A statue of Gudea, Prince of Lagash. Having read about him in Sumerian history, it was a “little shiver down my spine” moment to see him face-to-face!
The epic of Gilgamesh is probably the oldest epic/fable/legend known to us. It’s unclear if Gilgamesh was an historical figure or not, though the current thought is that he was an actual king of Uruk somewhere between 2800-2500 BCE and was posthumuously deified. Lost in time the story of Gilgamesh was rediscovered in the 19th century, when its translation caused some controversy since it narrated the story of the “biblical” flood, centuries before the bible was written. There are other similarities between the Gilgamesh epic and the bible and even between it and the Homerian epics: Iliad and Odyssey.
Statues like the one below are usually used to depict Gilgamesh, though this is generally considered a false connection. This statute is usually called the “master of animals”, a symbol of royal power and a guardian deity as well, depending on the culture. This statue is from the same source as the Lamassi in my previous post. The sheer ease with which the man grasps a lion in his arm and a snake in his other hand represents man’s mastery over nature “red in tooth and claw”.