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The Gilgamesh Chronicle

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The Gilgamesh Chronicle

By C.K. Garabed

Artin Vakrouni looked long at the letter in his hands. It was like that sometimes. Whereas most people can’t wait to get at the contents, he could tease himself with anticipation by conjecturing what a letter might contain. The return address told him that it was from an ancient colleague and friend, Shirvan Zaradusht.

His thoughts went back to many years ago when he and Shirvan, an old Iranian scholar, worked together to decipher the tablet fragments found deep in the ruins of Erebuni. That period was indeed an era of discovery. How exhilarating it was to unearth undreamt of treasures! Not gold, silver, diamonds and rubies but cultural treasures, the past history of the Urartians. And then they parted; went their separate ways. He to a life of academic pretension, and Shirvan to one of archaeological tramp. After what they had seen, there was nothing to excite their interest by corresponding with each other.

But here now was word from Shirvan. He must be close to ninety years old! Artin felt the portent of the letter by its very arrival at this time. Finally, he opened it. It was written in an unsteady hand.

My dear Artin:

You are, no doubt, amazed to get this letter. We both knew that there was nothing further for us to communicate to each other after the great adventure of our lives. However, I have some unfinished business to attend to, which points me in your direction. In your direction, because of all the living persons with whom I am acquainted, you are the only one to whom I can entrust what I am about to relate.

Many years ago, before our great adventure, I had the thrill of my life via another great adventure. That was the work I did with Professor Ebeling, the German scholar of classical antiquities. It was at his request that I participated with him in the translation of the cuneiform script of the Assyrian and Old Babylonian tablets that resulted in the discovery of the Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh. Ebeling had entrusted certain fragments to my safekeeping and although our interest very quickly centered on the Gilgamesh tablets, there were other fragments that interested me and only me. It was then that I came across a fragment that I felt could not be transpired to the world at large, being susceptible to misinterpretation on political and religious grounds. It was for that reason that I hid the fragments and kept them secret for the past 65 years. You are aghast, I know. But after you learn what I am about to reveal to you, you will understand. First I must provide you some background.

From the middle ages we get the concepts of the MACROCOSM and the MICROCOSM, the MACROCOSM being the great world of the Universe and the MICROCOSM being the little world, or man, who epitomizes the great world. These concepts are represented by the geometric figures of the pentagram and the hexagram. The pentagram, referred to also as the pentacle, was the five-pointed star that represented the MICROCOSM. The hexagram was the six-pointed star that represented the MACROCOSM. But it wasn’t really a star. Rather it was two equilateral triangles, one superimposed upside down on the other. Thus it hearkened back to the Hebraic symbol referred to by the uninitiated as the Star of David or the Shield of David. The more discerning refer to it as Solomon’s Seal, Solomon being the philosopher king and son of King David of the Israelites. But again, the vulgar nature of the common man asserts itself with the interpretation of the symbol as a mystical one used as an amulet to guard against disease.

David adopted the symbol from the ancient Sumerians but it was Solomon who divined the true meaning of the two triangles. In this respect the hexagram seems more to represent the MICROCOSM, man.

The validity of what I tell you is borne out by the message contained on the tablet fragments in my possession. If I may be granted the liberty of supplying the missing portions of the tablets, I would produce the following inscription:

“The symbol represents man. That part of the symbol which is the triangle with point up represents the masculine principle. That part of the symbol which is the triangle with point down represents the feminine principle. Where the one triangle extends above the other is the area or attributes of the masculine principle that is incomprehensible to the feminine principle. It represents logic, consecutive thought and the seed of creativity. Where the other triangle extends below the first is the area or attributes of the feminine principle that is incomprehensible to the masculine principle. It represents intuition, discrete thought and the egg of creativity. Together they represent mankind.”

What this has to do with the basic twelve tablets containing the epic of Gilgamesh is a matter of conjecture. However, I can explicate the connection somewhat confidently, as follows:

Gilgamesh, as the counterpart of the Sun God represents the masculine principle. Enkidu, who is a wild man, living with the beasts of the field, symbolizes primeval man and represents the feminine principle. Although Enkidu was created to act as rival to Gilgamesh, curb his strength and dispute his tyrannous control, his seduction by a woman nullifies his instincts and sharpens his mind, thus converting him from the feminine principle to the masculine. Gilgamesh and Enkidu, in fact, become friends and together they dispatch Khumbaba, the guardian of the cedar forest wherein the goddess Ishtar dwells and also kill the divine bull that is sent against them. The subsequent death of Enkidu impels Gilgamesh to seek out the secrets of immortality from Ut-Napishtim who survived the great flood (which preceded the Biblical flood, as described by Gurdjieff the mystic.)

After many travails, Gilgamesh finds Ut-Napishtim and learns from him the secret of perpetual youth. It is contained in a certain weed which Gilgamesh succeeds in obtaining, only to have it snatched away by a serpent.

The division into twelve tablets, which correspond to the yearly course of the sun, further projects the heroes of the epic onto the heavens as part of an astral-mythological system.

Enclosed are instructions which will help you to take possession of the tablet fragments. I trust in your judgment as to the propitious time to reveal this secret to the Masonic Brotherhood, and the world at large. It may not occur in your lifetime as it failed to in my own. In that case, you must be content to hold your counsel, and pass it on, with my documentation, to the one person that you in turn can trust, and with the same instructions that I have given you.

Until that final day comes, you can conjecture on the degree of knowledge possessed by the Masonic brotherhood (the successor to the Knights Templar) that prevailed in promoting the inclusion of Solomon’s Seal in the Great Seal of the United States of America, keeping in mind that the Masonic symbols of the Compass and the Square, superimposed one on the other is a cryptic representation of the self-same aforementioned hexagram, and yet with even more coincidence with the Sumerian philosophy contained in the tablet fragments.

The last thing on Artin’s mind before he fell asleep that night was the significance of the number twelve. There are twelve signs of the Zodiac. Twelve gods and goddesses comprise the Sumerian, Babylonian, Greek and Roman pantheons. Christ had twelve apostles. The Nicene Creed in the Armenian Liturgy is constructed musically of twelve sections. Is it a mystical number? Just as Sherlock Holmes would refer those few matters that were beyond him to his brother, Mycroft, Artin would call on his brother Hovhannes tomorrow. He could supply the answers.