Many have argued about what the very first werewolf story is – Gilgamesh or Niciros? I have written about Niciros in the past, so today dear readers, I’ll cover Gilgamesh and let you decide.
The Epic of Gilgamesh comes from the second millennium BC and is one of the oldest known texts. It was originally written for ancient kings of Uruk (later known as Mesopotamia), after some time the story was translated into Akkadian. The Epic is said to be simply a collection of ancient oral tales put into some kind of order for the entertainment and enjoyment of the court, but also to give both glory and status to the former kings.
Now for the important part – the story. The Epic of Gilgamesh tells the tale of Gilgamesh, a god-king and son of Lugalbanda (the fifth king of the first dynasty, who is believed to have reigned around 2,600 BC). In the story, Ishtar, the goddess of fertility, love, war and sex, is supposedly in love with our hero Gilgamesh and so she flirts with him. Gilgamesh, however, rejects her advances because of how she treated her past suitors. One suitor in particular comes to mind, a young shepherd that had fallen in love with the goddess. He left her bountiful offerings at a shrine on a mountainside, and at first the arrogant Ishtar encouraged him. But eventually she grew bored with his devotions and transformed him into a wolf. He was then torn to bits by his very own hounds. So you can see why Gilgamesh would turn her down.
The story of the love-struck shepherd is the first written account of a man being transformed into a wolf, but can he really be considered a werewolf? The Epic of Gilgamesh came out before Niciros did, but since there isn’t technically a werewolf in it, many don’t consider Gilgamesh the first werewolf tale. What do you think?
One of the writers for werewolves.com, as well as vampires.com.