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“Retelling the Epic of Gilgamesh, a great work of literature, in picture books was a very difficult yet very fulfilling task. In the past, I had suffered great pain and despair in my life and needed guidance to help me through difficult times. Reading the Gilgamesh epic made me realize that though it may have been written long ago, the great wisdoms, experiences and morals Gilgamesh learns are still applicable today. Gilgamesh helped me overcome my troubles and I wanted to share his wisdom and make it easily accessible to everyone.
It was a challenging and time consuming story to retell, but I knew that I was doing something worthwhile for children all over the world. The most difficult, was trying to convey in my illustrations the power of what Gilgamesh learned during his long journey; that a human life is beautiful and the only kind of immortality possible for a human is to perform good deeds that live in the memory of others forever.”
- Ludmila Zeman
The story of the god-man Gilgamesh is one of the oldest stories in the world; it was inscribed onto clay tablets over 5,000 years ago in Mesopotamia... The people who lived in Mesopotamia discovered many things: irrigation, the wheel…and most important, writing. Without writing the epic of Gilgamesh would certainly have been lost. Above are a selection of original art from Ludmila Zeman's Gilgamesh trilogy: Gilgamesh the King, The Revenge of Ishtar, and The Last Quest of Gilgamesh. There are also two examples of clay tablets with cuneiform writing such as those that record the ancient Gilgamesh tales as well as an example of an illustrated scroll.