Courtesy of the Schøyen Collection

Gilgamesh slays the bull of heaven in a seventh-century B.C. agate cylinder seal from Assyria. (The bull had been sent by Ishtar to destroy Gilgamesh’s city of Uruk, after the hero/king refused the goddess’s amorous advances.) The story of Gilgamesh is the world’s oldest literary epic, and the Schøyen Collection includes several versions (including the oldest known—a Sumerian version from 2600 B.C.).