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HIS 101: Western Civilization I - Epic of Gilgamesh: Home

This guide will provide resources to the students in Dr. Paulin's Western Civilization I course on the Epic of Gilgamesh.

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Epic of Gilgamesh

Western Civilization I class assignment

Dr. CM Paulin

HIS* 101: Western Civilization I

Epic of Gilgamesh



After reading the Epic of Gilgamesh, write a 3-5-page paper focusing on one of the following topics below:


1.      What is the relationship between gods and mortals in Gilgamesh? How might this relationship lead to a pessimistic outlook on life?


2.      What is the attitude of this epic toward Nature? What is the attitude toward the destruction and neglect of Nature?


3.      What does this epic suggest is the best way of life? That of Gilgamesh? That of Enkidu? That of Utnapishtim? Explain.


4.      What does the epic suggest about the role of women in Ancient Mesopotamia? Explain your answer with specific references to female characters in the epic.


In answering one of the topics above you must also use a minimum of two outside sources, neither of which can be an internet site. To access these sources you must make use of the library’s online databases, specifically, JSTOR or GALENET. You can easily access these databases by going to the college website, or, select Library, then select Magazine, Journal and Newspaper Databases and then select JSTOR or GaleNet. Type “Epic of Gilgamesh” into the search function and you will gain access to many journal articles or book selections. You may also use books or monographs in the library collection, a local library or through interlibrary loan. You can make full use of the reference librarians at the college. They will be provided with these guidelines, too. (For this assignment you cannot use the textbook as a source.)


Format: Your paper will be typed strictly adhering to the following format: One inch margins on all four sides; 10 or 12 point font or type face; double-spaced; pages numbered. Indent each new paragraph by using the “tab” key on your keyboard. Do not add extra spaces between paragraphs.


Grammar: Grammar counts! Your paper should be clearly written without any spelling errors. No colloquial language (slang) should be used. Do not use any contractions (don’t, won’t, couldn’t, it’s, for example) in your paper. Remember that IT’S means “it is”. It is not the contraction for the word IT! Also, “a lot” is two words. Use of proper grammar is critical in any writing. It is not reserved for English papers. If your sentences are poorly written they will be unclear and you will earn a poor or failing grade. You should write several drafts of your paper. You should proofread your paper before submitting it for a grade. To successfully compete for employment after college you must be able to write clearly. Many jobs require writing a cover letter to accompany your application. That cover letter can be the difference between getting the job or not getting it. Simply completing the assignment is not enough to receive a passing grade. If you are concerned about your writing go to the Writing Lab for help. You may also ask me to review a draft of your paper. Do not wait until the last minute to complete this assignment.


Your essay should not contain the personal pronouns “I, me, we, us, or you”. Academic writing in history focuses on evidence and examples from primary and secondary sources. For example: “I believe Charles Darwin’s most significant contribution to his time period was the theory of evolution” does not sound as professional and intellectually forceful as “Charles Darwin’s most significant contribution to his time period was the theory of evolution.”


QUOTING AND PARAPHRASING: Any time you use the EXACT WORDS OR IDEAS of an author you must give credit to the author by footnoting the idea, sentence, or paragraph. Any paper without footnotes will earn a 0%. For footnoting use simple parenthetical notation, using the author’s last name and the page number where the information can be found. EXAMPLE: [Mason, p. 45]. If using more than one source by the same author use the last name, title of the book or article and the page numbers. EXAMPLE: [Mason, Gilgamesh, pp. 34-36] Failure to give an author credit for their WORDS OR IDEAS is called PLAGIARISM. I will strictly enforce this simply rule. Any paper handed in without proper notation will be unacceptable. It will be penalized one full grade each day until it is resubmitted with proper notation. Any paper not resubmitted will earn a 0%. Plagiarism is cheating and can result in expulsion from an academic institution.


The last page (not counted as part of the body of the paper) is the bibliography. On this page cite the sources used to write the paper. These sources should be listed alphabetically. Historians generally use the Chicago Manual of Style for bibliographies. A quick reference guide can be found at: If you have used MLA (Modern Language Association) format in other courses you may use it instead. There is an online guide, The reference librarians should have hard copies of both style manuals.


In the interest of saving paper, a title page need not be submitted. Simply put your name in the upper left-hand corner of the paper.