far away... where the river runs into the sea! "(16, p.49). (That's exactly the point — it's getting immortal, sitting in the place where the rivers run into the sea.) So Noah-Utparishtim is immortal and knows the mystery of immortality. One of the points to be considered here is that he has been given divinity, and as according to ancient beliefs gods are immortal, he is immortal as well. But he can talk to people, for example, with Gilgamesh. This may be because he was a man before, and later was granted divinity. However, none of the sources after Gilgamesh have any information about Noah's immortality, who has the same function as that of Utparishim. Neither in the examples of other folklore nor in religious sources we have not come across the idea that Noah gained eternal life. On the contrary Khidr in Alexander has not only been living with this characteristic in folklore, but it's also verified in the Holy Quran that he has been given eternal life. It is not only about knowing the vitality of water, or about his knowing the location of the source of vitality, it's also related to the to the ability to help out those who have gone astray and by the knowledge of the mystery science that has been given to him (tells the place of the world of darkness). Many Jewish and Arabic sources claim that Khidr lived in Mesopotamia during the times of Prophet Abraham or Prophet Solomon, some of them claim he lived at the same time with Prophet Moses, or during Prophet Adam's lifetime and met with Imam Mahdi (pbuh) and Imam Ali. The original name is Belka bin Melkan, nickname is Abul-Abbas, and the descendant of Noah's son Sama (15). The same Belka whose name later underwent changed as Belya, Yelya, Elya, İlya, İlyas and Khidr, who has been the object of research by religious scientists, theologians, sometimes historians including specialists of folklore, who has penetrated into almost all the genres of many nations, including Turkic-speaking peoples and has been known by very important functions. (1, p. 127–128).
Scientific Conclusion: In fact, the specimen of the both scripts- Gilgamesh and in Alexander have the depiction of the same desire, and the presense of many similarities, even identities, show that the people wanted a lot from the closest to them heroes and mythical images, and tried hard to create myths associated to them. The analysis of these works allows us to identify the relationship between the traditions of the peoples of the world, the similarities in the world, the hero's struggles and trials, what qualities he has to pass these trials, and the help of the extraordinary forces to the hero. This is the conclusion that comes out of not only in these works, it is generally the result of these types of works. Get immortal in this world with your deeds! At the end of Gilgamesh's or Alexander's samples, we can see that immortality will always remain a dream for the human being. Naturally, it is only characteristic for the space available and the highest chosen people in the presense of the Almighty will remain eternal. All scholars have explained it to people Adam from Haman, from Zoroaster to Nasimi. But the Lord has given immortality in this world until the Day of Judgment, for some of His chosen servants. Let's just say, but only until the Day of Judgment... Because all humanity will taste death as stated in the Noble Qur'an.
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