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Stephanie Dalley is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow of Somerville College at the University of Oxford.

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Is this thing difficult? Yes. Is it fragmen[tary? Yes]. But is it rewarding? If you can get on its wavelength and find the rhythm of the poetry, then it's incredibly rewarding. But this isn't entry-level mythology by any means, or even intermediate. This is advanced, if only because the texts are so fragmentary. But the poems here reward patience.
 
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AKBWrites | 5 other reviews | Jul 19, 2022 |
We’ve all read about the HGB but why has it never been found? Perhaps Babylon was never the location for the Hanging Gardens. Nineveh was the location of the HGB for it was in northern Mesopotamia which has more rainfall while Babylon is in southern Mesopotamia which is much dryer with less access to water. It would have been an overwhelming challenge to channel water across long distances to Babylon while Nineveh was much closer to year round water sources. Herodotus, the great traveller and writer, 484-425 BC visited Babylon yet wrote not a word about the HGB. The author states Josephus, Diodorus Siculus, and Q, Curtius Rufus wrote the HGB were created by an Assyrian king while history states the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar created them in Babylon. How could such an error have been made? The confusion between Nineveh and Babylon is a) the habit of naming gates in major cities after the gods such as in Nineveh. Nineveh was referred to as a city of gates to the gods or “Babylon” and b) Babylon itself was already a gate of the gods. The mixing up of the two names is obvious for only Nineveh had a “Garden Gate, and when Sennacherib, the Assyrian king, destroyed Babylon by deliberate inundation, reducing it to bare level ground and Nineveh was damaged by a later, natural flood so Nineveh was repaired as a new “Babylon” while the original Babylon sank into the flood and was lost to history. The author was meticulous in her research and presents a good case for the Hanging Gardens being located in Nineveh.… (more)
 
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ShelleyAlberta | Jul 3, 2022 |
It's a middle of the road text, better than most, but far from complete. I'm not just talking about the missing fragments, either, although that's understandable. We've got ranges of over a thousand years of text printed in this volume, ignoring some older texts, like Inanna's descent being ignored in favor of Ishtar's more elaborate, but nonetheless curtailed, descriptions. The tale of Gilgamesh is almost always a required reading, of course, and the genesis story is very interesting, but we're still missing whole texts of Dumuzi or Tammuz which were nonetheless much more important to the people of the times than was even brought up here in this text. At best, I can say that this work is merely a short sampling of three whole civilization's written legends. I suppose I'm going to have to keep looking for a single source that collects and breaks down the altered generations of tales, perhaps even dovetailing their metamorphosis into early Greek and Zoroastrian. It would be much too much to ask to see how Inanna became Aphrodite and Isis, or how they became Mary mother of Jesus. I despair to see how Dumuzi the shepherd became the heart of rebirth and how his idea became Jesus. It's just too much of a concept to touch upon this early in our day and age. Quite a shame.

Then again, such concepts were probably too volatile for a mainstream edition and an editor thought it would be best to leave such works undisturbed for fear of shocking the plebs. Of course, nowadays, such a fearless edition would probably be heralded as innovative and bright, but I'm still looking. Perhaps I'd write one if I actually knew how to read the original text. Alas. I'm stuck here.
… (more)
 
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bradleyhorner | 5 other reviews | Jun 1, 2020 |
I just picked this up to get unembelished accounts of Gilgamesh and Inanan's decent. Had a flip through the other myths, but ultimately I don't have a high enough interest to persevere with them.

This is an invaluable text for those looking for what's on the tablets and nothing else, but for the same reason may be rather tedious for the the casual reader.
 
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keyboardcouch | 5 other reviews | Mar 30, 2013 |

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