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Word Count: 1,142
The Role of Myth in Western Civilization Myth has played a very significant role in the development of western civilization Through the development of myths mankind has been able to pass down from generation to generation the history and beliefs of early ancestors Whether it was from the earliest known myths about King Gilgamesh to the elaborate writings of Homer myths have allowed for great advancement in western civilization Myths are the first elements of recorded history and the only real account that we have of early civilizations One example of this is the infamous Epic of Gilgamesh which is the first account of Sumerian myth that was recorded It is very significant in that it shows us the beliefs and ideas about the early Sumerians It discusses the first concept of life after death and the search for immortality This is very apparent in an excerpt from the epic in which Gilgameshs brother dies and Gilgamesh is said to be roaming over the plains during which he says How can I rest how can I be at peace Despair is in my heart What my brother is now that shall I be when I am dead Because I am afraid of death I will go as best I can to find Utnapishtim whom they call the Faraway for he has entered the assembly of the gods 1 p 8 This statement displays the fear that the Egyptians had of death and this fear created Gilgamesh to search for eternal li fe This Epic is also very important in that it shows the importance of gods in the early Egyptian era Gilgamesh is found looking to gods several times for answers and they are often held responsible for his journeys This is very predominant in that it is the cornerstone of the god world which continues through out all of western civilization Though the Epic had a very pessimistic outlook on
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