In the Sumerian and Akkadian mythological literature, the ruler of the city of Uruk, Gilgameš, uproots and/or cuts down trees on several occasions: the ḫalub-tree (mahaleb cherry) linked to the goddess Inanna and the eren (juniper)/erēnu (cedar) trees of the Forest guarded by Ḫuwawa. These trees should be understood as elements of a wider "wilderness", with which they share a powerful and ambiguous ontological otherness, as opposed to the city and the country of Sumer. In order to become useful, this otherness must be conducted in the city and subject to processes of organization. This article illustrates the symbolic implications of the uprooting, cutting down and subsequent transport of these tree species to the city and the importance of these actions not only for Gilgameš but also for his urban community. The sovereign's action on the tree, similar to that of a farmer or gardener, with the consequent creation of 'artefacts', allows, through the cultural organisation of the tree's power, the renewal of the relationship, always subject to crisis, between the human community and the divine world.

Gioele Zisa (2021). Quando Gilgameš taglia i “cedri”. Gli alberi nell’immaginario mitologico mesopotamico. In D.R. Scandariato, C.A. Tassinari, G. Zisa (a cura di), Dendrolatrie. Miti e pratiche dell'immaginario arboreo. (pp. 111-131). Palermo : Edizioni Museo Pasqualino.

Quando Gilgameš taglia i “cedri”. Gli alberi nell’immaginario mitologico mesopotamico

Gioele Zisa
2021-01-01

Abstract

In the Sumerian and Akkadian mythological literature, the ruler of the city of Uruk, Gilgameš, uproots and/or cuts down trees on several occasions: the ḫalub-tree (mahaleb cherry) linked to the goddess Inanna and the eren (juniper)/erēnu (cedar) trees of the Forest guarded by Ḫuwawa. These trees should be understood as elements of a wider "wilderness", with which they share a powerful and ambiguous ontological otherness, as opposed to the city and the country of Sumer. In order to become useful, this otherness must be conducted in the city and subject to processes of organization. This article illustrates the symbolic implications of the uprooting, cutting down and subsequent transport of these tree species to the city and the importance of these actions not only for Gilgameš but also for his urban community. The sovereign's action on the tree, similar to that of a farmer or gardener, with the consequent creation of 'artefacts', allows, through the cultural organisation of the tree's power, the renewal of the relationship, always subject to crisis, between the human community and the divine world.
When Gilgamesh cut down the "cedars". Trees in Mesopotamian mythological imagery.
Settore L-OR/03 - Assiriologia
Settore L-OR/01 - Storia Del Vicino Oriente Antico
Settore M-DEA/01 - Discipline Demoetnoantropologiche
Settore M-STO/06 - Storia Delle Religioni
Gioele Zisa (2021). Quando Gilgameš taglia i “cedri”. Gli alberi nell’immaginario mitologico mesopotamico. In D.R. Scandariato, C.A. Tassinari, G. Zisa (a cura di), Dendrolatrie. Miti e pratiche dell'immaginario arboreo. (pp. 111-131). Palermo : Edizioni Museo Pasqualino.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10447/516616
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