Blackwell North Amer With evidence of its existence dating back nearly 4,000 years, The Epic of Gilgamesh is without question the world's oldest known epic, predating the works of Homer and Vergil by many centuries. The work is not only a historical landmark, but a literary and philosophical one as well. A great flood, paradise lost and a quest for immortality figure prominently in the text, marking it as the first of the mythological parallels to the Bible. Versions of the story made their way into many cultures throughout the ancient world and its universal themes are issues which continue to preoccupy you and me. The tale follows Gilgamesh the king as he is transformed from a powerful and arrogant ruler to a man who has been forced by the realities of life to confront and accept his own mortality. It is a compelling tale, filled with drama, passion and pathos.