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Legendary king of Uruk and hero of the Gilgamesh Epic, one of the major sagas of the Sumerian legends, Gilgamesh was said to have been the result of the union between a goddess and a man, and was two-thirds divinity himself. He was driven by an obsessive fear of death, and it was this that spurred him to the great adventures he undertook. Gilgamesh is described as a tyrant, overbearing and prone to sexual misdemeanours. His people beseeched the goddess Aruru for help, and on the stony steppe she created a man from spittle and clay, a wild, hairy, grass-eating person called Enkidu, whom Aruru set against Gilgamesh, hoping the wild man would topple the despot king, but Enkidu was himself defeated, and the two became fast friends. The two heroes began a series of breath-taking adventures, such as the invasion of the forest of the fire-breathing giant called Huwawa, whom they killed with the assistance of the sun god, Shamash.

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