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Nation Building In An Ancient Text

             Gilgamesh is an epic poem that tells the story from ancient Mesopotamia.
             origins may date back as many as 4,000 years ago, placing it in a time when human beings were first creating organized societies. Among the issues they struggled with was how a nation should be governed. In the epic poem, Gilgamesh is the king of Uruk, and has no guidelines on how to be a good ruler. While it is the story of how a king matures and grows, it can also be read as how a nation he rules matures and grows. As Gilgamesh grows and becomes a better ruler, he demonstrates that even when a nation is governed by a king, the ruler needs to be just and cannot rule well in complete isolation but must allow others to help and guide him.
             At the beginning of the story, Gilgamesh is a casually cruel and despotic ruler. A tyrant, he leads his soldiers into battle without regard for their well-being and abuses his authority, for instance by insisting that he has the right to have sex with any woman before she marries. These are traits that will undermine the country, not help it grow and develop, and the gods intervene. They create an opponent for him, named Enkidu. However, Gilgamesh and Enkidu overcome their animosities for each other and become .
             loyal and beloved friends to each other. In the process, Gilgamesh goes on a great quest looking for the secret to eternal life. Eventually he learns that the way to become immortal is in the hearts of his people as a great leader.
             Gilgamesh the despotic ruler is presented near the beginning of the poem, when the people say to the god who created him,.
             " "it was you, Aruru, who created mankind,.
             now create a zikru to it/him.
             Let him be equal to his (Gilgamesh's) stormy heart,.
             so that Uruk may find peace! (Tablet I, 79 - 83).
             Their complaints have included the sexual abuse of young women, demonstrating that Gilgamesh sees being the king as something to benefit him, not something to benefit the people he rules.

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