The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore

Earlier in the epic, Gilgamesh and his friend Enkidu kill Huwawa (possibly shown here in a 25-inch-high, tenth-century B.C.E. relief from Tell Halaf, in northern Syria), whom the gods appointed to guard the Cedar Forest. For this and other presumptuous infractions, the gods order Enkidu’s death, throwing Gilgamesh into despair. After wandering the world and hearing the flood story from Utnapishtim, Gilgamesh finally becomes reconciled to the fact that he, too, must die (compare with photo of Gilgamesh epic’s Tablet XI).